While baseball may have long been considered an all-American sport in which a melting pot could celebrate ethnic heroes like Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Connie Mack, and Stan Musial, racial segregation excluded blacks from an otherwise democratic picture.
Such was certainly the case in Texas, where, in the state's first professional matchup soon after the Civil War, the R. E. Lees faced the Stonewalls--and African Americans, not surprisingly, played no part.
Drawing upon oral histories and mining such rare sources as rosters and box scores from black newspapers, Rob Fink situates the semiprofessional West Texas Colored League against the rise and decline of professional Negro Leagues. From the 1880s Galveston Flyaways through Dallas shortstop Ernie Banks's signing with the Chicago Cubs in 1953, Playing in Shadows brings to light an important but little-studied inning in American sport.
Rob Fink is the author of numerous articles and encyclopedia entries on African American history. He lives in Abilene, Texas, where he is assistant professor of education at Hardin-Simmons University.
Cary D. Wentz is professor of history at Texas Southern University and lives in Houston.