As virtually everyone knows, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and broke the color ban in baseball. But few Americans know Lester Rodney — the sports editor of the Daily Worker, New York’s Communist Party newspaper, who prepared the ground, repeatedly calling the ban “un-American” and “the Crime of the Big Leagues.” . For over ten years, Lester Rodney’s columns put unrelenting pressure on baseball’s establishment. Who would have thought that a communist writer would become the loudest voice in the fight to desegregate America’s national pastime?
Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball, is a documentary short which shines the spotlight on the game in the late 1800s and early 1900s. ‘Town Teams’ examines why amateur and semi-pro baseball exploded in popularity in Kansas and across the U.S. The film explains how baseball became the ‘social media’ of its time. It connected people through athletic competition. But it grew to become much ‘Bigger than Baseball’ as towns across the state competed for highways, county seats, and economic development.
35 years ago The Miami Hurricanes baseball team executed one of the all time great plays in College World Series history, the hidden ball trick! That never works. Especially in the College World Series, on national television, facing the greatest base stealer in NCAA history- Wichita State Shocker Phil Stephenson. The ‘Grand Illusion’ helped underdog Miami beat the powerhouse Wichita State Shockers team and propelled them to their first NCAA National Championship.
The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has had an important yet largely unknown significance in the history of both race relations and baseball. In 1867, Harrisburg hosted a conference held by the Philadelphia ‘Base Ball’ Association which became the first baseball league to officially segregate black and white players. However in 1954, a Negro League team in Harrisburg called the Harrisburg Giants, became the first team in the Eastern Negro League to integrate white players on their team. This is their story.