BEYOND THE SHADOW OF THE SENATORS: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball

Brad Snyder, Author
Brad Snyder, Author . Contemporary $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-07-140820-2
Reviewed on: 02/17/2003
Release date: 01/01/2003
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 304 pages - 978-0-07-142692-3
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-07-143197-2
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-07-144267-1
Open Ebook - 418 pages - 978-1-280-30156-8
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Snyder looks at the roots of Jackie Robinson's integration of major league baseball, but examines that historic event from a variety of angles. This well-documented and enjoyable account illuminates the life of Sam Lacy, a crusading black journalist for a Washington, D.C., black weekly, and his efforts to force major league baseball to integrate. But the book is also a fascinating and largely untold story about the unholy but profitable alliance between Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators, and the dynamic but shady Negro League team owner Cum Posey, founder of the Homestead Grays, a storied Negro League franchise founded in Pittsburgh. Using the burgeoning black middle class of WWII Washington, D.C., as a social backdrop, Snyder details how Negro League owners like Posey allied themselves financially with white Major League owners, renting segregated Major League ballparks (at exorbitant rates) for their Negro League teams while the white teams were on the road. The practice became particularly profitable in Washington after Posey moved his Homestead Grays (and such black stars as Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson) to D.C. from Pittsburgh in 1940. Disgusted by the Senators' racist owners and the team's inept play, black fans flocked to the pennant-winning Grays' games, which outdrew the Senators' games. Snyder also sketches the lives of great players like Buck Leonard with great sensitivity, insight and historical context. The book tells two stories: one is how the Griffiths, a legendary baseball family, killed baseball in Washington, D.C., through their own narrow-minded greed and racism; the other is the story of Lacy and Wendell Smith, his fellow black Hall of Fame sportswriter, and the extraordinary black athletes of the Negro Leagues and their determination to play baseball at its highest level. (Feb.)

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