Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race

Larry Colton. Grand Central, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1188-4
Former pro pitcher Colton, who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, tells the story of the Southern League's 1964 Birmingham Barons, the first integrated sports team in Alabama, as they competed at the height of the civil rights protests. Wisely, the author choses four players of varying ability: Hoss Bowlin and Paul Lindblad, two unlikely white prospects, and John "Blue Moon" Odom and Tommie Reynolds, the black talents wanting to crash the bigs. The story wouldn't be worth its salt without Colton's historically accurate portrait of Birmingham, called the most segregated city in America by Rev. Martin Luther King, with its Klan murders and bombings, rigid Jim Crow code, and resistance to racial equality. While Colton contrasts the famed personalities of City Commissioner Bill Connor and owner Charlie Finley, he never loses focus of the beleaguered manager Haywood Sullivan, his scrappy team, and their winning season, with all its ups and downs. Entertaining and painstakingly crafted, Colton's account of the Birmingham Barons is a tribute to determination and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/14/2013
Open Ebook - 287 pages - 978-1-4555-7878-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4789-7727-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4555-1189-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4555-1187-7
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