Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why there was a color line.

Cap Anson, The Grand Old Man of Baseball by  David L. Fleitz; 2005; McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina; 338 pages; 0-7864-2238-6; 10/27-10/29/08
Adrian “Cap” Anson was the first player to have over 3,000 hits, hit over .300 21 times, played 27 seasons in the Major League, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 and was instrumental in getting African-Americans banned from playing in the major leagues.
An excellent biography of one of the great ballplayers of the early years of organized baseball, who helped the game become what it is today.  Traces his life from the early days in Marshalltown, Ohio to fame and fortune in Chicago to a penniless ending.  During his life he was the man in major league baseball, he was the first superstar of the game, he predates Cobb, Ruth, and just barely Cy Young.  Things he did help mold baseball into what it is today, but part of his downfall was a reluctance to change from the “traditional” way of doing things.  He and his teammates refused to play against a team with Moses Fleetwood Walker on it, because Walker was African-American.  Because Anson took the stand, it emboldened many others to refuse to play against African-Americans which was why Jackie Robinson had to break the color line in 1947.  Ansons’ headstrong ways caused him to burn bridges with those in power in baseball and after he left baseball he tried to capitalize on his fame, but never found the venture.  He ended up penniless living with a daughter and son in law.

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