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The year after Jackie, Ritchey integrated PCL

This season marks 75th anniversary of San Diegan's breakthrough
April 17, 2023

This story originally ran on on Feb. 21, 2018. We are highlighting it again now in honor of the 75th anniversary of John Ritchey breaking the PCL color barrier.

Charles: 'Blacks had to be twice as good'

Robinson disciple endured racism in Minors in Deep South
February 27, 2023

This article was first published on Feb. 1, 2006, prior to Ed Charles' passing in 2018.

The Day Jackie Came To Town

A Forgotten Game Remembered on the 75th Anniversary Of Jackie Robinson’s Historic Day
April 15, 2022

In the Sun Herald Sports section on Wednesday, October 21, 1953, the headline of a column read “Jackie Robinson All-Stars Slate Biloxi Appearance.” In the five-paragraph announcement, readers were informed that an opportunity to see “Big League baseball stars in action” was coming to the Gulf Coast on November 2

#9: Celebrating the legacy in Daytona Beach

On Jackie Robinson Day and every day, Tortugas pay tribute
April 15, 2022

On Jackie Robinson Day, what better place to turn one's attention than the stadium that bears his name? Jackie Robinson Ballpark, home of the Daytona Tortugas, opened as City Island Ballpark in 1914 and is now the oldest stadium in all of Minor League Baseball. Jackie Robinson played there during

Full circle: Bud Fowler set for Hall enshrinement

19th-century Black baseball trailblazer grew up in Cooperstown
February 23, 2022

Bud Fowler, the first Black player in professional baseball history, grew up in Cooperstown, N.Y. He’ll return there on July 22, 2022 -- 109 years after his death -- when he receives his long-overdue induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Fowler's career, improbable and wholly unique, began in the

Miñoso put talents on display with PCL Padres

Seven-decade career also reached Dayton, Indianapolis, St. Paul
February 10, 2022

In a playing career that lasted longer than anyone else’s, Minnie Miñoso still knew how to make a quick impression. The White Sox legend and member of the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame class has one of the most impressive resumes in the history of the game -- one

Smith looks back on first season with Red Sox

Minors’ first Black female coach held versatile role for FCL club
February 2, 2022

The end of Red Sox fantasy camp in Fort Myers was the beginning of another busy week for Bianca Smith. And she’s had a lot of those over the past year. Smith, 30, became the first Black female uniformed coach in the Minor Leagues when she was hired by the

Allen's final days in Minors marked by fear, racism

Future MVP took lessons learned from Jim Crow South to Majors
February 16, 2021

It's easy to forget that less than 20 years separated Jackie Robinson's integration of affiliated baseball in 1946 and Dick Allen's Triple-A debut in 1963. Between the time Robinson set foot in Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947 as the first Black man to play in the Majors and Allen's

Hammer time: Aaron's Minor League career

Baseball icon honed his skills in Eau Claire and Jacksonville
January 26, 2021

Henry Aaron, one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of professional sports, passed away Friday at age 86. It is difficult to overestimate how much Aaron meant to the game, and to American society at large. As many have pointed out in the course of eulogizing

Hoskins broke barriers in Texas League

Right-hander continued integration of Minor League Baseball
April 13, 2020

April 15, 1947 might be baseball's moment to cherish, but the historical significance of that date transcends the sport. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond on a chilly spring afternoon at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field as a member of the Dodgers, he left an indelible mark not only on the

Questions plague Peeples' trailblazing story

Outfielder demoted after breaking Southern Association barrier
January 29, 2020

Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than 100 years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, will attempt to fill that gap

Integration spread from field to stands

Minor Leagues helped hasten overdue changes in South
January 15, 2020

It was 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and even three years after the breakthrough Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education, but in places like Durham, N.C., that didn't matter much. Segregation was still pretty universal.Things were starting to shift

Class D trailblazer turned to teaching

Jones was first African American in the Georgia-Florida League
December 5, 2019

Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than 100 years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, will attempt to fill that gap

Righty Spearman finished what he started

Hurler tossed 33 consecutive complete games from 1957-59
November 1, 2019

What Al Spearman was able to accomplish during a remarkable 18-month period in the late 1950s remains one of the most unheralded feats in all of Minor League Baseball.Yet the fact that he pitched an astounding 33 consecutive complete games seems to remain a bittersweet memory for the durable right-hander,

Tugerson made pitch for integration in '53

Shunned by Cotton States, led Smokies to MSL championship
October 29, 2019

Jim Tugerson is an overlooked name in the baseball annals. Instead of being widely remembered as a leading figure in the integration of America's pastime, he is the mostly forgotten roommate of a Hall of Famer.Six years after Jackie Robinson broke the Major Leagues' color barrier -- and six years

Robinson made mark in Minor Leagues recalls Jackie's path, legacy on trailblazer's birthday
January 31, 2019

Jackie Robinson's lifetime of accomplishment was so remarkable that to consider a single aspect of it undermines the whole. To focus on him as a socio-political figure is to risk forgetting he was one of the most electric ballplayers who ever lived, one whose play changed baseball. To focus on

On the Road: Making history in Daytona

Tortugas' Jackie Robinson Ballpark pays tribute to 1946 season
September 20, 2018

"There's no ballpark like this. This is where history was made." That's how historian Bill Schumann describes Jackie Robinson Ballpark, home of the Florida State League's Daytona Tortugas (Class A Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds).The facility, which has gone through extensive renovations over decades, opened in 1914 as City Island

Ashford broke barriers behind a mask

Umpire spent 15 years in the Minors before he achieved dream
February 7, 2011

Emmett Ashford was stationed at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in 1945 when he heard the news on the radio about a former Army officer signing with a baseball team in Brooklyn. Years earlier, Ashford had tried his hand at playing ball in college and with a semi-pro team. He

Jethroe blazed way through Triple-A

Negro Leagues star became 33-year-old Rookie of the Year
February 2, 2011

He was well past his prime by the time he got a chance in integrated ball, but Sam Jethroe didn't waste a minute once he got to the big leagues. At 33, he became the oldest player to win a Rookie of the Year award, a mark that still stands.

Stars help christen Aaron Museum

Hall of Famers help ring in shrine at legend's childhood home
April 14, 2010

MOBILE, Ala. -- Hank Aaron's old house will always have a home, thanks to an unprecedented effort by his native city's Minor League baseball team. The Mobile BayBears of the Double-A Southern League have transported the legendary slugger's childhood residence to the grounds of aptly named Hank Aaron Stadium, a

Claxton created an accidental legacy

Canadian pitcher was first black man on a baseball card
February 22, 2010

Zeenut Baseball cards are highly sought after by collectors -- for good reason. The San Francisco-based candy company issued sets of Pacific Coast League trading cards between 1911-38. This was before the westward expansion of Major League Baseball, during a time when the PCL was widely recognized as a third

Minors was last test for Gilliam, Howard

First African-American IL MVPs showed heart, leadership
February 1, 2010

Arlene Howard still recalls the first time she saw her husband doing what he loved."I remember seeing him [when I was] in high school in St. Louis. He was playing for the semi-pro team," she said. "The whole country was segregated back then, of course."At the time, neither she nor

The 'Prince' could wow a crowd

Known to play ball in a tux, Henry later penned newspaper column
February 16, 2009

Joe Henry played only two seasons in the Minor Leagues in the early 1950s, making a greater mark during two stints in the Negro Leagues. But his presence was felt by teammates, fans and all who knew him.Henry was scouted and signed to play second base for the Memphis Red

Minors sparkled with 'new' stars in 1949

Several Negro League veterans made waves as Triple-A rookies
February 9, 2009

When it comes to the integration of Minor League Baseball, it would be very difficult to top the significance of 1946.That was the year that five black players made their debuts in the previously all-white world of the Minor Leagues. Jackie Robinson led the charge, of course, rocketing to stardom

In Jersey City, statue marks Jackie's triumph

Robinson landmark honors site of legend's first game in Minors
February 2, 2009

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey -- Sy Hart, an African-American Jersey City resident in his late 20s, walks by the 14-foot statue of Jackie Robinson at the Journal Square PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) Station almost every day, and he often thinks about why it's there."Jackie Robinson started off with the Brooklyn