Robert Peterson’s Only the Ball was White is a must read for anyone interested in baseball and the negro leagues.
Only the Ball was White is the most historically comprehensive book I have read about the Negro Leagues and those forced to participate in them because Major League baseball barred black people from participation. The personal profiles in Only the Ball was White are small and limited to a few exceptional men, but the detailed history of the leagues, teams, and records is unmatched. If you’re looking for more of the personal stories of the participants in the Negro Leagues, or if you want more of the impact the discrimination had on them, Only the Ball was White may not satisfy you. But if you want as reasonably accurate history of the negro leagues struggle and demise after Jackie Robinson broke the so-called color line, you will not be disappointed.
Thoughts Reading the Book
As always reading a book like this, while important, is infuriating. I get outraged by the discrimination. I want to know how good those players would have done in the Major Leagues had they not suffered such discrimination. I wish things had improved more than many pretend they have since the days of the negro leagues. Still, I appreciate that many worked and are working to preserve a history and honor the accomplishments, both physical and mental, of those who participated in the Negro Leagues. Their existence is something most Americans should know more about. Too many know too little about the negro leagues because white America does its best to hide its sins and erase them from history.