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Winner of the 2005 Seymour Medal of the Society for American Baseball Research

"Prodigiously researched and thoroughly unsentimental, Neil Lanctot's history of organized black baseball from 1933 through the early 1960s provides an enormously important historical corrective to feel-good versions of baseball integration."—New York Times

The story of black professional baseball provides a remarkable perspective on several major themes in modern African American history: the initial black response to segregation, the subsequent struggle to establish successful separate enterprises, and the later movement toward integration. Baseball functioned as a critical component in the separate economy catering to black consumers in the urban centers of the North and South. While most black businesses struggled to survive from year to year, professional baseball teams and leagues operated for decades, representing a major achievement in black enterprise and institution building.

Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution presents the extraordinary history of a great African American achievement, from its lowest ebb during the Depression, through its golden age and World War II, until its gradual disappearance during the early years of the civil rights era. Faced with only a limited amount of correspondence and documents, Lanctot consulted virtually every sports page of every black newspaper located in a league city. He then conducted interviews with former players and scrutinized existing financial, court, and federal records. Through his efforts, Lanctot has painstakingly reconstructed the institutional history of black professional baseball, locating the players, teams, owners, and fans in the wider context of the league's administration. In addition, he provides valuable insight into the changing attitudes of African Americans toward the need for separate institutions.

Neil Lanctot teaches history at the University of Delaware. He is author of Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale Club and The Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910-1932.

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ISBN-10:  0812220277
ISBN-13:  978-0812220278
Author:  Neil Lanctot
Publisher:  University of Pennsylvania Press
Date Published:  April 25, 2008
Format:  Paperback
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review by . November 30, 2008
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While most knowledgeable baseball fans have a passing acquaintance with Negro League Baseball, precious little ink has been devoted to the institution itself.  Author Neil Lanctot has corrected this oversight with a downright fascinating and meticulously researched book.  "Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of A Black Institution" chronicles the history of the sport from its earliest origins until its ultimate demise in the early 1960's. From the outset there were a …
Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution
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