TOP STORIES Black baseball players struggled long after Jackie Robinson broke...

Black baseball players struggled long after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier

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Louis Cardinals players Kurt Flood, Bill White, and Bob Gibson pictured in 1966, 1962, and 1967, respectively. They are the focus of a new History Channel documentary about the black baseball players who followed Jackie Robinson into the big leagues.

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Louis Cardinals players Kurt Flood, Bill White, and Bob Gibson pictured in 1966, 1962, and 1967, respectively. They are the focus of a new History Channel documentary about the black baseball players who followed Jackie Robinson into the big leagues.

AP

It is often said that Jackie Robinson opened the door for black baseball players to the majors. But it was only the FIRST door. It turns out that there were many doors between black players and equality.

After Jackie, a new documentary on the History Channel focuses on the three more legends that followed, all with World Series winners St. Louis Cardinals of the 1960s: Bill White, Bob Gibson and Kurt Flood.

“What we see in Jackie Robinson is first a player and then he becomes an activist after he retires,” director Andre Gaines said in an interview with NPR. morning edition. “With Bill, Bob and Kurt, it’s sort of the first wave of activist players in our country’s history, something we take for granted today.”

Andre Gaines, director

Matt Sales / A&E Networks


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Matt Sales / A&E Networks

Andre Gaines, director

Matt Sales / A&E Networks

Bill White, a first baseman, later became the first black announcer to regularly announce games for a major league team. And he was elected president of the National League in 1989, another first for a black player.

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Bob Gibson was one of the most dominant pitchers in the major leagues during his prime. Gibson’s game was dominant that Major League Baseball lowered pitch height from 15 inches to 10 inches to give hitters a better chance.

Kurt Flood, one of the best center fielders of the 1960s, is also known for suing Major League Baseball. He disputed league contracts that prevented players from choosing their own teams, calling himself “a well-paid slave”. While he lost the casehis struggles saw the league establish free rein for the first time.

“We have guys who are actually playing at the highest level possible, but still standing up and fighting for their rights,” says Gaines. “It’s stories like these – these unsung heroes, especially those that have come after Jackie Robinson – that we’re excited to be able to tell.”

After Jackie airs on the History Channel starting June 18.

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