Walker, Moses Fleetwood Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first African American to play professional baseball six decades before Jackie Robinson. He made his debut on August 13, 1884 for the New York Gothams of the American Association. Over the next three seasons, he played at least part of each game for the Gothams, who were owned by Thomas Morrissey and located in Newark, New Jersey.
In 1887, Walker moved to the Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Pirates franchise of the National League. That season, he became the first black player to wear a uniform number: 8. He stayed with the team until 1890 when he was hired as an assistant coach by the New York Giants. When John McGraw took over as manager of the Giants, he asked Walker to be his personal trainer. When McGraw died in 1951, he was still being mourned by many people as the greatest manager the game has ever known. However, none other than Ty Cobb said that there was no one better than John McGraw. In fact, Cobb called McGraw "the best manager in the business."
After leaving the coaching job, Walker went back to Newark where he lived off and on for the rest of his life. He died in 1902 at the age of 40.
Walker played in the minor leagues until 1889 and was the last African-American to play in the major leagues until Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Following his baseball career, he went on to become a renowned businessman and entrepreneur. Walker died in Chicago at the age of 57.
-- This article originally appeared on Wikipedia. It has been modified by KNAW.
When Jackie Robinson and Dan Bankhead became the first African-Americans to play in the World Series, it was a watershed moment. Not only were they the first black players ever invited to join a major league team on its roster, but they also helped prove that blacks could play baseball as well as whites. The Brooklyn Dodgers played in Ebbets Field from 1947 to 1957. During that time, Robinson managed two games at third base while Bankhead pitched one game.
Bankhead is perhaps best known for being the first black player drafted by a major league team (the New York Blackbirds in 1946). However, he never made it into a game with the club because he suffered a torn ligament in his knee during a preseason workout and had to be put down. He recovered though and went on to have a long career in minor leagues before retiring in 1962 at the age of 39.
Robinson broke through into white baseball in 1945 when the Dodgers opened their season with a trip to Japan. They played seven games there and Robinson hit.500 with a home run and six RBIs. After the tour of Japan ended, Robinson returned to the United States and led the Dodgers in batting average at.284.
With the advent of Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in the major leagues, when Aaron was a young adolescent, professional baseball gradually began to integrate. Aaron played in local amateur and semi-pro leagues because his high school did not have a baseball club. When he was 18 years old, the Milwaukee Braves drafted him and he made his debut on April 7, 1955. He ended up with 2147 hits during his career, which lasted for 21 seasons, making him one of the most productive hitters of all time.
After graduating from high school, Aaron went to work at the National Lead Company factory so he could help support his family. However, due to his excellent batting skills, several local minor league teams asked him to come and play ball. This is how he started out his career. In 1951, when he was just 23 years old, he hit.286 with 26 home runs and 152 RBI's in only 466 games. The following year, he had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history by hitting.522 with 42 homers and 134 RBI's in 150 games. That same year, the Milwaukee Braves finished first in the national league with 103 wins.
In 1954, when he was 25 years old, Aaron hit.292 with 39 homers and 102 RBI's in only 423 games due to injury. That same year, the Atlanta Braves finished second in the league with 95 wins.