I began this paper in earnest to look at the differences in organized baseball during the segregated history of Mobile. In doing so I also wondered if Mobile's History was similar or different from other parts of the country. Baseball has and probably always will be America's sport. It is America's past time - although it is played world wide, its immense popularity since its inception around 1840 has placed it in the forefront of all American sport activities. It is for this reason one could look at baseball to get a good idea what took place in our culture during segregation and the beginnings of desegregation.
Baseball is the democratic sport - where fresh-faced rookies wrest positions from grizzled veterans, where every batter gets three strikes, where the individual can shine and put himself above the rest. It is in this capacity that baseball, even more so than basketball or football, is a mirror for American culture and society.
In Baseball, America's opportunities and hopes, as well as our ironies and prejudices, are reflected.
Baseball has been idolized in the arts - songs such as 'Take me out to the ballgame', poems such as 'Casey at bat', books such as 'Bang the drum slowly' and 'Boys of summer', and countless paintings and sculptures and movies attest to its centrality in the National consciousness. It has traditionally been the favorite son of the sports media, and enthusiasm for it can reach even violent proportions. It has spawned multi-million dollar industries in game presentation and merchandising, which serve to perpetuate its thrust in American culture.
Like most organized sports in American society before the Second World War, baseball was racially segregated. In special instances blacks participated as team players in the post-emancipation period, but to a large degree baseball remained segregated,