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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Shadows, Into the Light
Most baseball fans are familiar with the great names and stories that emanated from the Negro Leagues. Satchel Paige, ever the showman, often asked his fielders to sit down while he struck out a dangerous hitter; Cool Papa Bell was so fast that he could blow out a candle and be in bed before the room got dark; and Josh Gibson may or may not have hit a ball completely...
Published on September 14, 2000 by Hank Waddles

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
my husband loves it
Published 3 days ago by susan koutiel


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Shadows, Into the Light, September 14, 2000
By 
Hank Waddles (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Most baseball fans are familiar with the great names and stories that emanated from the Negro Leagues. Satchel Paige, ever the showman, often asked his fielders to sit down while he struck out a dangerous hitter; Cool Papa Bell was so fast that he could blow out a candle and be in bed before the room got dark; and Josh Gibson may or may not have hit a ball completely out of Yankee Stadium. Peterson includes these gems and much more in this incredibly in depth history of the Negro Leagues. He chronicles the history of the black ballplayer, beginning with those few who actually played in the major leagues during the tail end of the nineteenth century, before the doors were closed, and continuing into the 40's and 50's, when Jackie Robinson's arrival in Brooklyn led to the demise of the Negro Leagues. Peterson relies almost exclusively on first-hand accounts culled from the black press of the day and extensive interviews from players and coaches. Also included is an appendix filled with year by year standings and an alphabetical listing of Negro League players. Certainly, this book is invalueable to anyone interested in learning about the unknown greats from the Negro Leagues.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Researched and tied together., November 9, 2003
By 
Jacques (Scarsdale, New York, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
This book was not what I thought it would be. Its part stat book, part biography, part history of the leagues. It is not as story-like as I expected and seems a bit fractured in places. Having said that, its a wonderful book that conveys a lot of the zeitgeist of the time. For a book with so many facts, it is surprisingly easy to read. Though, at times it seems to repeat itself, it still conjures up an age when African American players wore their caps sideways, introduced stealing bases on a regular basis etc... It is a shame that so many sad periods in world history become fascinating periods to read about for generations that follow after. Educational, entertaining and solidly researhed, bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, what a game., May 20, 2006
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
Robert Peterson originally published this book in 1970 so it's really the original and standard history of the Negro Leagues. Peterson not only tells the history of these leagues and some of the great players, but also provides brief biographical sketches of dozens of players whose big league service would otherwise be lost to history. The book also has extensive appendices with annual standings and box scores of all-star games. The book gives us glimpses into Jim Crow America (and it was not just in the South).

Peterson portrays the often overlooked fact that the Negro Leagues were a business venture run almost exclusively by and for black people. And it was a tough business at that, but one that drew often sizeable crowds, especially on exciting and exhausting barnstorming tours. The Negro Leagues could not survive integration as its best players were siphoned off to the 'majors'. Despite the obvious benefits to those men who were finally broke through the wall of prejudice, the reader also understands that there was a sense of loss when the leagues shut down in 1960. More powerfully, the reader experiences the lost opportunities suffered by those players who never got the chance to play in the majors and make major league money, like Jimmie Crutchfield, the Black Lloyd Waner, who barely made a living on one side of Pittsburgh playing for the Crawfords while Waner hauled down $12,000 a year (a princely sum at the time) playing for the Pirates.

A must read for anyone interested in baseball, race relations, or American history.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Own Game, July 19, 2000
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
This book beautifully captures the heart and soul of what the Negro League was. Not only does it give a real insight into what the game of baseball meant to the players and fans, but helps one understand how the alienation of blacks from big-league play was a great tradgedy to the game. This book makes me wonder how great the game could be today, if this tradgedy had not occurred.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Own game, July 25, 2000
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This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
This book beautifully captures the heart and soul of what Negro League baseball was. Not only does this book give real insight into what the game meant to black players and fans, but helps one understand how the alienation of blacks from big-league play was a great tragedy to the game. This book makes me wonder how great the game could be today, if this tragedy had not occurred.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know the Game? Don't forget this book., May 20, 2000
By 
Eric V. Moye (New York, by way of Dallas) - See all my reviews
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There are dozens of books written on the Game. This one is essential to a full understanding of Baseball.
Of course, it has gaps. As it explains, there was seldom an official scorer, so we will never know exactly how many home runs Josh Gibson hit, or how many games Satchel Paige won. Nonetheless this is an outstanding compendium of research.
But is does tell us of some of the great and heretofore unknowns of the game. It tells how Rube Foster helped create an institution in which African Americans could take pride.
Want to know the only man to hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium? Check out the answer here in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Own Game, July 19, 2000
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
This book beautifully captures the heart and soul of what Negro League baseball was. Not only does it give a real insight into what the game meant to players and fans, but helps one understand how the alienation of blacks from big-league play was a great tradgedy to the game. This book makes wonder how great the could be today, if this tradgedy had not occurred.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Baseball History, March 28, 2008
Robert Peterson (1925-2006) wrote this pioneering history in 1970 when many ex-players were still living. Drawing on interviews, Peterson makes the Negro Leagues come to life. Readers learn of stars like Bullet Joe Rogan, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson ("the black Babe Ruth"), Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, etc., and teams like the Kansas City Monarchs, Homestead Grays, Indianapolis Clowns, Chicago American Giants, etc. The Negro Leagues were one of the largest black-owned businesses, though a couple teams (Pittsburgh Crawfords) were run by racketeers. Readers learn about Rube Foster, who founded the Negro National League in 1920, the annual All-Star game in Chicago's Comiskey Park, barnstorming against white big leaguers, and travel conditions that ranged from decent to difficult and discriminatory. There is also an appendix with team rosters and yearly standings.

The Negro Leagues began to fade once Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and folded completely in 1960 - a sad day signalling a better era. Then this book arrived to bring attention to the Leagues and its players. One, Ted "Double-Duty" Radcliffe (1902-2005), later became a fixture at White Sox games, signing autographs, and throwing out the first ball on his 101st and 102nd birthdays. Another, Buck O'Neill (1911-2006) became an ambassador via the Ken Burns video series "Baseball" and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

Today fans can visit that museum, buy team merchandise, and enjoy several good books on the subject, including I WAS RIGHT ON TIME (by Buck O'Neil), BASEBALL'S GREAT EXPERIMENT and several others. Peterson deserves at least a little credit for this.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book, December 10, 1999
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
This book provides an entertaining look at the Negro Leagues and the years prior, when blacks were banned by the "Gentlemen's Aggreement" from participating in the national past time. Although not a comprehensive study, it does provide the reader with a glimpse of what the Negro Leagues were like. One is left with a whole series of "What might have been?" to ponder. Overall, a great book and well worth the price.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Review of ONLY THE BALL WAS WHITE, July 19, 2000
This review is from: Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams (Paperback)
I felt that the book was very good, from an African American stand point. The stories told throughout the book were very interesting because they all symbolize the trials and tribulations that the African Americans had to face in those days of despair. Even though blacks weren't allowed to do a lot of over the years, such as vote, play baseball with whites, and get a decent education, they still found away to overcome these obstacles and succeed.
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Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams
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