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Professor Publishes Book on Black Baseball in Texas

By Janlyn Thaxton

 

 

Dr. Rob Fink, assistant professor of education, has a newly released book from the Texas Tech University Press. Playing in Shadows, Texas and Negro League Baseball is the untold story of black semiprofessional baseball in the Lone Star State. From the cover:“Fink adds significantly to our understanding of black baseball during the first half of the twentieth century and provides the most comprehensive study to date of black baseball in Texas. . . . He reminds us what is to be gained from close scrutiny of even the most limited . . . sources.” —Cary D. Wintz, from the foreword “One more significant contribution to understanding the black experience in Texas. . . . a groundbreaking study.” —Bruce Glasrud{{more}}”While baseball may have long been considered an all-American sport in which a melting pot could celebrate ethnic heroes like Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Connie Mack, and Stan Musial, racial segregation excluded blacks from an otherwise democratic picture.Such was certainly the case in Texas, where, in the state’s first professional matchup soon after the Civil War, the R. E. Lees faced the Stonewalls—and African Americans, not surprisingly, played no part.Drawing upon oral histories and mining such rare sources as rosters and box scores from black newspapers, Rob Fink situates the semiprofessional West Texas Colored League against the rise and decline of professional Negro Leagues. From the 1880s Galveston Flyaways through Dallas shortstop Ernie Banks’s signing with the Chicago Cubs in 1953, Playing in Shadows brings to light an important but little-studied inning in American sport.”Fink is the author of numerous articles and encyclopedia entries in African American history. Fink is a graduate of Baylor and Texas Tech. His other publications cover topics from church history, women’s history, baseball, and West Texas ghost stories.

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