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Baseball History as American History: Lost Stories of Influential Ballplayers

Kiersten McMahon, Austin Hawkins, Gabe Foltz, Hannah Young, Tyler Storm, Miranda Nelson, Authors

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What comes to mind when thinking about the history of diversity in baseball? For the vast majority of Americans, Jackie Robinson is the only important story of influence on the game. Rarely do stories of other African Americans, women, or individuals from other cultural and racial backgrounds rise to the forefront of discussion. Although the stories of others are not commonly told, they are important and played a part in shaping the game of baseball. Our biographical digital media presentation shines light on six baseball players’ experiences during the twentieth century. The players examined are Ila Borders, Reggie Jackson, Toni Stone, Joe Grigas, Larry Doby, and Joe DiMaggio. We highlight the struggles each of the individual players faced, the accomplishments they made, and what mark they left in history. After viewing our presentation there will be more than a single story that comes to mind when thinking about the history of diversity in baseball. These are not the only forgotten stories in baseball, but learning about them helps eliminate the assumption that a single story of diversity shaped the American pastime.

This project was created for the course Baseball and American Diversity (HIST 380); taught by Concordia College Professor of History Richard M. Chapman.

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