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They Played for the Love of the Game

$ 19.95

Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota

A tale of unsung heroes and forgotten stars who battled discrimination and other hardships to play the game they loved, told by the son of one such legend of Minnesota black baseball.

  • Author Frank M. White, Foreword by Dave Winfield
  • Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 1, 2016)
  • Paperback, 192 pages, 80 B&W Photos, 7 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340043

A century before Kirby Puckett led the Minnesota Twins to World Series championships, Minnesota was home to countless talented African American baseball players, yet few of them are known to fans today. During the many decades that Major League Baseball and its affiliates imposed a strict policy of segregation, black ballplayers in Minnesota were relegated to a haphazard array of semipro leagues, barnstorming clubs, and loose organizations of all-black teams—many of which are lost to history.

They Played for the Love of the Game recovers that history by sharing stories of African American ballplayers in Minnesota, from the 1870s to the 1960s, through photos, artifacts, and spoken histories passed through the generations. Author Frank White’s own father was one of the top catchers in the Twin Cities in his day, a fact that White did not learn until late in life. While the stories tell of denial, hardship, and segregation, they are highlighted by athletes who persevered and were united by their love of the sport. 

Frank M. White is a former athlete, coach, official, and sports administrator. He currently coordinates the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program for the Minnesota Twins. His exhibit, They Played for the Love of the Game, was developed with the Ramsey County Historical Society in 2010. Dave Winfield played twenty-two seasons in the major leagues and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is a native of St. Paul and an alumnus of the University of Minnesota.

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