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They Played for the Love of the Game

They Played for the Love of the Game

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Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota

Author Frank M. White, Foreword by Dave Winfield

Minnesota Historical Society Press (February 1, 2016)


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.


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.

Author information

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.

Reviews and news

In the media:

Minnesota Spokesman Recorder 1 of 2

Minnesota Spokesman Recorder 2 of 2

Twins Daily


Star Tribune

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

TPT's Almanac (@ 27 minutes in)

Pioneer Public Television's Postcards

KFAI's Truth to Tell

WCCO with John Hines (3/21/16)

Chaska Herald

Woodbury Bulletin

Woodbury Magazine

St. Paul Neighborhood Network

Insight News

Winner of the Robert Peterson Recognition Award for work that increases public awareness about the Negro Leagues, akin to Peterson's book “Only The Ball Was White.” Awarded by The Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference (JMNLC), an annual conference sponsored by Negro Leagues Committee (NLC), a standing committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

Also of interest:

Media coverage for "They Played for the Love of the Game" exhibit curated by Frank White with the Ramsey County Historical Society



Related resources:

Swinging for the Fences: Black Baseball in Minnesota

MNopedia: "Toni" Stone

Interview with Frank White in Lost Twin Cities 4

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 192 pages
  • 80 B&W Photos
  • 7 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340043

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