Interracial Baseball Prior to Integration

Between Fleet Walker and Jackie Robinson, black players and white players rarely, if ever, played together on integrated teams. But teams of white players did play baseball against teams of black baseball players during (mostly postseason) barnstorming tours throughout these years.

The recent book, The Negro Leagues Were Major Leagues: Historians Reappraise Black Baseball (McFarland, 2019), compiled a set of more than 600 games played between teams consisting primarily of white major-leaguers and teams of black players. The book's editor, Todd Peterson, graciously provided copies of the box scores, game stories, and, in a few cases, play-by-play accounts of these games.

Retrosheet has begun to work through these games to create box score files (and event files where possible) using Retrosheet's traditional approach of beginning with the most recent data (1948 in this case) and working back through time. To date, Retrosheet's collection of games played between teams of major-league white and major-league black players goes back to 1925. The choice of 1925 as our starting date here (for now) was not accidental. Following the 1924 offseason, Commissioner Landis banned American and National League teams from barnstorming, so starting in 1925, the white teams involved in these games were all "All-Star" teams.

Overall, Retrosheet has collected box scores for 249 interracial games played between 1925 and 1948. We have play-by-play accounts for 79 of these games with 52 of these play-by-play accounts having been deduced from newspaper game stories and box scores.

Back to Main Page for Negro League Baseball

Page Updated: 5/16/2021

All data contained at this site is copyright © 1996-2021 by Retrosheet. All Rights Reserved.