Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crackers, Dodgers and Atlanta's integrated series

I've been reading about ATLANTA'S MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HISTORY since returning from my trip, including the lengthy history of the ATLANTA CRACKERS.
The Crackers were longtime members of the Southern Association, displaced when the BRAVES moved south from Milwaukee.
The team played at Ponce de Leon Stadium, which was filled to overflowing on April 8, 1949.
That date marked the start of a three-game exhibition series against the BROOKLYN DODGERS -- and gained fame as the first integrated professional baseball game in then-segregated Atlanta.
African-American fans converged on the ballpark to see Georgia native JACKIE ROBINSON, the man who had integrated Major League Baseball in 1947.
However, because Atlanta's ballpark remained segregated, most of the black fans in attendance had to sit along the outfield signs and wall.
Black stars like Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward now play nightly for an Atlanta baseball team.
Sometimes, it's hard to comprehend there was a time blacks not only couldn't play, but were restricted to the periphery of the stadium as well.


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