The end of segregation meant fewer opportuni- ties for black ballplayers

Before he joined the Cubs, Banks fifa 15 coins pc provided black fans with a legitimate reason to pay to see a Negro league game. He arguably helped the entire Negro American League stay afloat. The Monarchs’ home opener in 1953 versus the Clowns, for example, drew 18,205 fans—a good crowd by even major league standards.52 The Sunday game gave Missourians and Kansans an opportunity to see the Negro leagues’ first female player, Clown sec- ond baseman Toni Stone. Though Stone was a good player, she obviously was a sideshow attraction, a strategic roster move designed to sell tickets more than to win games.53 The former Minnesota high school star gave the Clowns “a road attraction unequalled in Negro baseball,” according to the Defender, which did not question or criticize the gimmicks and stunts of the Clowns’ owner, Syd Pollock.

Stone was joined in July by “the nation’s foremost baseball clown,” Ed Hamman, a roster move that removed any doubt that Pollock and his “Funmakers” were more entertainers than professional athletes, and this shift came just a single season removed from Henry Aaron’s statistically spectacular half-season with the team in 1952.55 Characteristic of cover- age of the Clowns by the Defender, the “roster moves” were documented without critique, skepticism, or historical perspective.56 These player moves also included adding “King Tut,” who used a ridiculously large glove and dressed either as an Egyptian pharaoh or in a tux and top hat, and a dwarf named Spec Bebop, who entertained but did not play.57 The Defender’s Clowns coverage read just as one might think Pollock had wanted it to, by announcing upcoming games and celebrating the entertainment values of the “Imps of the Diamond,” a “baseball circus really worth seeing.”58 (Pol- lock, who based his operations in Tarrytown, NewYork, moved the team several times, a transience that inspired Wendell Smith to refer to it as the Cincinnati-Miami-Ethiopian Clowns.59)

The newspaper’s fifa 15 coins ps unwillingness to criticize the “circus” that black baseball had become points to the conflicted position the black press found itself vis-à-vis the Negro leagues as it pressed for fuller integration. In the 1940s black newspapers refused to cover the Clowns, seeing them as “a detriment to Negro league baseball” and as an embarrassment to blacks everywhere.60 The Courier’s Wendell Smith, in 1943, called the Clowns a “fourth-rate Uncle Tom minstrel show.”61 By 1953, novelties, gimmicks, and comedy seemingly were required to attract paying customers. In the late 1950s, all that remained of the Negro leagues were traveling troupes owned by white promoters. The end of segregation meant fewer opportuni- ties for black ballplayers, not more, and black team ownership disappeared for a half-century.

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