Admission to this event is free, but does not include access to museum exhibitions.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, please contact Caroline Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-454-6373.
Register online for this and other Books in the ‘Burgh events.
The colliding histories of black and Latin ballplayers in the major leagues have traditionally been told as a story of their shameful segregation and redemptive integration. Jackie Robinson jumped baseball’s color line to much fanfare, but integration was painful as well as triumphal. It gutted the once vibrant Negro Leagues and often subjected Latin players to Jim Crow racism. Today, MLB tightens its grasp around the Caribbean’s burgeoning baseball academies while at home, it embraces, and exploits, the legacy of the Negro Leagues. After peaking at 27 percent of all major leaguers in 1975, African Americans now make up less than one-tenth—a decline unimaginable in other men’s pro sports. The number of Latin Americans, by contrast, has exploded to over a quarter of all major leaguers and roughly half of those playing in the minors. Rob Ruck not only attempts to explains the catalyst for this sea change, he also breaks down the consequences that cut across all quarters of society. Integration cost black and Caribbean societies control over their own sporting lives, changing the meaning of the sport but not always for the better. While it channeled black and Latino athletes into major league baseball, integration did little for the communities they left behind.
About Rob Ruck
Rob Ruck is a professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches and writes about sport. His work focuses on how people use sport to tell a collective story about who they are to themselves and the world. A guest historian for the sport history museum, his books include: “Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburgh” (1987), “The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic” (1991), “Rooney: A Sporting Life” (2010), and “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game” (2011), along with two documentaries, “Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men” (1993) and “The Republic of Baseball: Dominican Giants of the American Game “(2006). He is currently finishing a book about football and faʻa samoa (in the way of Samoa) in American Samoa and among the diaspora.