Legacy of a pivotal player
Jackie Robinson's hardships enduring bigotry are well known. But after him came a slow stream of other African Americans who, with less publicity, entered the major leagues yet still had to put up with ugly racist attitudes and practices. Steve Jacobson's Carrying Jackie's Torch: The Players Who Integrated Baseball and America offers profiles of 19 such players, whose value as pioneers should never be underestimated. Once Robinson opened the door, these stalwart individuals still had to walk through it, and, as Jacobson relates, it was never an easy path. Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Mudcat Grant, Elston Howard, Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron are among the subjects here, as is Emmett Ashford, the first black man to umpire a major league game. Jacobson's accounts are pithy, inspiring and informative, and they shed necessary light on a part of the integration process that has been somewhat overlooked.