Toledo player influenced color barrier in baseball - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo player influenced color barrier in baseball

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

With the movie 42 now showing and highlighting the baseball color barrier broken by Jackie Robinson, the next time you're near Fifth Third Field, check out Moses Fleetwood Walker Square at the corner of Washington and Huron.

Playing catcher for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884, Walker is credited as being the first African-American to play baseball at the Major League level, and his story is part of the color line being drawn in baseball.

"You can't really appreciate fully Jackie Robinson's story without knowing Moses Fleetwood Walker's story and his contribution to what we know as baseball today, and the integration we see today," said Rhonda Sewell with the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

Sewell encourages Toledoans to visit the local history department at the main branch, which includes books, photos and newspaper clippings of Walker.

"Just to read up on the discrimination he encountered. He was a very learned man. He attended Oberlin. He attended U of M," said Sewell.

One book which includes Walker's story is Baseball in Toledo by John Husman.

"There's many documented cases of prejudice against Fleet Walker, from fans, teammates and opposing players,"  said Husman.

Husman hopes Walker will become more of a household name, at least in Toledo.

"I do some speaking about Toledo baseball history and it's one of the things I always talk about. I'm amazed how few people are aware of Fleet Walker," said Husman.

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