At 7 pm, Thursday, May 4, Pittsburgh native Richard "Pete" Peterson--the author of Growing Up With Clemente and Pops: The Willie Stargell Story--will discuss the contributions African-Americans have made to baseball not only here in Pittsburgh but throughout the major leagues.
From Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige to Willie Stargell and Barry Bonds, African-Americans have played a major role in the history of Pittsburgh baseball. Before Jackie Robinson crossed Major League baseball's color line in 1947, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays dominated the Negro Leagues. Since baseball's integration, African-Americans have led the Pirates to World Series and Division championships. African-American ballplayers, however, have also had to struggle for acceptance in Pittsburgh. While they could take pride in their accomplishments on the field, they often faced prejudice and hostility in a racially-divided city. At the beginning of the 1970s, the Pirates became the first team in baseball to field an all-black line up, but in the 1980s, when the franchise struggled with poor attendance and was on the verge of leaving the city, critics claimed that attendance was down because the Pirates had too many black players.
Pete will have copies of his latest publication The Slide: Leyland, Bonds & the Starr-Crossed Pittsburgh Pirates available for sale and signing the evening of the event.