BHM - Moses Fleetwood Walker

BHM - Moses Fleetwood Walker

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#Spotlight – This week as part of Black History Month, we introduce you to Moses Fleetwood Walker.

Moses Fleetwood Walker made his major league debut on May 1, 1884. This was 63 years BEFORE Jackie Robinson would break the color barrier.

According to SABR's bio on Walker - by John R. Husman

"Setting the Record Straight

Sunday, April 15, 2007, was observed as Jackie Robinson Day across America as individual players and all of Robinson’s Dodgers honored Robinson by wearing his retired number 42. The date marked the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s major-league debut, an event referred to by many as “breaking the color barrier.” Robinson’s career in major-league baseball was stellar and significant as it began baseball’s 20th-century integration. But Robinson was not the first black man to play major-league baseball. That honor belongs to Moses Fleetwood Walker.

Moses Fleetwood Walker of the 1884 Toledo team is, without question, the first to play major league baseball openly as a black man. His brother Weldy became the second to do so that same year, also in Toledo. Jackie Robinson, the best known of these black players became the third, much later. There is no quarrel that Toledo was a major-league city that year or that the Walkers were team members. Baseball historians, researchers, writers, the Mud Hens, yours truly, and John Thorn, major-league baseball’s official historian, all agree. Thorn has said of Walker, “He would be the last black player in the major leagues until 1947.”"