#Spotlight – This week as part of Black History Month, we introduce you to Johnny Wright.
Johnny Wright will forever be linked with Jackie Robinson as the first two players to break the color line in the twentieth century.
Wright was an ace pitcher for the Indianapolis Crawfords and the Homestead Grays. A member of the Navy, he quickly gained the attention of Branch Rickey who signed him following the more famous signing of Jackie Robinson.
In 1943, Wright would pitch before a crowd of 51,000 at Comiskey Park in the 1943 East-West All-Star Game.
The 1943 season was his best, 26-4 with a 2-1 record in the Negro League World Series. After the season, Wright would enlist in the Navy.
Wright would catch the attention of the Dodgers while pitching at Ebbets Field in 1945.
Robinson would sign with the Dodgers in October of 1945, with Wright signing in January of 1946.
Wright and Robinson would report to Montreal to play for the Royals. While Robinson excelled, Wright struggled with his pitching control and returned to the Negro Leagues. His career never got back on track and he would end his playing days as just a footnote.