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Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues & the Story of African-American Baseballby Lawrence D. Hogan
Synopses & Reviews
Celebrating African America's contribution to our great national pastime, this comprehensive, lively history combines vivid narrative, visual impact, and a unique statistical component, to recreate the excitement and passion of the Negro Leagues. Packed with stories, biographical essays, scores of archival photographs and other evocative artifacts, it is an important contribution to sports history and a wonderful tribute to the players and teams who wrote a unique chapter in the annals of baseball and American culture.
National Geographic is proud to present this compelling volume, compiled by a who's who of authorities on the subject. Drawing on years of research, Shades of Glory traces the history of black baseball from the 19th century to the first great teams, such as the Cuban Giants, and on to the era of the vibrant barnstorming teams from the East Coast, Chicago, and Cuba. The unparalleled Rube Foster started the first Negro League in 1920, with such dominant teams as the Chicago American Giants and the Kansas City Monarchs. Pittsburgh soon produced two of the greatest teams of all time, the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, featuring such stars as Satchel Paige, John Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and many more. Their superb brand of baseball rivaled the best of the major leagues until the historic signing of Jackie Robinson by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Shades of Glory chronicles a bygone era of black baseball and the stars who were shadowed by racial prejudice, but now shine forth in all their sparkling brilliance.
"If 'Shades of Glory' were a baseball game, this is what would happen: A guy with dominant stuff would come out and pitch one single breathtaking and flawless first inning. Then the rest of a good staff would get in some solid work finishing the game, which their team would win by a comfortable margin. The book opens with a brief, sparkling investigation of the Negro Leagues in the context... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) of baseball and American history, including a survey of scholarship in the field that manages to turn a pedantic prelude into essential reading. I began noting paragraphs I wanted to reread but eventually gave up because every paragraph was getting a long, blue line inked next to it. This piece, the book's foreword, ranks right up there with the essays Roger Angell continues to write for the New Yorker. The catch is, the foreword is by Jules Tygiel, whom we never hear from again. The rest of the book is written, to some extent, by committee. It appears under the byline of Lawrence D. Hogan, who is credited on the copyright page as 'chief author and editor,' with a lengthy list of 'collaborative authors' — Adrian Burgos, Leslie Heaphy, Neil Lanctot, Michael Lomax, James Overmyer, Robert Peterson, Rob Ruck and Lyle Wilson. Dick Clark and Larry Lester also receive credit for their archaeology on the Negro League's long-neglected statistics. (The team's proposal was selected from a field of competitors by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which funded the study and presented this book as a companion volume to the 2006 special induction ceremony of Negro Leaguers.) Tygiel tells us that the book was winnowed from an 800-page manuscript (not counting bibliography or statistics). To have turned that mass of information into a readable narrative that crests at just over 400 pages (after stats but before the index) is good work. Fans of baseball and black history owe Hogan (and his team) a hearty cheer. So, 'Huzzah!' as they said in the early days of the game, when most black ballplayers were slaves. Tygiel shines mostly because he is the better stylist but also because his was the far more enviable task. The subject of blacks in baseball is a juicy one for a provocative essay meant to define the importance of the subject, indicate surprising ironies and prompt a hunger to know more. But the subject offers intrinsic problems for a full-length book that synthesizes a growing, soon-to-be encyclopedic body of knowledge. The book must break it down to actual games, which team won and lost and what players were decisive. Who wants yesterday's box scores? It depends. Most of us are highly selective about which specific seasons and teams merit that kind of retrospective scrutiny. Hogan has summarized the efforts of many decades by mostly forgotten teams and athletes with one broad brush. As a result, the temptation to skim much of this book is strong. But there are interesting passages, particularly concerning the off-field game. The Negro Leagues (and the many regional baseball circuits that fed into them) were, among other things, businesses, with the all the ugliness of the baseball business today, and then some. This book opens a window into how small black business owners tried to advance their race — or exploit their brothers — while tangling with the white man, who was reluctant as always to share his power or profits. Wanting to know much more (or much less) on any given page is a common experience in reading a summary history. But summary histories need to exist, and they should be rewritten by each generation so that we take responsibility for boning up on what's new and making sure our elders didn't miss anything when they put it all together. For this reason, whatever its mostly inevitable shortcomings, 'Shades of Glory' deserves a starting spot on the library roster of any reader with an interest in baseball or black folks. And I can't wait to see what's next from this Tygiel kid. Sign him up! Chris King is editorial director for the weekly St. Louis American." Reviewed by Chris King, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Published in association with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum timed to coincide with an accompanying exhibition and a special induction of Negro League players into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Packed with stories, biographical essays, scores of archival photographs, andother evocative artifacts, "Shades of Glory" chronicles a bygone era of blackbaseball and the stars who were shadowed by racial prejudice, but now
The result of a study commissioned by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and funded by a grant from Major League Baseball(, this richly illustrated, comprehensive history combines vivid narrative, visual impact, and a unique statistical component to re-create the excitement and passion of the Negro Leagues. 75 photos.
About the Author
Lawrence D. Hogan is a senior professor of history at Union County College in New Jersey. He is an expert on the history of black baseball and his touring exhibit on the subject has traveled nationwide.
Jules Tygiel, a history professor at San Francisco State University, is the author of Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy, and Past Time: Baseball as History, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1939 and has become an American institution. Dedicated to chronicling and preserving baseball history and honoring the sport's foremost figures, it annually attracts more than 350,000 visitors to its home in Cooperstown, New York.
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