The Barrier Breakers
Going the Distance
In 1945, Major League Baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers recruited Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs.
Robinson became the African-American in the modern era to play on a Major League roster.
While this historic event was a key moment in baseball and civil rights history, it foreshadowed the decline of the Negro Leagues.
The best black players were recruited by Major League teams, and black fans followed.
The last Negro Leagues teams folded by the early 1960s.
Over the 12 year period from 1947 to 1959, more than 100 African American and Latino men endured the grueling process of integrating Major League and Minor League Baseball organizations.
Larry Doby, Hank Thompson, Willard Brown, and Dan Bankhead immediately followed Robinson in 1947.
Over a decade later, in 1959, Elijah "Pumpsie" Green broke through the Boston Red Sox' barrier.
Many of these players encountered hardships similar to those that Jackie Robinson had faced, but with their perseverance, they opened the doors for future minority players.
Having honed their skills in the Negro Leagues, these men went on to become some of the greatest Major League players of all time.