Negro League ballplayers, earning paychecks comparable to those of blue-collar workers, needed an off-season source of income to make ends meet. Many of them found the answer in baseball, by joining racially integrated barnstorming teams that toured the country after the regular season ended, or by playing in the organized winter leagues that operated in Florida, California, in a number of Caribbean countries, and in Central and South American countries.
This history recounts the experiences of American black ballplayers outside of the Negro Leagues-often in places where a lack of prejudice contrasted sharply with conditions at home. Tracing the development of the game in each location and the unique character of each winter league, it details the contributions of the Negro League players and collects their statistics in each of the winter leagues.
SABR member William F. McNeil of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is also the author of The Evolution of Pitching in Major League Baseball (2006), Backstop (2005), Visitors to Ancient America (2005), Cool Papas and Double Duties (2005), Gabby Hartnett (2004), The Single Season Home Run Kings (2003), The California Winter League (2002), Baseball's Other All-Stars (2000), Ruth, Maris, McGuire and Sosa (1999) and The King of Swat (1997). He is a four-time winner of the Society for American Baseball Research's Robert Peterson Award for increasing public awareness of Negro League baseball.