Color Blind: The Forgotten Team That Broke Baseball's Color Lineby Tom Dunkel
When baseball swept America in the years after the Civil War, independent, semipro, and municipal leagues sprouted up everywhere. With civic pride on the line, rivalries were fierce and teams often signed ringers to play alongside the town dentist, insurance salesman, and teen prodigy. In/b>
A 2013 CASEY Award Finalist for Best Baseball Book of the Year
When baseball swept America in the years after the Civil War, independent, semipro, and municipal leagues sprouted up everywhere. With civic pride on the line, rivalries were fierce and teams often signed ringers to play alongside the town dentist, insurance salesman, and teen prodigy. In drought-stricken Bismarck, North Dakota during the Great Depression, one of the most improbable teams in the history of baseball was assembled by one of the sport’s most unlikely champions. A decade before Jackie Robinson broke into the Major Leagues, car dealer Neil Churchill signed the best players he could find, regardless of race, and fielded an integrated squad that took on all comers in spectacular fashion.
Color Blind immerses the reader in the wild and wonderful world of early independent baseball, with its tough competition and its novelty. Dunkel traces the rise of the Bismarck squad, focusing on the 1935 season and the first National Semipro Tournament. This is an entertaining, must-read for anyone interested in the history of baseball.
A tale as fantastic as it is true.”Boston Globe
“A tale as fantastic as it is true, as American as racism and baseball. . . . Dunkel’s extensive research showsthere’s enough detail here to satisfy the most rabid fanand his portraits of Troupe, Paige, and Churchill are lively and warm.”Boston Globe
"A delightful read. This is a tale worth telling."Washington Post
"Dunkel tells one of the great untold stories about baseball history, one that almost sounds too good to be true."Chicago Tribune
"Dunkel's enthralling narrative of Bismarck's talented collection of white and black players falls into the 'must-read' category."Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A terrific book. . . . It is funny, it is sad, it is spellbinding, required reading for anyone who loves baseball, who loves a vivid story well-told. . . . Color Blind is crammed with characters . . . laced with joy, rocked by sadness, framed by the civil rights struggle. . . . If you want to understand America, you have to understand baseball.”Philadelphia Daily News
"Give an exceptional storyteller an exceptional story to tell, and you just might wind up with a book as good as Tom Dunkel's Color Blind."Gene Weingarten, Washington Post columnist and feature writer, two-time winner of The Pulitzer Prize
"Dunkel writes with a passion and flair that matches the gritty, hardscrabble North Dakota landscape and culture of the Great Depression. His meticulous research and clever writing blows the dust off a forgottenbut importantchapter in baseball history. A fascinating addition to baseball’s library."Tampa Tribune
"A little-known but charming narrative that affirms baseball as a cornucopia of good stories."Daily Beast
“Color Blind is an amazing story of black and white that should be read all over.”John Thorn, Official Historian, Major League Baseball and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden
"[A] wonderful book. Color Blind captures Satch and his Negro League pals at their absolute rollicking best. What a fabulous addition to the literature of our national pastime!"Timothy M. Gay, author of Satch, Dizzy, and Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson
“Very entertaining. . . . Baseball fans will cherish this book."Booklist (starred review)
"Dunkel delves into the history of players, towns, and baseball itself in constructing this portrait of a harmonious team rising above a segregated society. . . . a story that transcends championships, and an inspirational reflection on an otherwise dismal human rights history."Publishers Weekly
“Tom Dunkel’s wonderfully reported book Color Blind casts a spotlight on a long overlooked but fascinating corner of baseball history.”San Antonio Express-News
“A rich history.”Bismarck Tribune
“Dunkel well describes the loosey-goosey, not quite minor-league level of America’s regional teams in the 1920s and ‘30s, with ballplayers bouncing across the map to join one team and then another. . . . A happy story.”San Francisco Chronicle
[here] is Paige in all his maddening glory . . . against a sepia backdrop of drought, dust storms, and swarms of grasshoppers at the depth of the Depression.”Washington Independent Review of Books
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Meet the Author
Tom Dunkel is an award-winning freelance journalist with more than 25 years of experience reporting for major newspapers and magazines including The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Wall Street Journal. He lives in Washington, D.C. This is his first book.
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This is a great book. Mr Dunkel captures the essence of life in the upper Midwest during the 1930s. With the background of a racially integrated Semi-pro baseball team,he details the history life along the Missouri river and towns in North Dakota. This was before Jackie Robinson when professional baseball was racially segregated.True chronicles of Custer, Sitting Bull,local leaders and baseball players(most from the Negro leagues) are richly detailed.The central character of the book is Neil Churchill, a local car salesman, who spends most of his own money attracting the best baseball players from the Negro leagues to come to Bismarck North Dakota.One of the players is the great Satchel Paige.This is a great true story that was lost in the shadows
Mr. Dunkel writes this book with amazing insights on all sides of the playing field gathered from many sources. I kept reminding myself that the book was about real people and a real time. The characters involved were given their very human side, which can make a person capture all of the emotions and leaves you with a good sense of how different we all see life. A must read.