Pitching for the Stars: My Seasons Across the Color Line

Overview

In early summer 1959, Texas Tech senior Jerry Craft was planning to stay home on the family ranch when Carl Sedberry, a semipro baseball manager, phoned, asking him to try out for his club. Craft had never heard of the Wichita Falls/Graham Stars, but they needed a pitcher, and Craft was surprised and persuaded by their offer to pay $75 per game. Craft was in for an even bigger surprise when he reported to Spudder Park and realized that Mr. Sedberry was recruiting him for the ...

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Pitching for the Stars: My Seasons Across the Color Line

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Overview

In early summer 1959, Texas Tech senior Jerry Craft was planning to stay home on the family ranch when Carl Sedberry, a semipro baseball manager, phoned, asking him to try out for his club. Craft had never heard of the Wichita Falls/Graham Stars, but they needed a pitcher, and Craft was surprised and persuaded by their offer to pay $75 per game. Craft was in for an even bigger surprise when he reported to Spudder Park and realized that Mr. Sedberry was recruiting him for the West Texas Colored League.
            No one—least of all Craft—could know for sure what would happen when the League’s first white pitcher took the mound that summer day. But as Mr. Sedberry’s wisdom prevailed, the Stars and their white teammate pulled together to play a game they loved. Craft would pitch two seasons for the Stars. As they made history Craft and his teammates would learn much from Mr. Sedberry and each other about sports and life, and share experiences that would change them forever.
         Looking back on those years before the Civil Rights movement, when baseball was still very much a segregated game in a segregated society, Craft relates an unlikely story of respect, character, humor, and ultimately friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Jerry Craft’s real-life journey with the Stars comes alive. Its brisk pacing, play-by-play action, and fluid delivery make for a substantial and satisfying slice of a bygone era in baseball and the segregated South. An especially fine addition to Texana collections for middle readers and up. Very nicely done! -- Dr. Roger Leslie, North Shore Senior High Library, Galena Park ISD

Praise for Our White Boy

The story of how a young white man in rural Texas learned firsthand not only about how profoundly painful and limiting segregation was for both whites and blacks but also how segregation could promote black pride and entrepreneurialism. This is a wonderful book in every respect. . . . Highly recommended. All readers. —Choice Reviews Online

School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—In the summer of 1959, Texas Tech senior Jerry Craft received a phone call that would change his life. The voice at the other end of the line belonged to Carl Sedberry, manager of the local semipro baseball team Wichita Falls/Graham Stars, and he was offering Craft a tryout to pitch for the team. What he didn't know was that the Stars were a top squad in the West Texas Colored League. The catch was that he was a white man. After an initial bout of uneasiness, Craft became a mainstay on the Stars for two seasons. Adapted for young readers from Our White Boy (Texas Tech Univ., 2010), this book largely revolves around Craft's bond with his teammates at a time when segregation was still the norm. He obviously has fond memories of his experience as "Jackie Robinson in reverse," and his story is compelling. However, his skills as a writer are lacking. Especially problematic is the cringe-worthy dialogue; when read out loud, the interactions sound unnatural and awkward. The narrative is a jumbled mess of anecdotes-one story follows another in a disorganized, confusing string of episodes. Kids everywhere would benefit from hearing about Craft's extraordinary life, so it's unfortunate that the presentation isn't more professional.—Sam Bloom, Blue Ash Library, Cincinnati, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896727878
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
  • Publication date: 5/16/2013
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 136
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Jerry Craft, rancher and former mayor of Jacksboro, Texas, was the first white man to play in the West Texas Colored League, during the summers of 1959 and 1960. A pioneer in the national cable television industry, he lives in Jacksboro and operates ranches in Texas and New Mexico.

Kathleen Sullivan, who holds degrees from Baylor University and Arizona State University, has taught at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Arlington. A member of the Sport Literature Association and the Society for American Baseball Research, she lives in Arlington, Texas

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