When learning about baseball’s history, it is impossible to ignore the forty years that African Americans were not allowed to play, regardless of ability. Any attempt by a black american to play ball was rejected by Major League Baseball. They were shut out and forced to form their own leagues.
There debates, even now, about the possibilities. What if they had been allowed to play? How would things have been different? How would they have measured up against Major League Players?
In my mind, that prompts other, far more depressing questions than who would have beat who in an All Star line-up. From the 1600’s to the late 1800’s, countless men and women were unable to pursue anything they wanted. How many artists were lost? How many doctors? How many lawyers? How many writers and sculptors and athletes and orators and businessmen and senators? What did this country lose? What did those people lose? Because they were unable to choose their own fates, to strike out on their own, to determine who they were in a very fundamental way, society lost something dear.
And society continued to throw it away with Jim Crow and segregation and through the intimidation of the Klan and other groups. The poverty and crime that bore down the Black community, kept it from achieving the great things it would have achieved. For every George Washington Carver and Lewis Latimer and Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas and Langston Hughes and Miles Davis, how many others never got the chance to be who they should have been?
It is only recently in our history that Black Americans have the semblance of the same freedoms as the majority of Americans, but for the millions before, they lacked that option.
What they were, what they could have been, whatever they truly wanted, was and is forever lost, and we are forever poorer for it.