6 Decades Before Jackie Robinson, This Man Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier

Sixty-three years before Jackie Robinson became the first African-American in the modern era to play in a Major League Baseball game, Moses Fleetwood Walker made his league debut on May 1, 1884 with the Toledo Blue Stockings. in a 5-1 loss to the Louisville Eclipse. Walker, a 26-year-old African-American catcher from Mount Pleasant, Ohio, had dropped out of law school a year earlier at the University of Michigan to play for the Blue Stockings.

According to sports life, “Toledo suffered a lot from the errors of Walker, who made three terrible throws”, in his debut. But the Blade of Toledo painted a different picture of his performance. “Walker is one of the club’s most reliable men, but his poor play in a city where the color line is tightly drawn as it is in Louisville should not be counted against him,” the newspaper reported. . “A lot of good players in circumstances less interesting than these have become shaken and unable to play.”

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