Who was the first African American major league baseball player? If your answer is Jackie Robinson, think again. It was Fleetwood Walker (7 Oct. 1857-11 May 1924).
"Fleet" as he was popularly known, began his professional baseball career in 1883 with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the Northwestern League. In 1884, when the league champions joined the major league American Association, Walker became the first black major leaguer in history. Fleet's Divided Heart is a story of the social obstacles, fictitious opinions common among race theorists in 19th century America and the personal impact it had on this truly talented athlete, inventor, entrepreneur, and entertainer.
Zang is a sports historian and Director of Sport Studies at Towson University.