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The Demise of African American Baseball Leagues

Author

Listed:
  • Rodney Fort

    (Washington State University)

  • Joel Maxcy

    (SUNY-Cortland)

Abstract

Organized African American baseball (AAB), the longest lived rival to Major League Baseball (MLB) in history, thrived from the 1920s through the early 1940s. Although integration in 1947 focused attention on MLB and the American experience, the impact on AAB receives only passing, somewhat wistful notice. From the economic perspective, the unabashed talent raiding by MLB killed AAB a couple of years after integration began. The authors show that AAB did pose an economic threat to MLB. Given this, the theory and history of MLB behavior toward rival leagues would have predicted actions by MLB to end the threat posed by AAB and a better economic outcome for at least some of the AAB owners and players than actually occurred. Although the former occurred, the latter never materialized for AAB. Competitive baseball was lost to countless thousands of fans throughout the South and Midwest, profitable businesses were lost to African American and White AAB team owners, and hundreds of African American players were denied a “big league†livelihood as the result of integration. The general perception is that integration was a positive thing but costly to many.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Fort & Joel Maxcy, 2001. "The Demise of African American Baseball Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(1), pages 35-49, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:2:y:2001:i:1:p:35-49
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    Cited by:

    1. Pelnar, Gregory, 2007. "Antitrust Analysis of Sports Leagues," MPRA Paper 5382, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Christopher Coyne & Justin Isaacs & Jeremy Schwartz, 2010. "Entrepreneurship and the taste for discrimination," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 609-627, August.

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