Barnstorming to Heaven

Barnstorming to Heaven

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A rare insidera€™s perspective on baseballa€™s great barnstorming age. The Indianapolis Clowns were a black touring baseball team that featured an entertaining mix of comedy, showmanship, and skill. Sometimes referred to as the Harlem Globetrotters of baseballa€”though many of the Globetrottersa€™ routines were borrowed directly from the Clownsa€”they captured the affection of Americans of all ethnicities and classes. Alan Pollocka€™s father, Syd, owned the Clowns, as well as a series of black barnstorming teams that crisscrossed the country from the late 1920s until the mid-1960s. They played every venue imaginable, from little league fields to Yankee Stadium, and toured the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, the Canadian Rockies, the Dakotas, the Southwest, the Far Westa€”anywhere there was a crowd willing to shell out a few dollars for an unforgettable evening. Alan grew up around the team and describes in vivid detail the comedy routines of Richard a€œKing Tuta€ King, a€œSpec Beboba€ Bell, Reece a€œGoosea€ Tatum; the a€œwarpainta€ and outlandish costumes worn by players in the early days; and the crowd-pleasing displays of amazing skill known as pepperball and shadowball. These men were entertainers, but they were also among the most gifted athletes of their day, making a living in sports the only way a black man could. They played to win. More than just a baseball story, these recollections tell the story of great societal changes in America from the roaring twenties, through the years of the Great Depression and World War II, and into the Civil Rights era.After the Clownsa#39; 5-4 win over the Lafayette Columbians in Lafayette, Indiana, on the 25th and a hook slide across a marble lobby, Bobo ... aquot;Tell you, Roomie, aquot; he said, aquot;either Ia#39;m loosing my touch with age, or therea#39;s a perspective problem here caused by that overhang we got ... Could be a drought here, same as St. Joe.

Title:Barnstorming to Heaven
Author:Alan J. Pollock
Publisher:University Alabama Press - 2006-02-01


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