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A Pastime of Their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball

Witness the triumphant story of Black baseball—a reflection of segregation and integration in American history.
A Pastime of Their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 9.
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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Rather disappointing I had high hopes for this course but was somewhat disappointed. It had plenty of good information but just never took off for me. It came across more as a well-researched master's thesis than an exciting lecture series. I guess I was spoiled by Ken Burns 's Baseball. Still, it has a lot to offer.
Date published: 2024-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I enjoyed Professor Moore's deep knowledge of Negro League Baseball. I have only one quibble with his presentation. He named Raleigh "Biz" Mackey, a terrific catcher for sure, as the best at his position in Negro League Baseball. I would maintain that Josh Gibson was Mackey's equal, or superior at that position. Gibson's offensive superiority would have trumped Mackey's defensive superiority. Clearly, worth the watch.
Date published: 2023-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exceptionally well researched; you will learn... Overall I rate this very highly. I was especially impressed with the depth of the excellent research about Negro Leagues baseball in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Biographies of individual players are also very well presented. My only small criticism is in regard to Professor Moore's presentation. He tends to speak a bit too fast and has a tendency to "swallow" his words at the end of sentences, sometimes making it difficult to understand him. Otherwise, this is an excellent series. I consider myself a good baseball fan and a fan of baseball history, but I learned a LOT from this series. I recommend it.
Date published: 2023-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A light shone upon an era of baseball. My knowledge of baseball history is meager and I knew even less about the baseball players who fell on the other side of the color barrier before integration. The Story of Negro League Baseball was an excellent deep dive illuminating the history of black ball. All the glories and warts were illuminated. A very captivating lecture series that not only teaches much about the other side of the color barrier but fosters greater enthusiasm for America's longtime national pastime.
Date published: 2023-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than just a History lesson Truly a Great Course that combines history with sports. Well presented. The previous reviews are accurate and well-written. You don't need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this course, but being one definitely makes it more exciting! Thank you.
Date published: 2023-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Detailed Background and Set in Context Very Well Professor Moore has an easygoing delivery that contains a great deal of valuable information. Especially interesting was the information about team owners and the rival leagues. Much of the background information has been lost, and there are sketchy records. I grew up around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and while I knew something about the Crawfords and Homestead Greys, I did not know how important Philadelphia was in this history. Younger viewers likely will not know how dominant baseball was as a sport. Other professional leagues integrated quickly as a result of baseball's experience (The NHL presents a different case due to demography and climate). A few more illustrations would have made the series easier to enjoy. But I do not regret watching it at all!
Date published: 2023-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comments from a learner Absolutely a fun lecture series. As far as I know, teaching about black baseball is something not taught about well enough, for that reason I recommend this lecture series.
Date published: 2023-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Provided Profound Insights into Sports History Thoroughly researched. Well illustrated. Outstanding presentation. Each lecture brought new insights. Professor Moore conveys the spirit of the players during the good times and the bad. Old film of practice, games and player interviews would have made it even better
Date published: 2023-02-22
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A Pastime of Their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball is your chance to delve into this fascinating history. Taught by Professor Louis Moore of Grand Valley State University, these 12 scintillating lectures take you onto the field and into the smoky back rooms of the business world as Black athletes and entrepreneurs created a thriving world of Black American baseball teams and leagues.


Louis Moore

From the days of emancipation onward, Black baseball players used the game to give meaning to their freedom and status as men in America.


Grand Valley State University

Louis Moore is a Professor of History at Grand Valley State University. He earned his PhD in History from the University of California, Davis. He is the author of We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete, and the Quest for Equality and I Fight for a Living: Boxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880–1915. He has also written for the Daily News, Vox, The Global Sport Institute, First and Pen, and the African American Intellectual Historical Society. He has discussed sports and race on NPR, MSNBC, and BBC Sport, and he cohosts the podcast The Black Athlete.

By This Professor

A Pastime of Their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball
A Pastime of Their Own: The Story of Negro League Baseball


Emancipation and the American Pastime

01: Emancipation and the American Pastime

Play ball! The recorded history of Black American baseball goes back to the 1850s, when the competition between two teams in New York was recorded in an African American newspaper. Trace the explosion of the game after the Civil War, from informal Juneteenth celebrations to professional teams.

33 min
Drawing the Color Line

02: Drawing the Color Line

The story of Black baseball mirrors the story of America. While segregation is a dominant theme through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, baseball originally was an integrated sport during Reconstruction. Learn about the infamous “gentleman’s agreement” that kept Black ball players out of professional leagues.

31 min
Black Ball Goes Pro

03: Black Ball Goes Pro

As segregation took hold in the professional leagues, explore the world Black baseball players had to navigate in the late 19th century. Meet some of the best players, the burgeoning teams such as the Cuban Giants, and witness the early efforts of Bud Fowler and others to establish a professional Black sport.

28 min
Rube Foster: A Baseball Lifer

04: Rube Foster: A Baseball Lifer

The history of Black baseball owes much to Andrew “Rube” Foster, a Hall of Fame pitcher, manager, and owner who was the sport’s first true superstar. See his athletic on the field, including his fondness for “small ball,” and then turn to his Chicago business ventures. This pioneering figure set the stage for new developments in the sport.

29 min
The Negro National League

05: The Negro National League

Continue your study of Rube Foster as he creates the first Black baseball league. As you will discover, team owners faced a number of financial and logistical challenges, so in 1920 a group of seven sat down at a Kansas City YMCA and organized the Negro National League. Despite ballpark challenges, the league’s first year was a financial success.

28 min
The Eastern Colored League

06: The Eastern Colored League

The Negro National League may have been a success, but longstanding rivalries meant it would not be the only league in the sport for long. In this lecture, meet Ed Bolden, whose vision of Black baseball rivaled Rube Foster’s—and led to the creation of the Eastern Colored League in Philadelphia.

28 min
The Troubled Twenties

07: The Troubled Twenties

In 1924, the two leagues held the first Black World Series between the Kansas City Monarchs and the Hilldale Daisies. From this pinnacle moment, both leagues experienced a gradual decline in the 1920s. Delve into the highs and lows of Black baseball leading up to the Great Depression.

30 min
Making a Way out of No Way

08: Making a Way out of No Way

The Great Depression nearly destroyed Black baseball, but in this lecture you will discover a story of triumph over tragedy. Meet Pittsburgh rivals Cumberland Posey and Gus Greenlee who built a league that could endures. Then shift your attention to a pair of all-star players: Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.

31 min
The East-West Classic

09: The East-West Classic

From 1933 to 1953, the East-West Classic was the crown jewel of Black baseball, drawing more than 50,000 fans at its peak. Here, survey some of the highlights of this all-star game and meet some of the major players of the era—including fan favorite Oscar Charleston, manager and first baseman for the Crawfords.

30 min
Surviving the Great Depression

10: Surviving the Great Depression

Return to the Great Depression to get a more complete picture of what was happening with Black baseball. Examine the lives of Gus Greenlee, Effa Manley, Satchel Paige, and others who influenced the sport and helped Black baseball endure the country’s lowest economic era.

34 min
The Negro American League

11: The Negro American League

The Negro American League was a success, particularly in the Midwest and then in the South. However, rivals in Philadelphia and New York saw an opportunity to build a new organization in the mid-1930s, which added teams and increased opportunity for Black baseball—even as the white Major League Baseball organization prepared to integrate.

30 min
Integration and the Negro Leagues

12: Integration and the Negro Leagues

Integration was inevitable, and America’s entry into World War II helped highlight the color line in America’s pastime. In this final lecture, see how Jackie Robinson and then Larry Doby changed the sport by joining the Major League. The history of segregated Black baseball had ended.

38 min