Dec 26 2010

The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues

Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues

This landmark reference volume (The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leaguesby James A. Riley is recognized as the most comprehensive work chronicling this era of baseball history.


“…a must for any serious baseball library.”——The Wall Street Journal

“…a comprehensive reference book…a valuable compilation…provides illustrations, team histories, an appendix on players, plus an exhaustive bibliography.”——-Library Journal

“…great fun to thumb through…Riley has spent much of the last 20 years researching black baseball, interviewing over 120 veterans of the Negro Leagues, combing obscure books, magazines, pamphlets and black newspapers to assemble the most complete roster of players and teams ever compiled in this field.”——-Book World

“…a marvelous job of inteviewing these men and gathering data from an amazing array of historical nooks and crannies…a true magnum opus.”——The Sporting News

“New Negro Leagues Encyclopedia is awesome”——Sports Collectors Digest

“When Jackie Robinson walked on the field in a Brooklyn Dodger uniform on opening day of the 1947 season, the exodus of black Americans from the Negro Leagues was immediate and irreversible. The defection was also destructive, and the demise of black baseball was rapid and inevitable. For almost a quarter of a century the history of the parallel world of black baseball was virtually forgotten and in danger of being lost.”

“Like most Americans, my first introduction to this segment of baseball history came from Bob Peterson’s excellent book Only the Ball Was White. But after my appetite was whetted for more information, I found that there were no other books on the subject. At first my interest and research were on a personal level, but gradually, as I realized the dearth of information available on the subject, I began to expand the perimeters of my research to encompass a goal of preserving a complete and accurate history of the Negro Leagues, with a special interest on the men who were destined to spend their careers in the shadows of relative obscurity.”

“My efforts to achieve this goal assumed a dual approach. Foremost, I considered it imperative to contact living players from the Negro Leagues to secure both personal histories and evaluations of their deceased contemporaries who had passed away without leaving an account of their own baseball memories. As I traveled across the country speaking with these men, I was encouraged by their caring and sharing attitude and by their genuine appreciation of finally being remembered for their contributions to baseball.”

“Also essential to learning more about the men who played in the sundown shadows of the Negro Leagues was utilization of archival resources for contemporary accounts of games and events from this segment of baseball history. Countless hours spent in studied analysis of microfilms of black newspapers from the era produced additional information that contributed to a more complete understanding of the special spirit of black baseball that made it truly a unique piece of Americana.”

“In rediscovery of this spirit, other publications have maintained a broader perspective and presented an overview of black baseball, or focused on sociological conditions that contributed to the existence of the Negro Leagues.”

“Individual players, with the exception of a select number of stars, have been neglected and remain unknown to the American sports world. Previously, no source existed for an interested reader to learn about these forgotten specters from the shadows of the past. In filling this void, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues stands as a landmark publication.”

Adapted from The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James A. Riley, COPYRIGHT 1994, 2002 by Carroll & Graf. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from the publisher.

About the author

The Editors