Reviewed by Steven V. Roberts, Truthdig
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Apr 18, 2013 | The cover photo for “Color Blind” shows an integrated baseball team, five white players and six blacks. One of the whites casually rests his hand on the shoulder of a black teammate. But the “B” on their caps does not stand for Boston or even Brooklyn. They played in Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, and the photo dates to 1935, 12 years before Jackie Robinson started dismantling baseball’s racial barriers.
As told by Tom Dunkel, the story of how this team came to be—and won the national semipro championship—makes a delightful read. Baseball has deep roots in the dusty plains of the Dakotas. Gen. George Custer was based at Ft. Lincoln, just outside Bismarck, before losing a decisive road game to Sitting Bull and his Sioux All-Stars at the Little Big Horn in 1876. One of the 268 soldiers to die that day was Pvt. William Davis, third baseman for the post baseball team.