Date of Award
Master of Arts
Neal Pease, Joe Austin, Joseph Rodriguez
African American, Baseball, Black, Midwest, Milwaukee, Negro League
While historians have learned a great deal about the Black professional baseball played during organized baseball’s Jim Crow era, there are many teams whose stories are yet to be told. Two of these teams, the McCoy-Nolan Giants and Milwaukee Bears, played their home games in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the 1920s. By exploring the untold histories of the McCoy-Nolan Giants and Milwaukee Bears, much can be learned about overarching themes in early-twentieth century Black professional baseball. By analyzing newspaper coverage of the McCoy-Nolan Giants, an independent barnstorming team without Negro League affiliation, important truths about the experience of Black baseball on the road come to light. Similarly, examining newspaper coverage of the 1923 Milwaukee Bears, a short-lived franchise in the Negro National League, highlights many of the league’s shortcomings, including franchise instability, scheduling inequities, the absence of Black ballpark ownership, and a general lack of cooperation between team owners. This analysis of the reasons behind the Bears’ failure to finish a full season in Milwaukee also sheds light on themes in the development of Black Milwaukee in that the city’s relatively small and working class Black population made Milwaukee a difficult market in which to attract fans.
Bartelt, Ken Jon-Edward, "Brew City Black Ball: Milwaukee as Microcosm of the Early-Twentieth Century Black Baseball Experience" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 2454.