Kansas author, historian shares untold stories of Black ballplayers
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Kansas author visited Wichita on Wednesday to share what he calls the untold stories of Black baseball players.
Phil Dixon has met many of the now-forgotten players from the Negro Leagues. He learned lessons from those players by way of stories about what it was like playing baseball and enduring the racial tension of their time.
“Trying to get a comprehensive history about what was achieved in America by African Americans is part of the baseball story,” Dixon said.
At the Museum of World Treasures in Old Town on Wednesday, Dixon recounted many of the stories from players whose names you might not have heard.
“When you look at baseball, you may not know this history,” Dixon said. “So I try to keep it alive and the memory of a lot of people alive.”
Dixon said his love for the game started young, back when he played baseball in the 1970s. That’s when he started to meet some of his heroes. He found that what they were telling him was not in the baseball history books.
“When I came along in 1980, after following baseball for so many years, I realized that their stories weren’t being told,” Dixon said.
When he first started writing, he also made baseball cards for some of those players. Dixon has written nine books and is working on No. 10.
In the audience Wednesday was Jerald McCoy, whose sister found a photo of the Wichita Monrovians, a Black baseball team who played about a century ago, and gifted it to McCoy. Now it’s one of his most prized possessions.
“I brought it with me today hoping that Mr. Dixon can enlighten me and tell me about some of the players on the team.”
Now the Negro Leagues museum in Kansas City is raising $25 million to build a brand new facility -- bigger and better so the contributions of Black baseball players in the game’s history don’t fade away.
“There are so many great stories within that story,” Dixon said. “That’s the story I’m so happy to tell.”
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