Cracks in the Outfield Wall

The History of Baseball Integration in the Carolinas

By Chris Holaday

280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7885-6
    Published: April 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7884-9
    Published: April 2024
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7886-3
    Published: April 2024

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The best-known story of integration in baseball is Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color line in 1947 after coming up through the minor leagues the previous year. His story, however, differs from those of the many players who integrated the game in the Jim Crow South at all professional levels. Chris Holaday offers readers the first book-length history of baseball's integration in the Carolinas, showing its slow and unsteady progress, narrating the experience of players in a range of distinct communities, detailing the influence of baseball executives at the local and major league levels, and revealing that the changing structure of the professional baseball system allowed the major leagues to control integration at the state level. Holaday illuminates many smaller stories along the way, including desegregation in Little League and American Legion baseball, the first Black players to play in the tiny foothills town of Granite Falls, North Carolina, and the pipeline of Afro-Cuban players from Havana to the Carolina leagues.

By showing how race and the national pastime intersected at the local level, Holaday offers readers new context to understand the long struggle of equality in the game.

About the Author

Chris Holaday is a writer, college teacher, and historian in Durham, North Carolina.

For more information about Chris Holaday, visit the Author Page.


"Holaday's exhaustive research and extensive reporting bring to life the compelling stories of players who endured racial taunts and societal snubs to break baseball's barriers in the Carolinas."—Art Chansky, author of Game Changers

"In the first book on baseball integration to both look beyond the majors and focus on the Carolinas, Holaday provides an in-depth account of the individuals who struggled to integrate the sport."—Leslie Heaphy, Kent State University at Stark