In celebration of Black History Month and the Negro League Centennial, the Baseball Reliquary, the Institute for Baseball Studies and La Pintoresca Branch Library will present a program featuring author Phil S. Dixon, who has written extensively on African American baseball history and is widely regarded for his expertise on the subject.
On Saturday at 2 p.m. at the La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave., Dixon will discuss the 1934 barnstorming tour of Dizzy and Daffy Dean. After the Deans’ triumphant 1934 season, capped off by the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series, the brothers participated in a 14-game barnstorming tour in which they competed against Negro League teams: the Kansas City Monarchs, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Philadelphia Stars, and New York Black Yankees. Dixon’s presentation examines the tour’s social implications and how the media’s biased coverage of the tour downplayed the contributions of Negro League players such as Satchel Paige, Chet Brewer, Josh Gibson, and James “Cool Papa” Bell, and perpetuated racism in American sports.
Following the discussion, Dixon will sign two of his books: “The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Barnstorming Tour: Race, Media, and America’s National Pastime” and “Wilber ‘Bullet’ Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs,” copies of which will be available for sale.
A co-founder and current board member of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, author/historian Dixon has been researching and documenting African American baseball history for more than 35 years. He has written numerous books on the subject, including “The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History,” co-authored by Patrick J. Hannigan. Dixon served as an inner-city baseball coach for over 25 years, and as an adviser to Kansas City’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) youth baseball program. He formerly worked in the public relations office of the American League Kansas City Royals. In January 2014, Dixon began a tour of 200 cities where the Kansas City Monarchs and other African American teams and players barnstormed. His goal was to spread goodwill and heal racial relationships through baseball history in the places where that history actually occurred. The tour, which visited 17 states and included an international stop in Saskatchewan, Canada, concluded in 2018. Uniquely, Dixon refused to fly to any city to honor the traveling tradition of barnstorming. Dixon currently resides in Belton, Mo., part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Attendees can also view the exhibit “Then Came Rube: The Negro Leagues Centennial,” presented by the Baseball Reliquary and Institute for Baseball Studies throughout the month of February at the La Pintoresca Branch Library. Also on display will be “Eight Ballplayers from the Negro Leagues,” artist Tina Hoggatt’s suite of linocut and letterpress portraits of African American baseball icons. Light refreshments will be served.
The program is supported, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit baseballreliquary.org; or contact the La Pintoresca Branch Library by phone at (626) 744-7268, or visit cityofpasadena.net/library.