The Business of Black Baseball

Rebecca T. Alpert

in Out of Left Field

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780195399004
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897360 | DOI:
The Business of Black Baseball

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This chapter tells the story of the Jewish entrepreneurs who made up the majority of white men who owned and promoted black baseball teams beginning in the Great Depression. The Negro Leagues used booking agents to schedule games and rent or lease ballparks, and Jewish entrepreneurs who had experience as middlemen gravitated to this work, following the path of other immigrant groups before them. Black team owners mostly welcomed Jewish business expertise, though they were also concerned by the competition these men offered. Also during this era William Plummer organized a team of black Jews, the Belleville Grays, that represented his religious community in Virginia, Temple Beth-El. Plummer's successor, his son Howard Zebulon, turned the Grays into the premier team in Virginia in the late 1930s, sending their best players to long careers in the Negro Leagues.

Keywords: Great Depression; Temple Beth-El; Negro Leagues; booking agents; immigrants; middlemen; ballparks; Virginia

Chapter.  17149 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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