Yesterday evening, I watched a documentary that explores desegregation in baseball in the years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. A Long Way From Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation takes a good look at the struggles faced by black and Latino ballplayers, which, as fans of baseball history know, continued in an intense vein for years and years following the 1947 season. A lot of times, our society has a tendency to stop with Jackie Robinson, and while Robinson’s role in the desegregation of baseball was undoubtedly important, we are doing a disservice to those who followed in his footsteps when we end the story there.
This documentary attempts to rectify this. It is full of interviews with players from those years discussing the treatment they received and the obstacles they faced, including being rejected service at restaurants, abuse from other players, teammates, and coaches, abuse from fans, and skewed reports in the newspapers. Many Latino players also faced a linguistic and cultural struggle on top of the racism. All these players knew that in order for them to make it in baseball, they had to play twice as well as their white counterparts.
The trailer for the documentary is posted below. You can access the full video here.