This is a story that dates back to August 22, 1934, when the American Legion Post 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts was in Gastonia, North Carolina and was scheduled to play in the Eastern Sectional Tournament. Prior to that game, the young men learned that one of their teammates, a black player, was barred from playing. In addition, there were other ugly circumstances that made their stay very hazardous.
The team elected to withdraw from the event - thus passing up of competing for a national championship. Their decision was final and there was no need to discuss the matter further.
This decision, this act of courage, honor and valor was many years before the Major Leagues did away with the “color” barrier. This decision, this act of courage, honor and valor rested entirely on the shoulders of young men that were (are) light years ahead of the adult world - at that time.
When the young men returned to Springfield, so taken back were the members of this American Legion Post 21, that they withdrew from Legion competition all together.
But, as of 2010, this legacy lives. Again, young men will suit up, lace up their spikes, take the name sake of this game onto to the field - a field that belongs to those of Courage, Honor and Valor. After so many years away from the game - they’re returning.
American Legion Post 21, Springfield, Massachusetts - a club of my home town, welcome back.
You couldn’t have timed your arrival any better.
Pitching Coach John Baker
Very proud to call Springfield, Massachusetts my home town.