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When Segregation Doomed Baseball In Washington
[FINAL Edition 1]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Professional baseball; Black history
Author: Snyder, Brad
Date: Feb 16, 2003
Start Page: D.03
Section: SPORTS

During the late 1930s, however, the Senators' place in the American League standings and their relationship with the city's black fans began to sour. Change was in the air as black sportswriters led by Sam Lacy campaigned to integrate Major League Baseball. In December 1937, Lacy landed a groundbreaking interview on the subject with Senators owner Clark Griffith. "The time is not far off," Griffith predicted in Lacy's column in the Washington Tribune, "when colored players will take their places beside those of other races in the major leagues. However, I am not so sure that time has arrived yet."

It also may have cost the Senators their black fans. An outspoken opponent of Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Griffith refused to integrate his team for seven years after Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians later that season, and [Satchel Paige] joined Doby on the Indians in 1948. Paige and Doby regularly appeared at Griffith Stadium before capacity crowds.

Griffith, however, did not officially integrate his team until he promoted a 26-year-old Cuban-born outfielder named Carlos Paula in September 1954. Nobody seemed to care. Blacks had long ago stopped going to Senators' games. When Griffith died in 1955, a Washington Afro-American editorial stated: "Clark Griffith's contributions to baseball were accompanied by no desire to include us in it."

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