In Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race, author
Larry Colton tells the story of the Southern League's 1964 Birmingham Barons, the first integrated sports team in Alabama.
Seventeen years after Jackie Robinson broke the major league's color line, the Barons competed at the height of the civil rights protests and race riots.
Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m., Colton discusses and signs copies of the book at the
Carter Presidential Library. A Cappella Books will have copies of the book for sale in the lobby. The event is free and open to the public.
traces the entire season, interweaving the tumultuous social climate
with the relationships between Johnny "Blue Moon" Odom on the pitcher's
mound, Tommie Reynolds in the outfield and Bert Campaneris, a shortstop
from Cuba. They played for Heywood Sullivan, a white former major
leaguer who grew up just down the road in Dothan.
Colton is the author of several works, including
Counting Coup, Goat Brothers, and No Ordinary Joes. He has written for
Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times Magazine.
A former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Colton himself played
in the Southern League in 1966 for a farm team in Macon, Georgia.
Praise for Southern League:
who say that sports do not, or should not, make us think about anything
beyond the field itself have always been wrong. The summer of '64 and
the stories found in
Southern League demonstrate that once again. -- Bob Costas
"Larry Colton has an extraordinary gift for capturing those times
when everyday, glitz and glamor-free American sports, is not merely a
metaphor for our culture but becomes a mechanism for cultural change.
His highest expression of that gift comes now
in Southern League in which he introduces you to players
nobody has yet built statues of, but who forced sea-changes in the
America in which you live." --Keith Olbermann
breadth of Colton's reporting here, placing the Birmingham Barons' 1964
season squarely into the context of the civil rights era, is a
narrative tour de force." --Richard