MLB History: Georgia Prohibits Integrated Baseball
Jackie Robinson may have integrated the MLB, but not everyone considered that a positive. On this day in 1957, the Georgia Senate voted to prohibit integrated baseball within the state.
The game of baseball, and the world as a whole, had changed a lot in the previous decade. Shortly after the end of the second World War, segregation within the MLB no longer made sense. Jackie Robinson became the first player to integrate the game, and after his success, the floodgates opened. By the time that the calendar turned to 1957, only three teams, the Phillies, Tigers, and Red Sox, had yet to integrate.
Meanwhile, in the South, the fight to end segregation continued to rage onward. While leaders like Martin Luther King Jr tried to integrate society, the southern states refused to give in. In fact, on this day in 1957, the Senate in the state of Georgia voted unanimously to prohibit integrated baseball anywhere in the state, excluding at religious gatherings.
At the time, the ban did not really affect any MLB teams. The Braves were still approximately a decade from leaving Milwaukee, so there was not any Major League action in the state. However, there were quite a few minor league teams that would be affected by the ban.
More from Call to the Pen
It was not just Georgia that refused to integrate. The old Southern Association, one of the most storied minor leagues, disbanded due to sinking attendance in the face of their stubbornness and refusal to accept black players. This law was one of the last gasps of the old guard refusing to recognize that the times had changed.
Fortunately, that law would be done away with by the time that the Braves came to town. With Hank Aaron having developed into a true star, and eventually chasing down Babe Ruth‘s career home run record, Atlanta would have missed out on his storied exploits. And, how would that have worked when other MLB teams came to the state?
Georgia tried to ban integrated baseball on this day in 1957. Fortunately, that decision did not impact the Braves when they came to town a few years later.