Dr. Bob Allen presented “The Souls of Black Baseball: Barnstorming the Keystone State,” an oral history of black baseball in Pennsylvania, on Monday night at the Penn State All-Sports Museum.
"Sports played an incredible role in integrating this country," Allen, freelance writer and researcher, said.
Allen showed a video of several baseball players, including the late Stanley Glenn and Bill "Ready" Cash, both of the Philadelphia Stars, sharing their experiences in Negro League Baseball.
Cash recalled a 28-day bus trip the Philadelphia Stars took in late 1940 from Philadelphia to Tyler, Texas, playing games all along the way. The trip was filled with blown out bus motors, speeding tickets, 100 degree weather and very little sleep. When players arrived in Texas they weren't allowed to use the locker rooms and once they finally got on the field they were greeted with racist slurs during warm-ups.
Cash added that a game in Birmingham, Ala., during the trip ended in a loss when 16 year-old unknown Willie Mays shocked the Stars with his unexpected talent at such a young age.
Allen spent 10 years traveling throughout the northeast attempting to interview every surviving player from the Negro League in order to promote and preserve the stories and history of Negro League Baseball.
Allen said the players he sat down with were competitive baseball players, but first and foremost, they were gentlemen.
During the video, players described the differences they saw in the Negro League.
Glenn said that Negro League was completely different because players needed to be able to do it all.
"They learned how to bunt, they learned how to run, and could score runs with no base hits or one base hit," Glenn said.
Allen said he hopes to bring this important part of history to light in order to memorialize who these players were and "to better understand who we might be."