“Only the Ball Was White” highlights 1920s racism when a New York Giants scout observed a Cuban player for Foster’s American Giants in the Negro Leagues. While recognizing his talent, the scout hesitated over the player’s complexion, revealing the color line’s constraints on star athletes. Narrated by Paul Winfield, the film melds footage with interviews from legends like Satchel Paige, spotlighting the era’s racial biases.

Lionel Hampton shares memories from his time with the Monarchs in Kansas City. Serving as their first-base coach, he saw players’ passion and racial challenges firsthand. Believing his interracial band influenced baseball’s move toward integration, Hampton emphasizes honoring the Negro Leagues’ achievements.

Only the Ball was White | 1980 (United States) 7.5
Director: Ken SolarzWriter: Ken SolarzStars: Roy Campanella, Jimmie Crutchfield, Buck LeonardSummary: Actor, Paul Winfield narrates a program that documents a time when men were denied access to the major leagues because of their race. The program includes interviews with players such as: Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Buck Leonard, Jimmy Crutchfield, David Malarcher, Effa Manley, and Quincy Trouppe.
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