Cover image for Catching dreams : my life in the Negro baseball leagues
Catching dreams : my life in the Negro baseball leagues
Robinson, Frazier, 1910-1997.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 230 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV865.R596 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Told simply, this is an honest and entertaining view of the black baseball diamond through the catcher's mask. It is Robinson's first-hand account of his 25 year career in Negro League baseball, offering a rare and personal perspective of the men, teams and time that shaped this unique American subculture.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Two lesser-known but fascinating chapters in the history of African Americans in baseball. Adelson, a commentator for National Public Radio, examines the integration of the Deep South in the context of minor-league baseball. Though Jackie Robinson had been playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers since 1947, the early to middle 1950s were a very difficult time for black minor leaguers in the South. Adelson conducted interviews with dozens of players, coaches, and managers, and the common themes are second-rate treatment, threatening fans, sometimes-hostile teammates, and nonsupportive management. But through it all, the players felt they were not only pursuing their own major-league dreams but also making a dent in the institutional racism that ruled the area. As Henry Aaron put it, they thought they were doing something important. And it worked: slowly the restaurants and hotels accepted them, and the racial invectives from the stands diminished. This is an important book that shows social ills alleviated by courageous individuals making small, often lonely sacrifices to no public acclaim. There are those whose life stories are dominated by "woulda," "shoulda," and "coulda." And there are others who accept life's twists and turns with grace. Frazier "Slow" Robinson was among the latter. A journeyman catcher during the heyday of the Negro baseball leagues, Robinson just wanted to play ball. The white major leagues would have offered more money and more fame, but with that venue closed by racism, he made the most of what was available. Sports and the church dominated Robinson's youth. After playing semipro baseball as an adolescent, he hooked up with a series of Negro-league teams. Most famous among his teammates was Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, who also became a lifelong friend. Robinson recounts his playing days fondly. Perhaps hindsight is rose-colored, but he minimizes the tough times to accentuate the camaraderie and the simple joy of being paid to play baseball. The racism that kept him from the major leagues and the bigots who scorned him couldn't diminish his appetite for life. This is an illuminating glimpse into a world limited by racism but defined by individual dignity. --Wes Lukowsky

Choice Review

Frazier "Slow" Robinson's memoir about the great players of the Negro Leagues provides a candid, sympathetic, personal perspective on how these men lived, laughed, loved, played, and struggled when America's favorite pastime mirrored its racial divide. Told in Robinson's voice, this book makes readers feel his living presence, his humanity, his affection and respect for baseball and all those who play it--black and white. A journeyman catcher for some of black baseball's greatest pitchers (including Satchel Paige), Robinson sees baseball entirely through the catcher's mask and knows the game from home (pun intended). He focuses on black baseball in the Midwest, Satchel Paige's all-stars, Kansas's and Baltimore's black teams, and his own final playing days in Canada. He names his all-time black all-stars and opines on how Baseball's Hall of Fame (the one in Cooperstown--not the one in Kansas City) dealt with black baseball players prior to the period when another Robinson changed the game from white alone to black and white. Thirty photographs (some rare) grace this story; there is also a helpful, detailed index, a brief foreword by the legendary John "Duck" O'Neil, and an insightful introduction by Gerald Early. Strongly recommended for collections holding autobiographies--particularly of sports figures--and baseball generally. All levels. C. B. Darrell Kentucky Wesleyan College

Table of Contents

About the Authorp. vi
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction Freedom and Fate, Baseball and Racep. xv
1 Back Where It All Beganp. 1
2 Satchel Paige's All-Starsp. 21
3 The Kansas City Monarchsp. 51
4 From Kansas City to Baltimore and Back Againp. 77
5 Warp. 98
6 The Color Line Fallsp. 103
7 A Ballplayer's Lifep. 128
8 Canadap. 165
9 Too Old to Play, Too Young to Retirep. 185
10 The Hall of Famep. 209
Indexp. 215