Cover image for The Indianapolis ABCs : history of a premier team in the Negro leagues
The Indianapolis ABCs : history of a premier team in the Negro leagues
Debono, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [1997]

Physical Description:
viii, 231 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV875.I43 D43 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Indianapolis ABCs were formed around the turn of the century, playing company teams from around the city; they soon played other teams in Indiana, including some white teams. Their emergence coincided with the remarkable growth of black baseball, and by 1916 the ABCs won their first major championship.When the Negro National League was formed in 1920, Indianapolis was one of its charter members. But player raids by the Eastern Colored League, formed in 1923, hurt the ABCs and by the Depression the team was fading into oblivion. The team was briefly resurrected as a Negro league team in the late 1930s, but was otherwise relegated to the semiprofessional ranks until its demise in the 1940s. Through contemporary newspaper accounts, extensive research and interviews with the few former ABC players still living, this is the story of the Indianapolis team and the rise of Negro League baseball. The work includes a roster of ABC players, with short biographies of the most prominent.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

If one grants that primary sources for early black baseball are relatively scarce, this reviewer fails to understand why Debono, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research's Negro Leagues committee, ignored some of those that should have been available to him. He identified Norman Beplay as the dean of Indianapolis oral historians, but cited him no further (he claims an interview not cited in the bibliography). The first three chapters were quite well done, but from that point on this reviewer became frustrated with the lack of narrative style, with a series of apparently unrelated facts and undeveloped arguments, and with a serious inattention to editing (e.g., misspellings, inaccurate footnotes, contradictions, grammatical flaws). Debono argued, for example, that the "black press ... guided all [italics added] of American society to a new day." That sentence ended a chapter. No effort was made to demonstrate the basis for such a far-reaching claim. Nearly half the pages are devoted to three appendixes--player biographies, ABC statistics, and ABC game scores, valuable contributions to a small segment of the still-uncharted waters of Negro league baseball. W. F. Gustafson; emeritus, San Jose State University