Cover image for Shut out : a story of race and baseball in Boston
Shut out : a story of race and baseball in Boston
Bryant, Howard, 1968-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, 2002.
Physical Description:
x, 278 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV875.B62 B79 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Shut Outis the compelling story of Boston's racial divide viewed through the lens of one of the city's greatest institutions - its baseball team, and told from the perspective of Boston native and noted sports writer Howard Bryant. This well written and poignant work contains striking interviews in which blacks who played for the Red Sox speak for the first time about their experiences in Boston, as well as groundbreaking chapter that details Jackie Robinson's ill-fated tryout with the Boston Red Sox and the humiliation that followed.

Author Notes

Howard Bryantis a journalist covering the New York Yankees for the Bergen Record. He previously covered the Oakland A's for the San Jose Mercury Newsand was an editorial writer and technology columnist for the OaklandTribune. He grew up in Boston during the busing crisis of the 1970s and has written extensively on race and baseball. His pieces have appeared in the books ThinkingBlack, The Red Sox Century, and the forthcoming YankeeCentury. He lives in New York City.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Boston has always been a city sharply divided along ethnic lines, and for years the resulting turmoil was reflected in its baseball team. The Red Sox were the last team in major-league baseball to be integrated, and their refusal to sign black athletes was a major factor in the team's postwar mediocrity. But even as black players joined the Red Sox, their Boston experience was often less than pleasant, especially during the 1970s, when the city was embroiled in a bitter busing battle. Bryant, who has written extensively on baseball and race, tracks the progress of the Red Sox organization through extensive interviews with players and others team employees. He concludes that, though the team has made progress--race relations within the organization are probably on a par with most other major-league teams today--there are still black players, including Ellis Burks, who played in Boston in the 1990s, who believe that the community remains distinctly inhospitable to players of color. A carefully researched contribution to the social history of baseball. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Boston Red Sox' inability to win the World Series is one of the most familiar oddities in sport; the club's peculiar relationship with race is not quite so well known. Bryant, who's covered the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees for daily newspapers, brings excellent journalistic instincts and baseball smarts to the table. And he's a Boston native to boot, meaning he's properly versed about the city that former Celtic hero Bill Russell once called "a flea market of racism." Bryant examines looks at Jackie Robinson's doomed Fenway tryout in 1945 and at Pumpsie Green, who eventually became the Red Sox' first black player, a full dozen years after Robinson broke the color barrier. An unspectacular player, Green was befriended on the field by Ted Williams and by Russell off, as both tried to shield him from the pervasive vitriol. Bryant visits the modern era as well, reporting that the Sox did not sign a black free agent until 1993, and detailing slugger Mo Vaughn's mercurial stint in Boston. An MVP in 1995, the New England-reared Vaughn embraced his role in the race debate, even wearing Robinson's old number. Bryant illustrates both the ballplayer's dedication to community service and his repeated run-ins with the law, and wonders if Vaughn was run out of town by the press and team management. Throughout the book, Bryant looks at both sides of the race issue, and backs his conclusions with exhaustive research from a variety of sources. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This important study by sportswriter Bryant examines the race relations of one of baseball's most storied teams, the Boston Red Sox, from the early 1930s to the present. During most of that period, the Red Sox were owned by the Yawkee family, taken to task here for their insensitivity regarding race or outright racism. So, too, is Boston, notwithstanding its reputation as "a cradle of liberty." Bryant relays the seldom-told story of Jackie Robinson's April 1945 tryout with the team, which resulted in someone (possibly owner Tom Yawkee) booming out a racial epithet. Having passed on Robinson, the Red Sox did the same with Willie Mays. The franchise was the last to include an African American player on its roster, utility infielder Pumpsie Green. Unlike Green, outfielder Reggie Smith challenged racial norms while with Boston and paid the price. The team's, and Boston's, relationship with other black stars, including Jim Rice and Ellis Burks, was also troubled. Even Luis Tiant, the heart and soul of the mid-1970s Red Sox, was hardly treated better by the team in contractual negotiations. Only recently have black players (such as Pedro Martinez) felt more welcomed. For general libraries.-R.C. Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.