Louis Sockalexis Native American Baseball Pioneer

8:54 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Chances are if you ask anyone who the first African American baseball player was to play in the major league and break the color barrier, they'd say Jackie Robinson. However if you asked that same person who the first Native American baseball player was to play in the major league, they probably would have a blank stare.

Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer
, is a warm picture book tribute to a historic sports star.

Growing up, Sockalexis faced difficult times. Native Americans did not have the same rights as white Americans and were forced to live on reservations. He often worked alongside his father, but dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player. In the spring of 1897, Louis packed his suitcase and boarded a train to Cleveland after being offered a role in the majors. But just like Robinson, life in the major leagues was difficult. Just as Robinson would trot on the field to calls and boos, Sockalexis trotted to the field amongst Indian war cries.

Louis knew he was not only playing for himself, but all of his Penobscot people. When he smacked a homer against the Giants in 1897, Louis had won the fans' respect.

An afterword goes on to explain that Louis was one of the most versatile players in baseball. Being the first Native American to play in the major leagues, Louis paved the way for other Native American and minority players. The story of Louis Sockalexis is one of dignity and grace --a man who fought back to show that it doesn't matter if you're black, white, hispanic or Native American, the love of baseball stretches far beyond race.

Additional Information:
Author: Bill Wise
Illustrator: Bill Farnsworth
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600604285
ISBN-13: 978-1600604287
Source of book: Publisher

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