Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Review: The Mandak League: Haven for former Negro League ballplayers 1950-1957

Mandak League: Haven for Former Negro League Ballplayers, 1950-1957
Barry Swanton -
McFarland Publishing, 2006.
222 pp.

In the early 1950's, with the demise of the Negro Leagues and the availability of better racial conditions, playing baseball in Canada became an increasingly viable option for younger and aging black baseball players. SABR member Barry Swanton chronicles the history of the ManDak League, which opened its doors to many fine talents including Hall of Famers Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Satchel Paige and Willie Wells.

This work serves as a great reference for the fan that wants to know more about the history of the league and the players involved. Each season is chronicled with details on statistics, pennant races, stadiums, and franchises. The second half of the book is devoted to profiling all of the players of the ManDak League, with special attention given to the former Negro League players.

While the book itself lacks any particularly enthralling tales, it has its place as an excellent resource to connect the dots of the Negro League players that traveled north to continue their careers in relative obscurity.


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