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Review of "1934"

Having never heard of this team, I was curious when I read the synopsis before requesting a review copy.  This group of Canadian Black ballplayers deserve to have their story told and I am glad not only that I read this, but that there is an author who felt the same way and told the story of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars. 


“1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Record Breaking Year” by Heidi LM Jacobs


4 of 5 stars (very good)

Review: While many people know that when Black players were not allowed to play in the American Major Leagues and there were the Negro Leagues, very few are also familiar with teams of Canadian Black players.  While the Canadian teams may not have had their own separate league, nonetheless they played competitive baseball.  For one team, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars, their 1934 season in which they won the championship in their southern Ontario league was one looked upon fondly.  Author Heidi LM Jacobs tells the little-known story of this team, their stories and their connections to baseball history.

Like in the United States, the records for Black Canadian teams were not well organized and therefore it takes a lot of work to get the records and statistics.  For that reason, Jacobs relies on newspaper clippings and hundreds of interviews with family members of the team.  For that reason, there is a lot of anecdotal history of the All-Stars but not a lot of hard factual data.  With so many interviews and so many different names, the book can be a challenge to follow as, understandably, the dialogue shifts between different people.  Jacobs does a decent job of trying to keep the book organized and breaking up chapters by the months of the 1934 season was a key part of this. 

Even more than the history, the heartbreaking stories of the discrimination and racism the players faced and the excellent play on the field (all of which are similar experiences to those of their American brethren) the unexpected nuggets of interesting information were fascinating and what made this book enjoyable.  The one example I will give is the brief mention of one particular player who only appeared in a few games for the 1934 All-Stars, yet is probably the most recognizable name – Ferguson Jenkins Sr.  His son is the Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins Jr. It was very touching when Jacobs wrote about the tribute the junior Jenkins gave to his father during his Hall of Fame induction speech.

If a reader enjoys books about baseball’s Negro Leagues, then that person should pick up a copy of this book as well.  The stories are similar, just the nations are different, and the baseball played by this special team is just as good.

I wish to thank Bibiloasis for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Link: Amazon.com: 1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Barrier-Breaking Year: 9781771964777: Jacobs, Heidi LM: Books

source http://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/2023/07/review-of-1934.html


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