Playing the games was the easy part for teams on the road


While many baseball fans are aware of the discrimination that the Negro Leagues’ players suffered at hotels and restaurants; they usually stayed in the homes of black families and their white team mates brought food out to the bus for them, few may be aware of the grueling traveling conditions.

It was not unusual to for a team to be sent, during the regular season, on a barnstorming trip to raise extra money to keep the team solvent.  In 1937, 15 year-old catcher went on a trip that lasted 27 days [July 19-August 15]; after stops in PA., N.J., Md.,  W. Va. and Ohio, the Elite Giants drove from Cleveland to Nashville [500 miles] for a weekend double-header.

After the second game against the Black Yankees, the Elite Giants, immediately hopped back on the bus for the return trip to Ohio for games in Columbus and Cleveland and then headed straight for New York’s Yankee Stadium.  In 27 days the old bus drove the team 2,800 miles [just a few hundred short of a coast-to-coast trip.]  The young catcher was Roy Campanella

That same year, the Homestead Grays, in a 179-game season, covered 30,000 miles in a cramped bus with no air-conditioning or rest room.

[Source:  CAMPY: The Two Lives of Roy Campanella, Neil Lanctot, p. 39.]


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