Rep. Ramos Honors First African American Baseball Player
Bill to establish "Moses Fleetwood Walker Day" passes Ohio House
March 09, 2017
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State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today applauded the recent passage of House Bill 59, legislation to honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, the nation’s first professional African American baseball player. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ramos, designates Walker’s birthday of October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio.

“Walker overcame prejudice and discrimination to break into professional baseball nearly a century before civil rights and only a few short decades after the end of slavery,” said Ramos. “His legacy is a lesson about judging people by their abilities, not their outward appearance. I hope this legislation will help current and future generations of Ohioans to remain mindful of this important lesson.”

Walker, an Ohio native, attended Oberlin College in 1877 and played on the school’s first varsity baseball team and was its first African-American player. His skill as a catcher and batter led to Walker being signed by the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883, where he would begin his professional baseball career.

Walker’s career in baseball was cut short when both the American Association and the National League unofficially banned African-American players in 1889. It would not be until 1946 when the color barrier was finally broken by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson.

“I am particularly proud that in honoring Walker, we also in a small way remind Ohio and the world of Oberlin’s legacy of inclusion,” Ramos added. “This bill gives an extraordinary Ohioan a rightful, but long overdue, place in our shared history.”

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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