The ‘1955 Baseball Story’ About Little League Desegregation

By Sameer Rao Jul 17, 2018

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2018 All-Star Game, which takes place in Washington D.C. tonight (July 17), anchors a whole week of programming dedicated to the history and culture of America’s favorite pasttime. As The Undefeated reported yesterday (July 16), one event brought several former players together to discuss their shared role in a little-known piece of sports history: the first time that a Black Little League team played a White one in the South. 

“It’s still hard to believe,” Pensacola Jaycees shortstop Willie Robinson told The Undefeated before a screening of "Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story," a documentary about his all-Black team’s game against the all-White Orlando Kiwanis. "We were just glad because back in ’55, it was unheard of, playing a White team.”

The documentary draws from interviews with Robinson and other members of the Jaycees and Kiwanis, who detail the road leading up to and after the game. The film chronicles numerous hurdles, including the Little League district commissioner who tried to disqualify the Jaycees, and a Kiwanis coach who resigned in protest. It also shows how players on both teams reconnected after years apart, reliving the day they made history.

Watch the trailer for "Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story":