John Wesley Donaldson is not a name most baseball fans bring easily to mind. Yet his century old, towering contributions to the National Pastime are beginning to be recognized and his legacy is being restored. After two-decades of searching historical documents The Donaldson Network announces the inclusion of John Donaldson to the Early Game ballot by The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Donaldson is included along with other Negro League standouts for baseball’s highest honor.
The color line forced John Donaldson to play the game far away from major leagues and he is known to have played in more than 744 cities in the U.S. and Canada (See provided list) He brought interracial baseball to each and every town spreading and integrating the game in the process.
Tragically, Donaldson’s career and legacy were systematically eliminated from the consciousness of history by segregation. Today names like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams are revered whenever a discussion of our National Pastime occurs. The color barrier kept Donaldson and others from the national stage of baseball and subsequent fame at the highest levels. A ‘gentleman’s agreement’ combined with his country’s ongoing post-Civil War Reconstruction kept Donaldson alienated both in competitive baseball circles and in life. As he traveled across our country he had the distinction of being a famous and highly sought after baseball attraction but enjoyed little, if any, equality in America.
John Donaldson was a baseball giant! He is known to have 422 documented wins and 5,181 recorded strikeouts, more than any segregated pitcher in the history of baseball. His 33-year career in the game and the breaking of the color barrier for talent scouts in Major League Baseball forever changed the game. Donaldson’s role in establishing the Kansas City Monarchs franchise, his unbreakable resilience despite society actively working to minimize his contribution, make him a logical choice for the Hall of Fame.
Today we know of John Donaldson’s accomplishments both on and off the field. His baseball career is unparalleled in the history of our National Game.
Donaldson’s story is timely because of its wide-ranging impact and his recognition by The National Baseball Hall of Fame long overdue. A committee will meet in the next two weeks in preparation for the annual winter meetings in Orlando to judge his worthiness for baseball’s highest honor. The announcement will occur on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 6:00 ET
Help tell Donaldson’s story by recalling when he visited your town. Help restore an American hero whose story is the quintessential tale of baseball behind the color barrier.