Black History Month: Bob Trice

Imagine yourself back in 1953 in Philadelphia. You are on the mound for your major league debut, and you walk out to a thunderous boo. You begin your warm ups, and the booing continues. The game wears on, and nothing changes. You look at the opposing pitcher, Don Larsen of the St. Louis Browns, and he is dealing out there, making your teammates work for every run. The game finishes, and the booing just will not wear down. You walk out of Connie Mack Stadium, and the people just will not stop annoying you with booing and threatening words. However, you continue on your path to the hotel room and realize that you set the standard for integration for the Athletics organization. This is the day that Bob Trice made history, on September 13, 1953.

Bob Trice broke the color barrier for the Philadelphia Athletics at Connie Mack Stadium, and set the precedent for future Athletics teams, which would later move to Kansas City. His impact on the organization was more than just a sideshow attraction. He made it possible for not only African-American players like Jarrod Dyson and Derrick Robinson, but for Latino players like Joakim Soria, Jonathan Sanchez, and Salvador Perez on the current 40-man roster. His numbers were not outstanding, and his minor league success did not carry over into the Major Leagues. He was a combined 9-9 with an ERA around 6.70 in his three seasons in Philadelphia and Kansas City. He also had 28 strikeouts and 60 walks in 152 innings pitched.

Trice will never be remembered in the same way as the greats, like Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, or Roberto Clemente for running into a lot of prejudice and playing exceptionally well, but the people of Philadelphia will always remember the day he stepped on the mound and showed his skills against Don Larson. The stadium at the intersection of Lehigh Avenue and North 21st Street was filled to see how Trice would perform for a struggling A’s team, and even though he did not earn the victory, he set the bar relatively high with his first start. He threw eight innings, letting up five earned runs, no walks, and two strikeouts.

As we watch Royals baseball this spring, we will see a newly transformed team, with all sorts of different players from different parts of the world. From Mike Moustakos to Jarrod Dyson, Bruce Chen to Jonathan Sanchez, we see many different colors and ethnicities, and we should be thankful to the man that helped them be a part of the team. Thank you Bob Trice, for helping to make Baseball the game it is today.

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