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Ozzie Virgil Integrates Tigers 50 yrs. Ago

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Good story in todays Freep about Ozzie Virgil being the first black player on the Tigers major league roster.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080617/SPORTS02/806170388/1048

It's pretty long and there are some good old photographs so I didn't cut and paste. It's definitely worth checking out.

I checked, but if RSS beat me to this, just erase the thread.

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Good article. It is sad that the Tigers were one of the last to integrate.

BTW, the third photo in the article is a rare glimpse of the Tigers' 1960 home uniforms, the ones that DID NOT feature the Olde English D.

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I never knew who had Maury Wills in camp. That's one I wish we hadn't let get away.

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I never knew who had Maury Wills in camp. That's one I wish we hadn't let get away.

Didn't need him. We had Rocky Bridges and Coot Veal. :happy:

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I thought I would bump this because the Tigers are honoring Ozzie Virgil tonight along with present day Latin players for "Fiesta Tigres" night.

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Kind of ironic that the first "black" player to play for the Tigers was actually Dominican and not African-American, although Mr. Virgil did help pave the way for further integration. It wasn't until the following year (1959) that an actual African-American would play for the Tigers, in the person of Larry Doby. Only the Boston Red Sox would take longer to promote an African-American player, not doing so until July of 1959.

However, the Red Sox would not be "fully" integrated until 1967 and even after that year, continued to be considered an "unfriendly" organization for black ballplayers. First by making it a habit to trade many of its' black ballplayers before they could be promoted to the big leagues and then by allowing the Winter Haven Elk's club to distribute invitations for the club's white players to dine there. Tommy Harper (a popular former player and minor league coach) complained and the story was picked up by the Boston Globe in the middle 80's, whereby Mr. Harper was promptly fired. He then sued the organization for racial discrimination and the suit was upheld in July 1986. I would surmise that rather than a "Curse of the Bambino", perhaps the "curse" had it's roots elsewhere?

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