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Another Pro Baseball Groundbreaker: Artie Wilson

artie_wilson.jpg
David Eskenazi Collection
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Artie Wilson reaches first base safely in a game for the Seattle Rainiers.

Jackie Robinson is celebrated every year for a major first: the first African-American player in major league baseball. 

But other black players were breaking into pro baseball around the same time, just not in the majors.  Artie Wilson, one of the best shortstops in pro baseball, played minor league ball in Oakland (California) starting in 1948. 

He is the subject of Singles and Smiles: How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier.  Gaylon Wilson is the author and our guest.  Artie Wilson spent the latter part of his life in Portland, and died there just eight years ago.   
 

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Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.