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Mon, 04.15.1912

“All Nations” Baseball Team Takes the Field

All Nation Roster, 1914

*On this date of breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, we celebrate the founding of the Worlds ‘All Nations’ baseball team in 1912.  

This was a barnstorming professional baseball team that toured the American Midwest from 1912 to 1918, and again in 1920 and 1921, and from 1923 to 1925. It derived its name from the racial intersectionality of its players.  Their roster had several nationalities and colors, including blacks and whites, Indians, Hawaiians, Japanese and Latin Americans.

The team was founded by the Hopkins Brothers sporting goods stores. One day, however, the team's manager left with the daily gate proceeds. J. L. Wilkinson, who played for the team, replaced him as manager, later becoming owner as well. The team was based out of Kansas City and Des Moines.  Under the management of Wilkinson, the All Nations' approach to the game was more serious than that of many teams.  They did however provide additional entertainment for their audiences, including having a dance band to play before the games and wrestlers perform after their games.  Wilkinson transported the team from location to location in a Pullman car, which also held portable bleachers which would be set up for the game. He did not pay for rooms for his players, however, instead having them sleep the night before the game in tents they brought with them on the field on which they would play.  

According to Sporting Life, the team became "strong enough to give any major league club a nip and tuck battle". It went 3-1 against the Indianapolis ABC’s in 1916 and splitting a series with the Chicago American Giants.  During World War I, the team encountered difficulties when it found most of its better players were drafted and was finally disbanded in 1918. Pitcher John Donaldson managed the All Nations from 1923 to 1924. The All Nations were still owned by Wilkinson and was used as a traveling team that trained inexperienced players and found talent in the Midwest.  

Reference:

Sociaety For American Baseball Research

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