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Southern League


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About the Author

Larry Colton is the author of several notable works, including Counting Coup, Goat Brothers, and No Ordinary Joes. He has written for Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times Magazine. A former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Colton himself played in the Southern League in 1966 for a farm team in Macon, GA.


"I can't say this loud enough...this is a great book! I'd throw in an f-bomb for emphasis but that sort of thing is frowned upon in high literary circles. The explosive racial cauldron of Birmingham in the sixties, unforgettable characters, and baseball all come together in Larry Colton's memorable narrative, SOUTHERN LEAGUE. Baseball is the tie that binds, barely, but that's enough." -- Ron Shelton---
"When I read "Counting Coup," I was staggered by Larry Colton's ability to persuade a group of high school girls to share their heart's secrets, so I am not surprised that for "Southern League" he could get a bunch of aging baseball players to remember the hopes and fears of their minor league days. The breadth of Colton's reporting here, placing the Birmingham Barons' 1964 season squarely into the context of the civil rights era, is a narrative tour de force.
-- Richard Ben Cramer---
An accomplished storyteller ... a tale well told. -- Baseball Nation
Another excellent recounting of race relations in baseball. -- The Charlotte Observer
Entertaining and painstakingly crafted, Colton's account of the Birmingham Barons is a tribute to determination and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity. --Publisher's Weekly
Larry Colton has an extraordinary gift for capturing those times when everyday, glitz and glamor-free American sports, is not merely a metaphor for our culture but becomes a mechanism for cultural change. His highest expression of that gift comes now in SOUTHERN LEAGUE in which he introduces you to players nobody has yet built statues of, but who forced sea-changes in the America in which you live. --Keith Olbermann ---
Larry Colton's interweaving of the 1964 Southern League baseball season with the Civil Rights movement revisits a period in American history that many of us will not - and should not - forget. With Colton's retelling of players enduring racial insults on the field and threats and other indignities off the field, SOUTHERN LEAGUE makes for riveting, and revealing, reading. -- Bill White ---
SOUTHERN LEAGUE deserves to be considered one of the eye-opening books of its type and will serve as a teaching tool for those who believe that sports --- and life --- in America was always as it is today. -- Bookreporter.com---
The narrative of future major leaguers Johnny "Blue Moon" Odom, Tommie Reynolds, and Bert Campaneris playing on a minor-league team run by future and former Red Sox owner Haywood Sullivan in racially segregated and explosive Birmingham, Alabama, during the 1960s is as good a snapshot of social history as a sports book in recent years. --The Daily Beast
This terrific rendering is highly recommended both to baseball fans and to students of civil rights history and African-American studies. -- Library Journal
Thorough research and a wonderful weave of personalities are parts of what make "Southern League" the best baseball book of the new season. -- Gene Sapakoff, The Post and Courier
Those who say that sports do not, or should not, make us think about anything beyond the field itself have always been wrong . The summer of '64 and the stories found in Southern League demonstrate that once again. -- Bob Costas---

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