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Children’s Book Commemorates Springfield Baseball Team, A Fight for Equality

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)- A new children’s book, “A Home Run for Bunny” written by Springfield College professor, Richard Andersen, commemorates acts of courage that happened 80 years ago. It was a step toward racial equality.

95 year old, Anthony King is a character in the book. Today he is the sole survivor of the Springfield American Legion Post 21 baseball team. He led his colleagues in 1934 to victory in the State and New England Championships.

The colored pages of the book illustrate the bottles, tin cans and half-eaten hot dogs that were thrown at his teammate Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro when he stepped up to the plate.

“So the coach assembled the team in his room and gave them a choice: play without Bunny and they thought they had a pretty good chance of winning, or they can go home,” explains Andersen. “Tony spoke up, he was the team captain, he said if Bunny is a member of the team if Bunny isn’t playing, I’m not playing either.”

“We were invited down south to play in the Eastern Finals, and that’s when they wouldn’t let us play because we have a black pitcher,” King explains.

All of the team members followed suit. They voted unanimously, packed their bags and came back home to Springfield.

“This story teaches kids how to stand up to discrimination of any kind,” says Andersen.

Through words we can recognize the courage of this the team who played right here in our community. We also celebrate their acts with a monument in Forest Park.
It’s called “Brothers All Are We.” At the base is Anthony’s name engraved along with all of his other teammates who took a stand against racism.

It is a sign of loyalty to their teammate and a message of zero tolerance for discrimination on the field or in life.

On Sunday, February 9th from noon until 4PM there is an exhibition based on the book, “A Home Run for Bunny.” It is open to the public and will be at the William Blizard Gallery at Springfield College.

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