Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:02 - Early baseball career

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Mr. Brown, you began your baseball career in 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. How old were you at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Willard Brown discusses his early career playing baseball in the Negro Leagues. He discusses his early life, including his not needing permission from his father to play. He discusses playing other teams from the state of Louisiana. He also talks about getting a contract with the Monarchs, and the $250 he received to sign the contract.

Keywords: Contracts; Fathers; Monroe (La.); Shortstops; Shreveport (La.); Signing bonuses

Subjects: Baseball; Brown, Willard; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Louisiana; Negro leagues.; Youth

00:09:42 - Playing for the Kansas City Monarchs / learning to hit

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, when I got to Kansas City, I couldn't go in the clubs, you know? I wouldn't even, just go to the hotel, and go the movies...

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses playing for the Monarchs and learning to hit. He states that he learned by watching the good hitters. He also discusses traveling, having days off, playing in Canada, his letting the team down when he wasn't hitting well, and winning a game when he hit a home run in Omaha.

Keywords: Baseball games; Doubleheaders; Hitting; Traveling

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Baseball players; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team)

00:20:34 - Teammates when playing for the Kansas City Monarchs

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell me a little about some of the ball players you played with those first six years with the Monarchs.

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about his teammates in the Kansas City Monarchs. He talks about a player who broke his ankle sliding into second base. He speaks fondly of Newt Allen, a second basemen, and how far he could throw the ball. He discusses a young player who came in and took over for Allen. He talks about their having fun and just playing baseball, mentioning that they were called the "Cowboys" when they played in the East.

Keywords: "Cowboys"; Baseball teams; Hitting

Subjects: African American baseball players; Catchers (Baseball); Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); New York Black Yankees (Baseball Team); Outfielders (Baseball)

00:32:57 - The business side of the Kansas City Monarchs / players earning money to help their families

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, when you were picked up by team, um, was it Wilkinson that picked you up?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses how some players made the team and others were replaced. He discusses talking to other players in the dugout during the games, stating that young pitchers just needed "more training." He also talks about the players earning money to help their families.

Keywords: Families; Money

Subjects: African American baseball players; African American baseball team owners; Baseball; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Pitchers (Baseball)

00:38:24 - Brown's mother / baseball during World War II / relationship with Satchel Paige

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What did your Mother do?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses his team after the United States became involved in World War II. He discusses Satchel Paige, a pitcher, as well as his relationship with him. He states that all the other players were "in awe" of Paige.

Keywords: Baseball during World War II; Baseball teams; Pitching; World War II

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball managers; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Paige, Satchel, 1906-1982; Pitchers (Baseball); World War, 1939-1945.

00:49:35 - Playing against white ball players / Bob Feller

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You said also, we're getting back to barnstorming a little bit, and it sounds like you had a great time doing that.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses playing against white baseball players. He talks about Bob Feller, whose nickname was the "Heater from Van Meter." He continues to discuss the excellent control of Paige's fastball, and how players tried to bunt just to get a hit off of Paige. He also discusses his payment for barnstorming.

Keywords: Barnstorming; Money; Pitching; Salaries; White baseball players

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Baseball players; Feller, Bob, 1918-2010; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Paige, Satchel, 1906-1982; Pitchers (Baseball)

00:59:29 - Expectations of player talent

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What group were you playing at this time? Which...which?

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks briefly about how some players were better than they were expected to be.

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Baseball players; Major League Baseball (Organization)

01:01:35 - Signing up for military service / poor salaries in the military

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell me about how you got into the service. You said you were out west barnstorming.

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about signing up for military service. [there is an interruption in the interview] He states that he was paid about $800 a month playing for the Monarchs, but made much less in the military. He talks about how his father taught him to shoot, but that he refused to either shoot or fight.

Keywords: 1945; Armed services; Barnstorming; Baseball overseas; Fighting; Shooting

Subjects: African American baseball players; France; Laredo (Tex.).; Negro leagues.; World War, 1939-1945

01:09:13 - Playing baseball in the military

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And... well, well, well, this is the story I want to tell you now about. Every time Blackwell would pitch...

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses playing teams from various countries in Europe, including France, Germany, and England.

Keywords: Europe

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; England; France; Germany; Great Britain.

01:11:08 - Offers from Major League scouts / Jackie Robinson / Joe DiMaggio

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You uh, you barnstormed, you played service ball...

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about getting offers from Major League scouts around 1945, even though he was still in the service at that time. He discusses seeing Jackie Robinson. He states that he knew all the "good players" because he played against them two or three times a year. He also discusses his first encounters with Joe DiMaggio.

Keywords: 1945; Athletics

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; DiMaggio, Joe, 1914-1999; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Major League Baseball (Organization); Outfielders (Baseball); Philadelphia Phillies (Baseball Team); Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972

01:19:37 - Returning to Kansas City to play baseball / playing in the Mexican League

Play segment

Partial Transcript: ...Now, 1946, you came back to the Monarchs.

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses returning home on a boat, and being seasick. He talks about the boat running out of food. He states that he reported back to the Monarchs in March of 1946, and that Major League players were getting offers to play in Mexico at that time, as he did. He talks about the various towns in Mexico where he played.

Keywords: Mexican League; Mexico; Seasickness

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Laredo (Tex.).; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional

01:28:33 - Adjusting to life in Mexico

Play segment

Partial Transcript: A lot of the black ball players, in particular, got used to the conditions...

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about how most white baseball players never really adjusted to life in Mexico. He suggests that it may have been too hot, but is unsure of the reasons. He states that the African American baseball players received more respect in foreign countries than they did in their own country. He mentions briefly that he also played in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Keywords: Mexican League; Puerto Rico; White baseball players

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; Baseball players--1940-1950; Cuba.; Liga Mexicana de Beisbol Profesional; Mexico; baseball

01:31:23 - Being scouted by various Major League teams

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You, uh, were with the Monarchs in '46. When were you first approached by a scout during that year?

Segment Synopsis: Brown states he did not want to go to play for the Browns and shares his reasons why. He says that he was 30 years old at this time, and was thus at the "peak of his game", according to Marshall.

Keywords: Major League scouts; Scouts

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Major League Baseball (Organization); St. Louis Browns (Baseball Team)

01:35:59 - Fellow player Hank Thompson / playing Major League teams / signing a contract with the St. Louis Browns

Play segment

Partial Transcript: ...Now, Hank Thompson went with you at the same time, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Brown states that when the Negro League teams beat Major League teams, many of the would stop playing them because they did not want to look bad. He also talks about signing a contract with the St. Louis Browns.

Keywords: Ballparks; Baseball contracts; Baseball fields; Charlie Dewitt; Contracts; Hank Thompson

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball; Baseball players; DeWitt, William O.; Saint Louis (Mo.).; St. Louis Browns (Baseball Team)

01:42:23 - Joining the Major Leagues / treatment by other players

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you come up with the ball club during spring training?

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about segregated seating at baseball parks. He discusses the temperature of St. Louis during the summer. He describes how much bigger of a draw the African American players were than their teammates, but states that he was not even given his own personal bat.

Keywords: Ball parks; Baseball bats; Baseball parks; Bats; Boston (Mass.); Segregated seating; Summer

Subjects: Baseball; Baseball players; Major League Baseball (Organization); Segregation

01:47:18 - Fewer opportunities for African American Major League players / playing in Yankee Stadium

Play segment

Partial Transcript: ...Just from, just from looking at your stats, you know your, you appeared in about 20 games...

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about having to use other players' bats. He says that an umpire even took a bat from him, and that he would buy a bat himself if he had to. He points out that Hank Thompson had essentially the same experience that he did. He also talks about getting to play in Yankee Stadium.

Keywords: Baltimore (Md.); Baseball bats; Bats; Hank Thompson; Joe Page; Second Basemen; Umpires; Washington; Yankee Stadium (New York City, New York)

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; Baseball umpires

01:52:29 - Brown's dissatisfaction with his treatment in the Major Leagues / living with Hank Thompson

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So you decided to tell them that you had enough.

Segment Synopsis: Brown tells how returning to the Monarchs would probably have been best for him and some of the other players. He talks about having to pay his own way to travel home. He also talks about living with Hank Thompson in St. Louis, and making the minimum salary.

Keywords: Hank Thompson; Living arrangements; Salaries; St. Louis; Travel expenses; Unfair treatment; contract

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team); Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972

01:58:19 - Pressure, or lack thereof for African American baseball players to perform well

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did... you knew what was going on. You knew the ball club really wasn't trying.

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about his just having fun while playing baseball and not feeling pressured to do well. He states that he did not say much because he was not trying to attract more fans. He mentions that he was getting paid more to play in places like South America.

Keywords: Baseball fans; Fans; Pennant; Pressure; Salary; South America

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; National League (Major League Baseball); Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972

02:00:48 - Return to the Kansas City Monarchs / treatment of white and African American baseball players' families

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You went back to the Monarchs, and they apparently were quite happy to have you back.

Segment Synopsis: Brown states that he did not ask other players how much they made. He talks about how white players' families were taken of better than the African-American players' families were. He mentions that fans stuck money through the fences at games when he hit home runs.

Keywords: Baseball fans; Families; Fans; Home runs; Money; Outfields; Puerto Rico; Salaries; White baseball players

Subjects: Baseball; Cleveland Indians (Baseball Team); Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team)

02:06:41 - Larry Doby's experience in the Major Leagues / closing thoughts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Larry Doby is somewhat introverted...

Segment Synopsis: Brown talks about how his overall experience was much better than Doby's was, especially in the South. He says that he (Brown) used to go sit with pitchers and teach them "how to pitch", and that he told them that they should always try to get the groundball. He states his opinion that if you work hard, you can do whatever you want. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Shreveport (La.); Umpires

Subjects: African American baseball players; Baseball players; Baseball umpires; Kansas City Monarchs (Baseball Team)