ENUMCLAW, WA, November, 30, 2010 — “My parents taught me that there are no color issues in the eye of the Lord, so I didn’t have a problem trying out [for the team].”
It was 1972. Baseball nut Dick “Lefty” O’Neal, who had just enlisted in the Air Force, learned that his salary was so small that he and his bride qualified for food stamps. “I heard that the Negro League was looking for a left-handed pitcher,” he says. “I tried out because I would get paid to play, and those funds would put food on the table.”
As O’Neal relates in his book, Dreaming of the Majors-Living in the Bush, he also hoped the opportunity would open doors for him to fulfill his lifelong dream to play major league baseball. But God had other plans for him, including a chance to cross the racial “color line” of the 1970s.