BALTIMORE - The Orioles have always been in the forefront with black ball players said Terry Dear, Negro League Baseball historian.
"The Orioles were quite interested in Negro League players. Well, the 1st was Joe Durham, and Joseph Heard was also signed with the Orioles," said Dear.
In just a week the true story of Jackie Robinson hits theaters, which has questions of how the game has changed, and how do today's players understand the significance of his legacy.
Robinson and Willie Mays may be the most recognizable of the Negro Baseball League players who served their country, but there are many others like Al Burrows, a Korean War veteran and player for 9 years with the Indianapolis Clowns, and 3 years in the minors.
"I didn't play in the Negro League with Jackie, I played in the Grapefruit League in Coco Florida" …"and was with him when he went too DC in 1956 under Eisenhower, President of the United States……said Burrows"
"I wish I could talk with some of the coaches and teach the young men today like Jackie Robinson taught me they have the ability to play the game, but they don't learn it, study the game-- which would make them better" said Burrows.
Although he does think some of the young players do it—players like Ryan Howard of the Phillies, and the O's Manny Machodo.