Baseball Reliquary Presents ‘Only the Ball Was White’ Film Screening and Discussion

Kadir Nelson Painting of Jackie Robinson. – Courtesy photo


In celebration of Black History Month, the Baseball Reliquary presents a screening of the documentary film ‘Only the Ball Was White,’ on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., at the La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.  A discussion with Ken Solarz and Daryl Grigsby will follow the screening.  The program is presented in conjunction with ‘A Game of Color,’ an exhibit of photographs, artifacts, and artworks spotlighting the Negro Leagues, being held from Feb. 1 – Feb. 28 at the La Pintoresca Branch Library, and presented by the Baseball Reliquary, the Institute for Baseball Studies (Whittier College), and the La Pintoresca Branch Library.


Philadelphia Stars. – Courtesy photo


A 30-minute documentary produced for Chicago public television station WTTW in 1980 and first broadcast in 1981, ‘Only the Ball Was White’ was written, produced, and directed by Ken Solarz.  Narrated by Paul Winfield, the film is a bittersweet homage to the Negro Leagues, which thrived from the 1920s through baseball’s integration in 1947, and which featured the greatest African American ballplayers of that era.  Solarz traveled around the country interviewing many Negro League greats who were denied the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues, including Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Jimmy Crutchfield, and Quincy Trouppe.  Also included in the film are interviews with Negro Leagues executive Effa Manley, the first woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and former Major Leaguers Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella, who started their careers playing in the Negro Leagues.


Pittsburgh Crawfords. – Courtesy photo


The film will be followed by a discussion with Ken Solarz and Daryl Grigsby.  Ken Solarz began his professional writing career as a television journalist and documentary filmmaker while working for ABC News, PBS, and CNN.  In 1987, Solarz moved to Hollywood to write for Michael Mann’s ‘Crime Story’ and “Miami Vice.”  Since then, he has written several movies, including “City of Industry,” and has been a writer-producer for thirteen prime-time series, including “Profiler,” “CSI: NY,” and “Hawaii Five-0.”


Satchel Paige. – Courtesy photo


Born in Washington, D.C., Daryl Grigsby is a writer, Negro Leagues historian, and community activist.  He is the author of “Celebrating Ourselves: African-Americans and the Promise of Baseball,” which examines how baseball is intricately woven in the fabric of African-American family, social, and political life.  Grigsby is founder and first President of San Diego African-American Writers & Artists, and currently serves as Public Works Director for the City of San Luis Obispo.

Admission is free.  The program is supported, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.  For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at; or contact the La Pintoresca Branch Library by phone at (626) 744-7268.