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“Reclaimed: The Forgotten League,” a new podcast series launched Oct. 2 from ABC Audio, tracks the quest of Vanessa Ivy Rose, granddaughter of Negro Leagues star Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, as she uncovers his ascension through the league and his outstanding career achievements.
ABC News reports the center fielder, who played for several teams including the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs, was one of the best players in the league, hitting better than .300 for 15 seasons.
However, due to the racism and segregation in the country, many of his exploits were lost.
While new stories dominate headlines, it’s easy to forget those who blazed the trails we now walk on.
“Reclaimed: The Forgotten League” takes listeners on a journey back in time to explore the lesser-known corners of sports history.
The six-part series will look into the history of the Negro Leagues.
Despite the immense talent and passion of Black baseball players, they were systematically excluded from Major League Baseball (MLB), leading to the formation of the Negro Leagues.
It will cover its late 19th century inception to the emergence across the country during the early 20th century.
ABC News reports Rose speaks with many Negro League historical experts, including Shakeia Taylor, sports and culture editor at the Chicago Tribune; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; and Seamheads Negro Leagues Database co-founder Kevin Johnson, about how the leagues and the game reflected the social and political oppression the Black community faced post-Reconstruction.
MLB has long been celebrated as “America’s favorite pastime” and its racist roots have yet to be rectified.
One MLB solution brought forth in 2020 was to include Negro League players statistics into its official record books.
By honoring her grandfather’s legacy, Rose tells a personal story of a forgotten legend.
This addition is expected to have a groundbreaking impact. “It could quite literally rewrite American history,” Rose said.
“Reclaimed: The Forgotten League” honors a life well lived
What sets “Reclaimed” apart is its commitment to shedding light on the realities of many Black athletes over time.
It also documents struggles faced excelling in front of White crowds that hated their skin and resented their talents.
By doing so, the podcast not only reclaims forgotten history but also champions the importance of highlighting forgotten greats.
Black people have long excelled in America’s favorite pastime, from Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Miss Toni Stone, Ken Griffey (Sr. & Jr.), Barry Bonds, Mookie Betts, and countless others. Yet, most have had to deal with some form of racism throughout their careers.
In an era where sports podcasts are a dime a dozen, “Reclaimed: The Forgotten League” reminds us that behind the glitz and glamour of modern sports, there is an even richer tapestry of legendary Black stories waiting to be told.
You can listen to “Reclaimed: The Forgotten League” here on Spotify.