Play Ball!

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The postwar era marked baseball’s first golden age. The sport had a democratizing and unifying effect then: laborers could beat gentlemen, mechanics could best attorneys, Southerners could defeat Northerners, and Baptists could battle Methodists with no hard feelings. For a while, blacks could challenge whites; men of color played on integrated teams from the lowest to the highest levels until the 1880s, when the major leagues imposed a ban that held until 1947.