80th anniversary of baseball team honored in Holyoke

80th anniversary legion

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Celebrating a western Massachusetts milestone that had national significance.

It was 80 years ago when the Massachusetts champion Springfield American Legion baseball team refused to go to the national finals because then segregationist North Carolina wouldn’t allow black teammate Bunny Taliefero to play.

On Saturday, the lone survivor from that 1934 Springfield team, 96 year old Tony King was honored at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home where he lives.

This American legion player of long ago shared his thoughts with 22News.

“I just regret that my team mates weren’t here to share some of this honor, everything’s been so good,” said Tony King.

In recent years, books have been written and honors given to salute team that turned down glory to stand up for the African American player, who was being denied his right as an American.

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