1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars - Barrier Breakers

"The most significant amateur in baseball history." - Creighton Hale, former president, Little League Baseball

The story began in the heart of the American South. The U.S. Supreme Court already had ruled (in 1954) that segregated schools were unconstitutional. South Carolina was among some of the southern states resisting federal pressure to discard segregation.

In the summer of 1955, 14 African-American boys from the Cannon Street YMCA Little League in Charleston, South Carolina, were looking forward to entering the local Little League Tournament along with tens of thousands of other kids from across the United States and several other countries. For the few lucky enough to win, there would be a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the Little League Baseball World Series. There were 62 Little League programs in the state. Of those teams, 61 were made up of all white players and one was made up of all black players. All 61 teams refused to play the team from Cannon Street even after the National Little League organization insisted that they do and informed them that if they didn’t, they would not be allowed to participate in the tournament. The 61 teams separated themselves from the Little League organization and started their own league which left the Cannon Street team without anyone to play, but also ineligible to enter the tournament.

Little League rules state that in order to advance to the next level that each team must have played and beat other teams in South Carolina. However, even though the Cannon Street team was unable to play, Little League invited the boys as their special guests to the World Series. At the time, those 14 young boys probably had no idea the impact they had on society. They inspired people then and continue to even today.

See their ISSJ (formerly NCAS) interview at 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *