Nashua Dodgers

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The Nashua Dodgers was a farm club of the Brooklyn Dodgers, operating in the class-B New England League between 1946 and 1949. It is believed to be the first professional baseball team based in the United States in the twentieth century to play with a racially integrated roster. The team was based at Holman Stadium in Nashua, New Hampshire.

1946

In 1945, Dodgers president Branch Rickey contacted executive (Emil J.) Buzzie Bavasi, who was relaxing with family in Georgia after his return from Italy during World War II, and asked Bavasi to find a suitable location for a club in the newly reformed New England League. Rickey had just signed Jackie Robinson to a contract, and while Robinson and John Wright were expected to integrate the International League as a member of the Montreal Royals, Bavasi believed that Rickey would sign other African American players during the 1945-46 offseason. With the possibility that the New England League club would be integrated, Bavasi looked for a community with a significant French Canadian population (believing that the ethnic group would be accepting of African Americans) and a racially progressive newspaper. He chose Nashua, New Hampshire.

Nashua's population of approximately 34,000 made it the smallest New England League city; the next largest, Portland, was more than double the size of Nashua. Furthermore, the city counted fewer than fifty African Americans in its population. But it boasted a sizable French Canadian population. ...
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