When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, both Union and Confederate armies played baseball to pass the time. Baseball was lauded by many as an effective means of reconciliation in the post-war era.
It’s strange to think that until 1962 — when the Houston’s Colt .45’s enjoyed their inaugural season as an expansion team — the only baseball teams in the South were on its northernmost borderlands: Baltimore, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Of course, like all professional sports, baseball is about money, and profits are easily made in densely-populated urban centers, of which the South had few in the professional game’s first half-century. In 1950, the biggest town in the Deep South, New Orleans (pop. 570,000), was only the sixteenth-largest city in the nation. Indeed, at that time, Rochester, New York, had more people than Atlanta.
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