Ed Wheatley | St. Louis Public Radio

Ed Wheatley

February 18, 2020 Ed Wheatley
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Jackie Robinson famously integrated Major League Baseball, taking the field for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947. And the American League followed a few months later, when the Cleveland Indians put Larry Doby into the lineup.

But right behind Cleveland were the St. Louis Browns. Just 12 days later, the team played its first black player. And two days after that, the Browns became the first club to put two black players into a game when Willard Brown and Hank Thompson took the field. That milestone was all the more remarkable in light of this fact: It would take the St. Louis Cardinals another seven years to integrate. 

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, author Ed Wheatley explained what led the Browns to break the city’s Major League Baseball color barrier. 

Local author Amanda Doyle (right) signs a copy of one of her books for Charlie Wunderlich, age 8, at the Missouri Athletic Club after the STL Storytelling Live event Aug. 29.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The legacy of George B. Vashon. The history of the St. Louis Browns. The special moments that took place at the Top of the Tower. A handful of local authors and historians revisited all of this and more during last week’s STL Storytelling Live event at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air featured highlights from the evening, with stories running the gamut from the humorous, to the surprising, to the hopeful. The storytellers included Bill Clevlen, Carol Shepley, Amanda Doyle, Ed Wheatley, Calvin Riley and Cameron Collins.

The event was sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio, Reedy Press and the Missouri Athletic Club.

Ed Wheatley joined Don Marsh for a discussion about his illustrated children’s book “Incredible Cardinals.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For St. Louis Cardinals fans of a certain age, the players painted on the left field wall of Busch Stadium evoke fond memories of baseball heroes of days gone by. But for younger fans, the names Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst and even Stan Musial may not even register, much less Dizzy Dean.

To rectify that matter, local author Ed Wheatley and illustrator Ed Koehler have created a book for children featuring St. Louis Cardinals greats who are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as some who may be future inductees.