Louis Sockalexis

By Sacramento Bee

Bill Wise spotlights a little-known first in baseball with Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer, a biography of a Penobscot Indian whose grit and grace helped him cope with racism as he became the first American Indian to play professional baseball. Sockalexis fell in love the game in 1884, when, at age 12, he played with neighbors across the river from his reservation in Maine. Wise’s tight writing and moment-by-moment scenes pitch a fine portrait of a player who hears cheers only after he is a Cleveland Sider and he hits a home run off of striking king ‘Hoosier Thunderbolt’ in June 1897.