Moses Fleetwood Walker (Toledo History)

by Molly Joyce

Moses Fleetwood Walker Mural
"Island Sanctuary for the Ghost of Moses"  by Natalie Lanese and Douglas Kampfer
Located at 19 S. St. Clair St. 

A Brief History of Moses Fleetwood Walker

Moses Fleetwood Walker was a baseball player for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883. He was the first African American to play baseball in the major league. 

Needless to say, he made history throughout his lifetime and left a footprint here in Toledo. 

There are a lot of interesting facts about Fleetwood. He came from Oberlin College, was a barehanded catcher, played alongside his brother Weldy, is a patent holder, and was one of the best players on the Toledo team.

His impressive skills elected him into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Historical Marker of Moses Fleetwood Walker

Leading up to the Major League

Moses Fleetwood Walker had quite the baseball career when he enrolled in college. At twenty-five years old, he soon found himself to be a main hitter and catcher at Oberlin College.

While at Oberlin College, he started off as a great student but as his attraction for baseball increased, his grades suffered. Oberlin's last game of the season was against the University of Michigan, which Walker was offered to transfer over to Michigan because they were impressed with his performance. 

After he played with the University of Michigan, he was off to New Castle, Pennsylvania. Every team that had the privilege of having him all say that Walker was an incredible player and most notably, a phenomenal catcher.

1883 was the year Moses Fleetwood Walker left school and followed his passion to play professional baseball in Toledo. 

Walker faces trouble

Moses Fleetwood Walker, nicknamed "Fleet", played baseball for a few different colleges before joining with the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883. After advancing his career with Toledo, Chicago White Stockings manager, Adrian Anson, would state that he and his team would not face Toledo due to Walker being in the lineup.

In the end, both teams played against each other, but this was the start of the issue of the acceptance of race in baseball. Throughout his career, he endured prejudice from his teammates, opponents, and community. 

Photo of Moses Fleetwood Walker T-shirt in front of Fifth-Third Field

Playing 42 games with Toledo Blue Stockings, Walker was the only African American to play in the Major League until Jackie Robinson in 1947. 

Toledo has great pride for Moses Fleetwood Walker and honors him through this mural in the Warehouse District, as well as a historical marker located at Fifth Third Field, and a Jūpmode t-shirt to pay tribute to his greatness!

Moses Fleetwood Walker T-Shirt

moses fleetwood walker shirt

To pay tribute to the man and the town that broke the color barrier in major league sports, we released this Moses Fleetwood Walker shirt

This is a great piece of Toledo, Ohio history that makes us proud to be from Toledo.

Make sure to grab yours before opening week in stores or online!

To learn more about Moses Fleetwood Walker, click here.


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