Eighty Years Later, Mayor In North Carolina Apologies For City’s Treatment Of Springfield Little Leaguer

The mayor of Gastonia, North Carolina, has apologized to the city of Springfield for a racist incident that happened 80 years ago.

In 1934, a Springfield baseball team traveled to Gastonia for a championship tournament. But the team opted not to play when they were informed their black teammate – Bunny Taliaferro – had to sit out the game.

The author of a recent book on the event, Richard Andersen, sent a copy to Gastonia Mayor John Bridgeman, who then wrote a letter to Springfield’s Mayor Domenic Sarno, saying he deeply regretted what had happened.

“I just wanted to be able to heal some wounds, you might say, even though I wasn’t born at the time,” Brudgeman says.

Bridgeman says the ugliness in 1934 probably stemmed from a small group of the city’s residents and says Gastonia has come a long way since then.

“I just thought it was a very respectful and classy, classy move,” Mayor Sarno says of Bridgeman’s letter.

Sarno says he hopes teams from the two towns can get together – again – and play some more baseball.

New England Public Radio’s Kari Njiiri contributed to this report.