August 7, 2014

Star Negro Leagues baseball player from Rock Hill to speak at downtown library

Carl Long played with the Birmingham Barons of the old Negro Leagues.

Carl Long, a Rock Hill native and long-ago star in baseball’s Negro Leagues, will give a talk and sign copies of his new book Saturday at the Rock Hill branch of the York County Library.

Now 79, Long played professionally for more than a decade before becoming a police officer in Kinston, N.C., where he was the first black deputy and police detective. He is widely regarded as among the finest baseball players to come out of Rock Hill. As a player for the Birmingham Black Barons, and later in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, he played with greats such as Willie McCovey, Charley Pride – who became a country singer – and others.

Long overcame discrimination in his life and, with author Diane Taylor, has written a book called “A Game of Faith: The Story of Negro League Baseball Player Carl Long.”

The book talks about Long’s life and his successes, along with those of his family. Long’s son is a respected South Carolina minister near Charleston, and one of his brothers, Charles Dunlap, broke the racial barrier as an officer with the York County Sheriff’s Office.

“I give talks whenever I can to tell young people the value of education and doing their best,” Long said. “What I had to go through, it made me a better person.”

Long was the first black player in the Carolina League. In 1956, he led that league in runs batted in.

Before that, he was a star in the black league. Because of segregation, he was not allowed to play with Rock Hill’s professional white team at the time, the Rock Hill Chiefs. Long grew up in Rock Hill’s Boyd Hill neighborhood and used baseball as an escape from a life in the cotton fields.

The public is invited to meet Long and hear him talk about his book and life experiences. He will be at the downtown library on Black Street from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Copies of his book will be for sale.

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