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Welday Walker

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Welday Wilberforce Walker

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Welday Walker was one of the earliest African-Americans to play in the majors. He followed his brother Fleet Walker, playing ball at Steubenville High, playing ball at Oberlin College, and playing ball at the University of Michigan, before coming to the Toledo Blue Stockings.

He didn't have much chance to show his stuff before being removed from the team due to the racism of rivals. Welday appeared in 5 games with Toledo, hitting .222, which doesn't sound like much, but the team had an average of .231. His brother Fleet, with a .263 average, actually had one of the highest averages on the team. Fleet played catcher, while Welday played outfield.

After his major league career was cut short, he appeared for Waterbury in the Eastern League and Southern New England League in 1885. In 1887, Walker played for the Pittsburgh Keystones.

Both Walker brothers at times brought lawsuits against businesses that discriminated against blacks. In 1888, Welday wrote a letter to the Sporting Life, decrying discriminatory treatment in the Tri-State League.

He is sometimes referred to as "Weldy" Walker, or as "W. W. Walker".

"(addressed to) Mr. McDermitt, President Tri-State League. Sir: I take the liberty of addressing you because noticing in The Sporting Life that the 'law permitting colored men to sign was repealed, etc.' . . . I concluded to drop you a few lines . . . It is not because I was reserved and have been denied making my bread and butter with some club that I speak . . . There should be some broader cause - such as want of ability, behavior and intelligence - for barring a player than his color. . . ability and intelligence should be recognized first and last . . ." - Welday Walker, in a letter to the league which was published in Sporting Life, March 14, 1888

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