Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Good Seats Still Available

Jul 11, 2022

Fresno Grizzlies baseball TV play-by-play broadcaster (and Episode 208 guest) Dan Taylor ("Lights, Camera, Fastball: How the Hollywood Stars Changed Baseball") returns to the podcast - this time with the story of one of the most unheralded players in pro football history.
In his new book "Walking Alone: The Untold Journey of Football Pioneer Kenny Washington," Taylor writes the first solo biography devoted to collegiate star and original Los Angeles Rams standout running back Kenny Washington (1918-71) - perhaps the best known of the pro game's "Forgotten Four" (the others: Woody Strode, Bill Willis, and Marion Motley) - collectively recognized as the first Black athletes to permanently break pro football's color barrier in 1946. 
Of the group, it was Washington - a one-time UCLA teammate of Jackie Robinson in both baseball and football - who officially re-integrated the NFL by signing with the just-relocated-from-Cleveland Rams (he convinced the club to later sign Strode). 
While Willis and Motley were doing similarly with the challenger All-America Football Conference (and later NFL-absorbed) Cleveland Browns - ultimately earning them selections to the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Washington has yet to join them in such recognition, despite being the first of any of them to achieve the feat.
Of course, there is MUCH more to the story - including Washington's prolific minor league football exploits, frequent small-part film roles, and local LA celebrity status.  By the end of this episode, you too will be convinced that Washington deserves a place in the Canton's hallowed Hall.