Negro League’s Carl Long Dies
Rest in peace, Carl Long:
Carl Long, who used baseball to escape segregation and broke the color barrier of the Carolina League as its first black pro ballplayer, died Monday after a long illness. He was 79.
After leaving pro baseball, Long – who grew up in Rock Hill’s Boyd Hill neighborhood – became the first black bus driver, police officer and detective in the once-segregated city of Kinston, N.C., where he remained after finishing his decade-long baseball career.
Long played for the Kinston Eagles in the Carolina League in 1956, leading the league in runs batted in with 111 – a record that still stands. Last year, his autobiography “A Game of Faith: The Story of Negro League Baseball Player Carl Long” chronicled his escape from Rock Hill’s segregation by going on the road with the Negro Leagues’ Birmingham Black Barons, then with other professional teams.
Long had a stroke in October and never fully recovered, his brother, Charles “Doody” Dunlap, said.
“My brother Carl was a great baseball player, and he was an even greater man,” said Dunlap, a retired York County sheriff’s deputy who was among the first black officers in York County. “He had a lot of courage. And people still talk about how good a player he was. He was the best.”