Were there any white players in the Negro Leagues?

While Jackie Robinson was in his first season in integrated baseball with the Montreal Royals (the Brooklyn Dodgers‘ farm club in the International League), the Cleveland Buckeyes signed the first white player ever to play in the Negro Leagues. The Buckeyes signee was Eddie Klepp, a young, white pitcher.

Ironically, during his brief stay with the Buckeyes (he was released after the 1946 season) Klepp was victimized by the same Jim Crow laws in the South that had barred black players from playing on white teams. In some Southern cities like Birmingham, the law prohibited black and white players from playing together on public athletic fields. The law was applied during the Buckeye’s visit to play the Birmingham Black Barons, and Klepp was barred from taking the field.