If there was one significant change brought about by these exhibitions, it was to see black baseball players more than hold their own against their white counterparts. Players unknown to white audiences — Mule Suttles, Turkey Stearnes, Bullet Joe Rogan — were able to face the best players in the white major leagues and excel — putting the lie to the claim by Feller (and many others) that black players just weren't good enough.
I admit that I can't entirely dispute Gay's claims of racial progress. But it is difficult to accept since these games still took place within the rigid social order of American society. There were some minor victories to be sure — some ballparks finally let blacks and white sit together in the stands, a few brave souls even tried integrating the teams themselves, with blacks and whites in the same lineup — but by and large, the racial attitudes of baseball remained largely unchanged by the pioneering efforts of Dean, Paige and Feller. It would take bold action on the major league level — rather than on the peripheries of society — to change the minds of both baseball executives and racist Americans.
Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert is a worthwhile collection of anecdotes. If you take the stories one by one, they form a sort of textual scrapbook, offering a number of curious reflections of the world of baseball in the 1930's and 1940's. But the author's efforts to present these efforts as part of a larger racial struggle ultimately falls short.