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The best single piece ever written about Oscar Charleston was published in Sports Illustrated in 2005. The author was John Schulian, an accomplished sportswriter who also created Xena: Warrior Princess. No one has done a better job limning Oscar’s personality, character, and achievements. Schulian did an enormous amount of research in just a few weeks for his piece, speaking to a number of former players and tracking down Oscar’s wife’s niece. Start here to get a feel for what Oscar was like.

Then, since you’ll love Schulian’s writing, buy his collection Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand, which includes the Charleston essay, and his new novel, A Better Goodbye. Would that more writers of Schulian’s quality would take the Negro Leagues as a subject.