Walker was declared the first African American player to play in the major leagues when he made his MLB debut on May 1st of 1884. However, research has shown that William Edward White played in one game for the Providence Grays in 1879, thus becoming the first to play in the game's history. Playing for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884, Walker played in 42 games, hitting .263 with 2 2B and 3 3B in 152 ABs. While not spectacular, the league average that season was just .240- proof that Walker was an above average hitter. In addition, Walker was a catcher. But not just any catcher, a catcher that played with sub par and limited equipment and this taking a beating behind the dish.
It was an exhibition game of 1884 where Anson said he would refuse to field his Chicago team if Walker was on the opposition. Anson would later rescind his motion and play the game with Walker in the lineup. Walker's manager was William Voltz, who insisted that he would play in the game.
After Walker was let go, simply because he was black, he would continue to play in minor league type games, for Waterbury of the South New England League and Cleveland of the Western League in 1885. He again played for Waterbury in 1886 and 1887 before playing for the Syracuse Stars in 1888 and 1889. In 1888, he was part of the Syracuse team that won the League Championship. His final official appearance came in 1891 at age 34 for Oconto of the Wisconsin League.
It was known that John Ward of the New York Giants was interested in signing Walker. By that time, Anson had more power and was able to keep Walker from being signed. Perhaps had Anson been less persistent, the whole history of baseball could have changed. Unfortunately, 60 years would go by before a black baseball player would play in the major leagues. That should have never been the case. Cap Anson deserves to be remembered for what he did to keep African American players out of the game. Add that to his HOF plaque.