Aaron Pointer made history in 1961, but it is a season he would rather forget. As the only black player on the Salisbury Braves, a minor league team in North Carolina, Pointer experienced racism and prejudice that was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He was not allowed to eat at restaurants or enter through the front door of the team doctor’s office. He was even shot with a BB gun by one of his teammates in the outfield. Despite the racism, Pointer was able to focus on his game and ended the season with a .402 batting average.
Pointer said he was glad to leave Salisbury and never returned. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs and played for their Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Cubs, for two seasons. He has since lived the rest of his life in Tacoma and serves on the board of directors of the Tacoma Athletic Commission. He is a former NCAA and NFL umpire and the older brother of Grammy-winning The Pointer Sisters.
Though he has had a successful life, Pointer still carries the memories of his 1961 season with him. He said it is something he knows is there, but he doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s too hurtful. Despite the pain, Pointer’s historic season will stand the test of time.