Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

HISTORY DETECTIVES: Jackie Robinson All-Stars, Modoc Basket, Special Agent Five

Airs Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Jason Mishelow (right) asks HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi (left) to f...

Credit: Courtesy of Tom Denison

Above: Jason Mishelow (right) asks HISTORY DETECTIVES host Tukufu Zuberi (left) to find out whether the game recorded in this Pittsburgh Pirate’s baseball program played a role in integrating professional baseball. In this game, Jackie Robinson’s All Star team included black and white athletes, yet this game occurred six months before Robinson became America’s first black major league baseball player.

America's top gumshoes are back to prove once again that an object found in an attic or backyard might be anything but ordinary in the HISTORY DETECTIVES series. Wesley Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, historian and professor of architecture, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; Dr. Eduardo Pagán, professor of history and American studies at Arizona State University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, leave no stone unturned as they travel around the country to explore the stories behind local folklore, prominent figures and family legends.

"Jackie Robinson All-Stars" - Tukufu Zuberi tallies the facts on a 1940s Jackie Robinson All-Stars scorecard. Black and white athletes played this game before Robinson became the first black major league baseball player. What role did this game play in the integration of major league baseball?

"Modoc Basket" - Then, we see the name ‘Toby’ worked into the weave of this basket. Could that be Toby Riddle, the woman congress honored as a heroine of the Indian Wars of the American West?

"Special Agent Five" - And, why would J. Edgar Hoover endorse a crime radio drama? Does the script portray actual events?

This episode originally aired in 2010.


Jackie Robinson Scorecard

Our contributor has a scorecard for a game between two unusual teams: the Majors' All Stars and Robinson's All Stars. Jackie Robinson's team is made up of both black and white players, yet this game appears to have occurred before Robinson became the first black major league baseball player in 1947. Could this game have been a test to find out how America would react to integrated baseball?

Modoc Basket

Our contributor believes she has a basket woven by a woman who played a pivotal role in the Indian Wars that helped define the settlement of the West. The weaver worked the name "Toby" into the pattern of the basket. Could this be Toby Riddle, the woman who thrust her body into the line of fire to save the life of a peace negotiator? Wes Cowan investigates.

Special Agent Five

The intrigue on the brittle pages of this 1930s radio script reaches beyond the suspenseful plot line. From the text we gather that J. Edgar Hoover himself endorsed the creator to reveal the details of a true story. What does J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI have to do with this radio script? And how accurate are the events in the play? Gwen Wright finds out.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.