He became interested in the events of 1955 when his son played Dixie Youth Baseball, whose uniforms had the Confederate battle flag on their sleeves.
Dixie Youth Baseball, which has removed the flag, came into existence when Little League organizations in eight Southern states seceded from the national Little League after 1955.
Its Official Rule Guide stated: "The Organizers hereof are of the opinion it is for the best interest of all concerned that this program be on a racially segregated basis; they believe that mixed teams and competition between the races would create regrettable conditions and destroy the harmony and tranquility which now exists."
Dixie Youth Baseball, which in 1967 removed that from its charter, has produced major leaguers Bo Jackson, Tom Gordon, Reggie Sanders and Otis Nixon, all African-Americans.
The year the Cannon Street All Stars won without playing was the year after Brown v. Board of Education, and the summer before the December when, 370 miles from here, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a Montgomery, Ala., bus.
As the boys were on the night bus trip back from Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old Chicago boy, Emmett Till, visiting his relatives in Mississippi, was seized from his bed and murdered.
"We haven't seen the best of it yet," says John Rivers, 69, the All Stars' shortstop who later studied architecture at Hampton Institute and Columbia University and today has offices in Atlanta and Columbus, Ga.
"The country's always getting better."
It speaks well of these spry gentlemen of nearly three score and ten that, without a trace of bitterness, they are determined to keep telling their story for the benefit of old people who only dimly remember it, and for the edification of young people who cannot imagine it.
It speaks well of the nation that, without gentle reminders by people like the men in the blue blazers, it has difficulty remembering the way things were.
George Will's email address is georgew...@washpost.com.