The special preview section The Inquirer printed before the start of the 1950 World Series was about what most readers, then or now, would expect.

There were features on the star players. Profiles of the two managers. Ghostwritten articles allegedly written by "Professor Jim" Konstanty and Del "Big Slug" Ennis. Matchups. And plenty of statistics.

But there was one element that went virtually unnoted in 1950 that is particularly jarring to 2009 eyes.

The pages of photographs of the executives, managers, coaches, and players from the American and National League champions depicted nothing but white men.

It wasn't an intentional omission. It wasn't an unintentional mistake.

The photos were all white because the Phillies and New York Yankees were.

Three-and-a-half years after Jackie Robinson had integrated the game, those two teams still had not signed a single African American player.

As a result, if it is remembered for nothing else, the World Series of 1950 will long maintain this ignoble distinction: It was baseball's last all-white World Series.

But while the Phillies and Yankees were certainly late to integration, they were hardly alone in the still-segregated world of 1950 baseball.

When that World Series began at Shibe Park on Oct. 4, only five of the 16 big-league teams - the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Cleveland Indians, Boston Braves, and St. Louis Browns - had an African American on their major-league rosters.

It would be five more years before the Yankees would field their first black player, Elston Howard, and seven years before the Phils integrated.

By the time infielder John Kennedy, who lasted just five games and two at-bats here, arrived in Philadelphia, only the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox remained all-white.

And while no one seemed to notice at the time, the details of Kennedy's Phillies debut proved eerily ironic.

Kennedy's historic debut, as a late-inning pinch-runner for Solly Hemus, came April 22, 1957. That was exactly 10 years to the day after manager Ben Chapman's Phillies had so infamously taunted the rookie Robinson in Brooklyn, in their first meeting.

Kennedy's opponents that day in 1957 were the Dodgers.

The location was Ebbets Field.

"That period," Richie Ashburn, the Hall of Famer, said in 1995, two years before his death, "certainly wasn't the Phillies' finest moment."

The Phillies and Yankees had passed, and would continue to pass, on several talented black players. Philadelphia had refused to even look seriously at catcher Roy Campanella, who grew up not far from its ballpark and would go on to win three MVP awards with the Dodgers.

Of course, baseball's unwritten agreement to remain segregated meant that, until 1947, the World Series had always been conducted without any black participants.

Appropriately, Robinson would be the first to appear in a World Series game. He played in the 1947 and '49 events. In both years, Brooklyn was beaten by the Yankees.

The all-white Braves won the National League pennant in 1948. But the Indians had surprised the Yankees and captured the American League title that year, and had a pair of African American stars in outfielder Larry Doby and pitcher Satchel Paige.

Despite the fact that in those early years of integration the few teams with African Americans were disproportionately more likely to reach the Series, the executives, and often the players on opposing teams, still needed to be convinced.

Brooklyn pitcher Don Newcombe recalled the day he helped convince Ennis and maybe several other Phils as well.

Those Phillies teams of the late 1940s and early '50s had a Southern-born coach named Dusty Cooke, who used to ride Newcombe, Robinson, and Campanella particularly hard.

One day, Newcombe, in retaliation, knocked down Ennis, the Phils' cleanup hitter.

Ennis picked himself up and shouted something into his own dugout.

Years later, Newcombe asked Ennis what he had said.

"I told that son of a [gun] to shut his mouth and leave you alone or I was gonna pull his tongue out," Newcombe recalled Ennis saying in a 2007 interview. "He didn't have to go out there and hit against you."

After sweeping the Phils in 1950, the dynastic Yankees would return to the World Series in 12 of the next 14 seasons, the first three of them again with all-white teams.

But their opponents in the 1951, '52 and '53 Series - the Giants and Dodgers (twice) - were integrated.

The Phils wouldn't reach another Series until 1980, and by that time they had two black starters in centerfielder Garry Maddox and rightfielder Bake McBride.

"I used to hear that story about Campy and I used to imagine how many more World Series we might have gotten to with him on our team," Ashburn had said. "But it's too late now."

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.