The barn-storming antics, while based on reality, was also familiar to most audience members of the film, as the same playfulness, and razzle-dazzle shown by The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings was practiced by the well-known Harlem Globetrotters, who's history in basketball is almost a direct parallel to the racism of the baseball leagues.
In this film, Richard Pryor portrayed two characters; Charlie Snow, who also impersonated a Cuban named "Carlos Nevada", as well as a Native American Indian named "Chief Takahoma". Pryor played three roles in Which Way Is Up? (1977).
James Earl Jones and Billy Dee Williams share names which contain a middle name, as well (Mr. Williams actual middle name is "December", but shortened for his professional name). Both use their full name as the screen union(s) (SAG and AFTRA used to be seperate unions) would not allow more than one actor to use a (full) name, and as there were a "James Jones", and a "Billy (or William) Williams", it enabled them both to legitimately keep their given names, professionally.
The first black major league player was in 1905 and whom they passed off to be a Puerto Rican , but didn't speak a word of Spanish! Richard Pryor took that historical character into one of his in the movie, saying he was a Cuban who wanted to play in the majors!