One Game, Many Players, One GREAT Story.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Negro League History

Baseball, originally a game of leisure and widely known as a gentleman’s game, evolved into a professional vocation for those talented enough, however, talent was slighted from the shadows of the past.


In 1871, the first professional league was formed.  Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black to appear with a major league club in 1884.

Cap Anson refused to play when black pitcher, George Stovey, took the mound in 1887. That, along with a vote from the International League Board of Directors to not approve another contract for black players, eventually gave birth to what was called “The Gentleman’s Agreement” - a complete ban of black players from baseball

Credit is given to Andrew “Rube” Foster who, in 1920 at the Paseo Street Y.M.C.A. building in Kansas City, Missouri, changed history by founding the Negro National League.  Foster would fall ill and pass away just ten years later in 1930.


In 1923, the Eastern Colored League was formed and boasted four Negro League World Series in `24-`27,  but the E.C.L. scattered in 1928.

The Great Depression forged a new style of cross country scampering. A virtual “game on wheels” from town-to-town became known as barnstorming.

In 1932, the Negro Southern League gained Major League status.   

The Negro National League was reestablished in 1933 with Gus Greenlee at the helm. The league featured two divisions, East and West, and heralded the famed East-West All-Star Game.  

The Negro American League was established in 1937 after the demise of the Negro National League.  In 1948, the Negro American League formed East-West divisions, but the end of black baseball was certain, as many followed Jackie Robinson after 1947 into a new integrated game.


The Negro Leagues continued until the greatness of this era came to close in 1960.

Source: Negro Leagues Biographical Encyclopedia, James Riley

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