They played for the Toledo Team of the American Association (1884) (Batted 5 th )
Note: In 1884, three Major Leagues- National, American Association, and Union Association. The Walker Brothers had to quit the team - result of mob violence in Richmond, Louisville (Spectators hissed him).
(C)1888 - Syracuse stars had two Negroes: Bud Fowler and Higgins (first name unknown). April 14, 1889, a member of the Buffalo Bisons, “The feeling is pretty general among professional ballplayers that colored men should not play with white men.”
Sporting Life, Dec. 30, 1885 Fowler, the crack colored second baseman, is still in Denver, Colo., disengaged. The poor fellow’s skin is against him. With his splendid abilities he would long ago been on some good club had his color been white instead of black.
1897: Prof. Negro League Baseball In Texas: Bud fowler
1920 - Rube Foster - Founder of the Negro National League NNL: We Are The Ship - All Else The Seas
1920’s Wave of black nationalism, Harlem Renaissance - Writing; black art; dance bands; Louis Armstrong; Duke Ellington; Poems, “The Lynching,” “If We Must Die,” work of Langston Hughes
Rube Foster is considered to be the founder of the Negro National League in 1920 (February 13-14, 1920, Colored YMCA, Kansas City).
Rube Foster Born: Texas,1879 Quit school: 8 th grade to play baseball Age 17: pitched for the Forth Worth Yellow Jackets Age 21-23: Pitched for Phil. Athletics, Cuban Giants, Cuban X Giants 1910: Foster’s team- American Giants travels (Jack Johnson)
Clubs In: Kansas City (Monarchs) Indianapolis (ABC’s) The Cuban All-Stars (Mohave City) Chicago (both American Giants and plain Giants) Detroit and St. Louis (Giants in both cities)
The Eastern Colored League appeared three years later with outfits in: New York (Lincoln Giants) Atlantic City (Bacharachs) Baltimore (Black Sox) Philadelphia (Hillsdale) and Brooklyn (Royals)
After the Negro American League emerged: along with a facsimile of the all white World Series. (Eastern and National Leagues:1924) Foster died December 9, 1930.
Negro League World series ( 1924 to 1927 and 1942 to 1948) 1924: KC Monarchs NNL 5 -4 Hilldale ECL 1925: Hillsdale 5 -1 KC Monarchs 1926: Chicago American Giants NNL 5-3 Bacharach Giants ECL 1927: Chicago Giants 5-3 Bacharach ECL Negro American League vs Negro National League 1942: KC Monarchs NAL 4-0 Homestead Grays 1942: Grays NNL 4-3 Birmingham Black Barons
Life in the Negro Leagues was hard Teams would play three games a day Earn $400-500 a month Jackie Robinson’s Yearly Salary: $5,000
Rube Foster Declared: “Ball players have had no respect for their word, contracts, or moral obligations. Yet they are not nearly as much to blame as the different owners of clubs.” Lack of trusted umpires
Attendance was good - 1,650 per game Costs: Train Fares, baseballs $23 per dozen
Walter “Buck Leaonard (Lou Gehrig) remembered: “We’d play a semi-pro team in Rockville, Maryland in the afternoon and a league game in Griffith Stadium that night.”
40 - 50,000 fans would pack Comisky Park. In 1934, Leonard received 60 cents per day and meal money (during the depression). There were no trainers, stayed at YMCA, the fields were often cow pattie or high school fields.
The Negro League pioneered night ball - the Kansas City Monarchs played the first contest under lights in 1930. Illumination was portable, travelling poles, banks of lights powered by a truck borne generator parked in center field.
One of the weaknesses of the Negro League was that it did not have a farm system.
1933 - East-West All Star Negro Competition: The game was played between teams of players who received most votes in polls conducted by Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier - the West won 11-7
20,000 people in attendance. Games played at Comisky Park, Chicago. In 1942 East-West Game had 48,400 fans. The game outdrew the White All-Star Game.
Josh Gibson and Ted Radcliffe: 1944 East- West All-Star Game
Satchel Page Pitched in more than 2,500 games Won about 2,000 Pitched for about 250 teams Best Strikeout Mark - 22 Pitched 153 games in a single year Oldest Rookie in Major League History: Cleveland,1947
Role of the Press By 1939 - The Black and White Press began to recognize the talent of the Negro Players
April 7, 1939 - The Washington Post wrote: There’s a couple of million dollars worth of baseball talent on the loose, ready for the big leagues, yet unsigned by any major clubs. Only one theory is keeping them out of the big leagues--pigment.
1901 to 1961: Baseball in the South- Southern Association Baseball Minor Leagues Atlanta Crackers New Orleans Pelicans Mobile Bears Chattanooga Lookouts Memphis Chickasaws
Little Rock Travelers Birmingham Barons Nashville Volunteers
All teams were independently owned. Half of the teams were owned by major league teams and the other half had farm club status. Teams were of the AA Classification. The Southern Association remanded all white with only one black man playing in only one game.
Atlanta Black Crackers was formed. House of David (Often traveled with Kansas City Monarchs) Southern Negro League (SNL) March, 1920
Chattanooga Black Lookouts, New Orleans Black Pelicans, Birmingham Black Barons, Atlanta Black Crackers, Nashville Elite (EE-Lite) Giants
Novelty and Clowning in Negro Baseball (Bill Veech, where are you?)
(A) Zulu Cannibal Giants (B) Ethiopian Clowns - formed in Miami in 1927 after the Stock Market Crash Grass Skirts, Clown Activities
Baseball as an entertainment Industry Were these novelty teams a legitimate part of Negro Baseball History? Problem - These teams perpetuated racial stereotypes, i.e., Black minstrelsy of the 90’s. (Blacks laughing at self!)
1920’s - 1930’s “Black face” performers became popular in the vaudeville routines of white performances.
Black Press encouraged to abandon “step and fitchet” characterization and to stay clear of any comic material which portrayed Negro characters as stupid, shiftless, or lazy.
Press: Pittsburgh Courier Chicago Defender Indianapolis Freeman
The Novelty teams often played other Negro League teams. The Clowns entered the Negro Leagues (American) in 1941.
Buck Leonard - Great Hitter Josh Gibson - Home Run King Jackie Robinson
Black All-Stars 1949 Roy Campanella Larry Doby Don New Combe Jackie Robinson
Autobiography Jackie Robinson: “I Never Had It Made”
Born in 1919 Raised in a single parent house (Father left home.) Jackie was the youngest child Three brothers: Edgar, Frank, Mack One sister: Willa Mae
Young Child - Pasadena, California Junior High School - Football Letter
Went on to Attend Pasadena Junior College Broke his brother Mack’s record in the Broad Jump Note: Jackie’s brother Mack participated in the 1936 Olympic Games and finished second to Jesse Owens Jackie also played shortstop on the Pasadena team
Agreed to Attend UCLA At UCLA he became the University’s first four-letter man (basketball, baseball, football, track/field)
“After two years at UCLA, I decided to leave. I was convinced that no amount of education would help a black man get a job. I felt that I was living in an academic and athletic dream world.”
“I had used up my athletic eligibility in the major sports at UCLA, but the University begged me to stay on and graduate; they even offered me extra financial support”
Went on to work with a construction company headquartered near Pearl Harbor He worked during the week and played football on Sundays with the pro team - Bears.
When the football season ended in November, he went back to California. Note: He left Honolulu on December 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
In 1942 the army sent Jackie for Fort Riley, Kansas for basic training Jackie applied for OCS - He ran into Jim Crow Laws in the army. Jackie had passed the necessary exams, but was not admitted to OCS
During this same time period, Joe Louis was transferred to Fort Riley. Joe came to Jackie’s aid. As a result, Jackie became a Second Lieutenant in January 1943.
Jackie served as the “Morale” Officer at the camp. Jackie was transferred to Fort Hood, Texas. Major Situation: Jackie requested (ordered) to sit in the back of a military bus. He rejected this request from the bus driver!
Jackie had to face a court martial. He was acquitted of all charges. In 1944 he was transferred to Camp Breckenridge and received an honorable discharge.
After his discharge, he ran into his brother, Alexander, who had been a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. The Monarchs accepted Jackie for a tryout. He was told to report to Houston. The pay of $400 a month was a financial bonanza for him!!
“Rickey’s Noble Experiment” Manhunt for: Stand up in the face of persecution Have spirit Could not be an “Uncle Tom” Ability to turn the other cheek Have proven ability Jackie was that person!
Jackie signed a contract with the Montreal Royals - $3,500 bonus and a $600 a month salary.
More discussion to follow - Jackie Robinson vs. Paul Robeson (attended Rutgers - football) (singer, fighter against racism, law student) - fight for America in case of a war against Russia.
In 1949 Jackie was asked to testify before the House Un- American Activities Committee. Note: The Communist denounced discrimination!
In 1949 Jackie was named MVP - 1950 contract for $35,000. 1950 Movie: The Jackie Robinson Story was filmed.
Homestead Group - Won Pennants from 1937-1942. Negro World Series 1942-1948 (End of Negro League)
Monte Irvin Born February 25, 1919 Alabama 8 Brothers and Sisters Moved to New Jersey (Age 8)
Monte was promoted by the Negro League owners as the man best suited to break the color line in major league baseball.
At the High School Level Earned 16 varsity letters in baseball, basketball, football, and track (Javelin). Earned football scholarship to Lincoln University - Finished two years of college.
Started playing baseball for the Newark Eagles. In 1941 - Monte was selected to play in the East-West All Star Game (Comiskey Park, Chicago). He played third based and center field.
Note: Gus Greenlee was responsible for organizing the East-West All Star Game in 1933. Gus also built his own stadium in Pittsburgh.
Monte enlisted in the service for three years. Monte played in the 1946 Negro League World Series when Jackie Robinson was playing in Montreal (Dodgers AAA Team)
(1949) - New York Giants paid his contract to play for Giant’s Jersey City Team. (1951) - First all black outfield to play in the World Series. Willie Mays, Hank Thompson, and Monte (Hit.400 in the Series).
Played in Two World Series with the Giants :1973 Hall of Fame. Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Baseball
Joe Williams Born in 1874 Pitched in the 1930’s! Born In Texas
Between 1912 and 1932 Joe Williams faced the best white big leaguers of his day 30 times. Record: Won 22 Lost 7 Tied 1
Note: Two losses came at 45. (Pitched against: Grover Alexander, Walter Johnson, and Stachel Paige
In 1952: A panel of black veterans and sports writes named Joe the best black pitchers of all time. Note: Cum Posey (owner of the Grays) said only Walter Johnson and maybe Lefty Grove could match Joe’s fast ball!
In 1925 - Played for the Hamstead Grays - Over a five year period he only lost five games.
The First Black Players to Integrate The Original Sixteen Major League Ball Clubs (Listed in Chronological Order)
History of Minority Managers in Major League Baseball and Date of Hire