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The Negro Leagues
Transcript of The Negro Leagues
The Negro Leagues were established because professional baseball clubs would not allow African Americans on their teams.
There was no actual written rule prohibiting African Americans from playing, but it's been said that White owners got together and decided to do away with Negroes in professional baseball by not adding anymore to their teams and getting rid of the ones they had. This lasted for sixty years!!
In 1920, Andrew "Rube" Foster founded the Negro National league, along with seven other contributors. The league became a showcase for ballplayers of color that could not show their talents in the majors.
The Original Teams
The Chicago American Giants
The Chicago Giants
The Cuban Stars
The Dayton Marcos
The Indianapolis ABC's
The Kansas City Monarchs
The St. Louis Giants
The Detroit Stars
The Negro National League
(1920-1931) consisted of eight original teams. The league thrived right up until the
, when it folded due to financial problems. Thanks to the success of the National League, several other leagues were formed.
The second Negro National League (1933-1949) was formed thanks to Gus Greenlee, a Pittsburgh businessman. This league dominated all others during its run.
The Negro Southern League
was founded within the same year as the first Negro National League by Thomas T. Wilson. This league had teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Montgomery and New Orleans. It lasted through the 1940's
The Eastern Colored League
was formed in1923 featuring the Hilldale Club,
Stars (East), Brooklyn Royal Giants, Bacharach
Lincoln Giants and Bal
timore Black Sox
In 1937, the
Negro American League
was launched, combining the best clubs in the South and Midwest. This league put up the best competition to the well-established Negro National League.
League of Heroes
Rube Foster had the vision to start the league after his very successful career as a major league pitcher. He bankrolled many of the teams with his own money!
Latin American Baseball
A lot of players in the Negro Leagues came from Latin America. In many of the countries, the players could play ball year round because of the beautiful weather. A lot of the players didn't want to play in the majors, even if given the choice. Latin American was their home. Besides, who would want to give up that weather??
Negroes in Latin America
Negro League players spent many of their off-seasons playing for Latin American ball clubs. They loved the fact that in those countries, they could come and go as theyt pleased without worrying about prejudice or racism. they loved the treatment that they received from the fans, as well as the easier schedule and pay. Some players never wanted to leave!
Martin Dihigo, aka "El Immorta" from Cuba
Jose Mendez, aka "El Diamante Negro" or "Black Diamond" from Cuba
Cristobal Torriente, aka "The Cuban Strongman"
Many Negro League teams traveled by bus from game to game. Thy would ride all day and night just to play one game. Then, they would get back on the bus and head to next game without a break or a bath. There was very little rest for players
Travel in the South was even more difficult because of
. Players were forced to travel hundreds of miles without stopping because there was no place that blacks could sleep, eat, or use the restroom.
In the North, players faced segregation as well. If a black player wanted to eat at some places, he would have to go to the back door of the restaurant and pick up his meal. He was not allowed in the front door!
Hotels with empty rooms even denied them service. Some players on smaller teams slept in cars, the YMCA, the local jail, and even funeral homes because that was all the team could afford.
Occasionally teams would stay at Negro owned hotels. Sometimes in small towns, local black families would put them up for their time in town.
Teams would play anywhere from 80 to 120 games in a season. The rest of the time, they would
. Basically, they would travel and play against anybody and everybody that wanted to play. This included professional and semi-pro teams.
The End of the Leagues
Major league baseball commissioner, Kinesaw Mountain Landis, claimed that there was no actual ban on black players from the majors, but there was no explanation for their absence from the game.
When Judge Landis died in 1944, he was replaced by A.B. "Happy" Chandler. His belief was, "If a colored boy can make it in Okinawa and Guadalcanal, he can make it in baseball!" Sadly, he only lasted three years a commissioner.
His belief, however, is what opened the door for an owner like Branch Rickey to take a chance on a player named Jackie Robinson.
Judge Kinesaw "Mountain" Landis
Major League Baseball
Commissioner from 1920-1944
A.B. "Happy" Chandler
Commissioner from 1945-1951
Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers
Branch Rickey is credited with integrating professional baseball by signing Jackie Robinson.
To determine whether Robinson was going to work out, Ricky met with him face to face and pretended to be angry. He called Robinson every racial slur possible in order to test his character. This was what Jackie would have to face on a daily basis.
Robinson did not disappoint him.
Jackie Robinson was good, but he wasn't the best player available.
He was college educated (UCLA) and played several sports while in school.
He also served in the military, but was honorably
for refusing to sit in the back of the bus. He won his trial, however, and received an
Jackie was known for being very serious and very competitive.
Jackie Signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 and played his first year with their farm team in Montreal. In the spring of 1947, he moved up to the majors and helped the Dodgers with the pennant. He was named Rookie of the Year.
Fans hissed, booed and spat at him. Some threw things at him.
Players even tried to hurt him.
He knew he couldn't fight back without ruining the chances for other Negro players.
Why Was Jackie the First?
Jackie Robinson's success, however, signaled the end of the Negro Leagues.
Major League owners began to raid teams for talent.
Fans stopped supporting the leagues and by 1960, it all ended.
In the end, 58 out of more than 200 Negro League players made it to the majors.
Standing: Buck Leonard, Willie Wells, Rudy Fernandez, Sammy Hughes, George Scales, Mule Suttels, Pat Patterson, Josh Gibson, Bill Wright, Roy Partlow, Kneeling: Bill Byrd, Leon Day, Bill Holland, Cando Lopez, George Curry, Red Parnell
The East Negro All-Stars, 1939
Negro League Players Who Made It to the Majors:
James "Bus" Clarkson
William "Bill" Greason
Charles "Chuck" Harmon
Juan "Pancho" Herrera
John Irvin Kennedy
Isodoro "Izzy" Leon
Leroy "Satchel" Paige
Antonio Hector Rodriguez
Jose "Smo" Santiago
Robert "Bob" Thurman
Josh Gibson, who some believe to be the best of them all did not live to see Jackie Robinson's debut in the Major Leagues.
Believe it or not, there were actually Negro players in professional baseball before Jackie Robinson! Despite the terrible treatment they received, they went on to have good careers. They were players like:
Moses Fleetwood Walker