Celebrating Negro Leagues Centennial
History of the Negro Leagues
On February 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster led eight independent Black Baseball team owners into a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri. Out of that meeting came the birth of the Negro National League, the first successful, organized professional Black Baseball League that provided a playing field for African-American and Hispanic baseball players to showcase their world-class baseball abilities. The Negro Leagues would operate for 40 years, becoming a catalyst for economic growth in African-American communities across the country and helped spark social change in America. Between the end of the Civil War and 1890, some Black baseball players were able to play on White teams.
Starting in 1890, many leagues stopped allowing Black players, and by 1900, the color barrier was in place. Many Black players started to join all-Black independent teams, and in the 1900s, professional Black baseball spread across the heartlands and in the south. In 1920, the Negro National League (NNL) and the Negro Southern League (NSL) formed; three years later the Eastern Colored League (ECL) formed. The NNL lasted until 1931 when the Great Depression hit. Gus Greenlee formed the second Negro National League (GNNL) that lasted from 1933 to 1949. The NSL continued through the great depression until the 1940s. In 1937, the Negro American League (NAL) was formed bringing some of the best clubs in the South and Midwest and was the opposing circuit to the NNL until the NNL disbanded in 1949. The color barrier was broken in 1946 when Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers, and in 1952, there were around 150 Black players in organized baseball.
Andrew "Rube" Foster
Negro Leagues Museum
Larry Lester, co-founder of Negro Leagues Museum
and member of ESPER
Paseo YMCA in Kansas City ,Mo
Negro Leagues members in Hall of Fame
35 members in Hall of Fame
Negro Leagues exhibit at Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, New Jersey
Daughter of Monte Irvin with Negro League Base stamp
Negro Leagues exhibit at Yogi Berra Museum
By Clarence McKnight
Negro Leagues exhibit at Somerset Patriots Baseball Stadium
By Clarence McKnight
Negro Leagues Timeline
First Colored World Series
Negro Leagues World Series
Women in the Negro Leagues
Effa Manley – Co-Owner of
the Newark Eagles with husband
Negro Baseball League players on U.S. Postage Stamps
By Larry Lester
100 years ago, the Negro National League (NNL), chartered as the National Association of Colored Professional Baseball Clubs, was established by Andrew “Rube” Foster and other team owners, as a viable option for professional Black athletes barred from the all-White Major Leagues to showcase their talents. This year we celebrate their pleasure, passion and purpose-driven path to athletic glory and honor in America’s national pastime.
The Negro Baseball Leagues provided a bridge over racism waters that enabled Jackie Robinson (from the Kansas City Monarchs) and Larry Doby (from the Newark Eagles) to integrate the white Major Leagues in 1947. Robinson would become the first baseball player, Black or White, to appear on a U.S. postage stamp, as part of the Black Heritage series. The twenty-cent stamp was issued in 1982 (Scott #2016). Robinson’s sliding image would later emerge in 1999 on a 33-cent stamp (#3186c) in the Celebrate the Century – 1940s series, and again, as a fielder, in 2000 at the same price (#3408a) in the Legends of Baseball series. Note, Robinson has appeared on numerous issues from foreign countries, such as Gambia and St. Vincent.
Larry Doby, a 1998 National Hall of Fame Inductee, made his only postal presence on the 2012 forever stamp (#4695). Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh Pirate star, never played in the Negro Leagues, but appeared with Doby in the 2012 forever series (#4696).
Other Negro League stars to appear on postage stamps include Josh Gibson (#3408r), a catcher from the Homestead Grays, and Satchel Paige (#3408p), a pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs and other teams. This battery appeared in 2000, along with Robinson in the Legends of Baseball series. Another catcher by the name of Roy Campanella (#4080), who started his career with the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro Leagues, debut at 39 cents in 2006 as part of the Baseball Sluggers series.
The founder, president and commissioner of the NNL finally received overdue recognition on July 15, 2010, when the USPS produced a se-tenant stamp featuring a scene painted by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson. The dual 44-cent stamp (#4465-4466) depicts Andrew Foster in his three-piece suit and big apple cap.
More information about the legendary Foster and other notable lads from the Negro Leagues can be found daily on the Facebook page entitled, “Rube Foster in His Time.” Discover new Black Facts every day in 2020 at: https://www.facebook.com/RubeFosterinHisTime/