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100th Anniversary of the Negro Leagues First Worlds Series

(1924 - 2024)
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ST. LOUIS – The Negro League is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the very first Negro League World Series back in 1924. Missouri played a major role in showcasing black talent on the diamond and producing major league legends.

The 1924 Colored World Series was a best-of-nine match-up. The Kansas City Monarchs represented Missouri. They were the longest-running franchise in the history of baseball’s Negro leagues.

At the World Series, the Monarchs defeated Hilldale five games to four. The Monarch’s produced more major league players than any other Negro League franchise. There was star power close to home as well.

The Negro League World Series was played in 1924. However, very little attention has been paid to the first Negro League World Series, even though some of the top players were in the lineups. The 1924 Colored World Series was the first official championship series between two recognized Negro League championship teams, Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Champs Hilldale. Players such as Biz Mackey, Jose Mendez, Bullet Rogan, and Judy Johnson were all of great importance to black baseball during this time.

 

There was not a Colored World Series scheduled in 1923, due to the unresolved conflicts between league presidents Rube Foster and Ed Bolden, but there was considerable pressure from the black media and from fans to hold a championship. The 1924 Colored World Series was a best-of-nine match-up between the Negro National League champion Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale. In a ten-game series, the Monarchs narrowly defeated Hilldale 5 games to 4, with one tie game. It was the first World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL.

The Negro Leagues World Series was not to be measured in immediate monetary terms but in what the series might mean for the future of the black game. That would remain to be seen as the decade that has been dubbed Black Baseball’s Golden Age played itself out across the remaining years of the 1920s. The World Series payoff for players was less than what many had expected–$4,927.32 to be split among the winners; $3,284.88 to the losers.

The Negro World Series was a post-season baseball tournament that was held from 1924 to 1927 and from 1942 to 1948 between the champions of the Negro leagues, matching the mid-western winners against their east-coast counterparts. The series was also known as the Colored World Series, especially during the 1920s, and as the Negro League World Series, in more recent books, though contemporary black newspapers usually called it simply, the "World Series", without any modification. A total of eleven Series were contested in its prime, which ultimately saw nine teams compete for a championship and seven who won at least one. The Homestead Grays were the winningest and most present team in the tournament, winning three times in five appearances, while Dave Malarcher and Candy Jim Taylor won the most titles as manager with two each.

 

A second Negro National League was organized in 1933, though this league played predominantly in the East. The Negro American League was organized in 1937 in the West. In 1942, the two leagues agreed to resume playing a championship series between the two leagues; the first series was played between the Kansas City Monarchs of the NAL and the Homestead Grays of the NNL.[4] Segregated baseball suffered a collapse after the integration of Major League Baseball in 1947 with the arrival of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, as several players would later defect onto MLB and other various leagues. By 1949, the Negro leagues were essentially considered a minor league circuit, particularly with the demise of the Negro National League. Black baseball continued on anyway, albeit with dwindling crowds and quality in pursuit of money that awarded a champion until 1957, albeit without a Series to determine a champion, but with record (the East–West All-Star Game, which played from 1933 to 1962, was generally considered a surrogate championship game by the press); as barnstorming units, teams came and went, but most stopped playing after the demise of the NAL in 1962 (with the exception of the Indianapolis Clowns, who barnstormed until 1989).

The first game of the championship series opened at Philadelphia on October 3, 1924, between the Kansas City Monarchs of the NNL and the Hilldale Club of the ECL; the final game was played at Chicago on October 20, with the Monarchs emerging as the series winner.[2] In 1928, the ECL folded, with their teams returning to independent play, and the series entered a 15-year hiatus. The first NNL also folded after the 1931 season.

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The first game of the championship series opened at Philadelphia on October 3, 1924, between the Kansas City Monarchs of the NNL and the Hilldale Club of the ECL; the final game was played at Chicago on October 20, with the Monarchs emerging as the series winner.

World Series Game Results

1924

Kansas City Monarchs

defeated Hilldale Club

5 to 4

1925

Hilldale Club

defeated 

Kansas City Monarchs

5 to 1

1926

Chicago American Giants

Defeated  Bacharach Giants 

5 to 4

1927

Chicago American Giants

Defeated  Bacharach Giants 

5 to 4

1942

Kansas City Monarchs  defeated

Homestead Grays

4 to 0

1943

Homestead Grays  defeated

Birmingham Black Barons

4 to 3

1944

Homestead Grays  defeated

Birmingham Black Barons

4 to 1

1945

Cleveland Buckeyes defeated

Homestead Grays

4 to 0

1946

Newark Eagles defeated

Kansas City Monarch

4 to 3

1947

New York Cubans defeated

Cleveland Buckeye

4 to 1

1948

Homestead Grays  defeated

Birmingham Black Barons

4 to 1

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