Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

We kicked off season three in a big way! Talking about the Negro Leagues and a special guest from the Washington Nationals: Josh Harrison! We have prepared an episode guide for you with a few activities, check it out.

If you have not listened to the episode yet, click here.

Black Americans have played the baseball since the 1800s, but of course they were not always permitted to play at the highest level. Many...read all of the leaders agreed to bar them from teams. Early on, if a team had a Black player some teams would decide not to play them. That was the case for Moses Fleetwood Walker--

According to John R. Husman "Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker, an African-American, made his major-league debut with Toledo on May 1, 1884, in an American Association game. The contest was staged in Louisville, and not all Kentuckians and game participants appreciated having a black man playing with and against white men. Many let him know that he was not welcome to do so. Walker, however, stayed the course and played in 42 games for the Toledos before being released late in the season because of injury. He never again played in the major leagues but continued for five more seasons in nearly all-white high minor leagues. He never played for an all-black team.” You can read his full article here.

In the late 1800s Black players still organized teams and barnstormed across the country. They would challenge other teams and play on other people's turf.

On February 13, 1920, Black Baseball club owners came together to form the Negro National League (NNL). The slogan for the year was “We Are the Ship, All Else the Sea” in a nod to its independence, the NNL took off; The American Giants club, for example, drew nearly 200,000 spectators during the 1921 season. It is estimated that combined the NNL drew more than 3 million in attendance to their games.

Legends were quickly born and grown within Negro League competition and all-stars like

and many, many more would soon become household names for both Black and white baseball fans across America.

The National Negro League remained a force until the eve of the Great Depression, which destroyed all but a few strong independent clubs by the early 1930s. However, organized Black baseball rose again in 1933 with the founding of the new Negro National League, soon followed by the Negro American League.

In 1944 Negro Leagues star Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and making his historic debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers three years later. Fellow Black NNL stars Larry Doby and Satchel Paige quickly followed Robinson into the Majors, and the Negro Leagues dissolved soon after when most of its talented stars were finally admitted into MLB.

Though the Negro Leagues were over, they made their way into the history books: Black baseball players had proven that they could play on even terms with and against their white counterparts. Making their place in the MLB, forever.

Major League Baseball has finally decided that players from the Negro Leagues should be considered Major Leaguers. All 3,400 players — from 1920 to 1948 — will be elevated to MLB status. This is cool, but what about the coins that those players deserve?

To learn more visit https://nlbm.com/negro-leagues-history/

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