The Negro Leagues 1920-1945
In 1920, an organized league structure was formed from a grouping of independent black baseball team owners and members of the black press.
In a meeting held at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri, owners created a governing body and established the Negro National League.
Andrew "Rube" Foster - a former player, manager, and owner of the Chicago American Giants, was tapped to be the league's president.
Rival leagues soon formed in Eastern and Southern states, bringing the thrills and innovative play of black baseball to major urban centers and rural countrysides in the US, Canada, and Latin America.
The leagues maintained a high level of professional skill and became centerpieces for economic development in many black communities.
Saint Louis Stars
Organized in 1909, the Stars, featuring greats suc has Willie Wells and James "Cool Papa" Bell, had their greatest seasons inthe lat 1020s.
The Detroit Stars were charter members of the Negro National League in 1920 and featured stars Andy Cooper and Pete Hill.
Philadelphia Royal Giants
This talented exhibition team was organized to tour California, Hawaii, and Japan. Here, team members pose after winning a competition in Hawaii.
The Grays played in Homestead, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Owner Cumberland Posey organized a well-respected team that included hitting star Josh Gibson.
Hand-picked by owner Gus Greenlee, this was, one of the Negro Leagues' most talented teams.
It included five future Hall-of-Famers: Oscar Charleston, Judy Johnson Cool-Papa-Bell, Josh Gibson, and Satchel Paige.
Memphis Red Sox
The Red Sox were a popular attraction in Memphis from 1923 through to 1950. They were owned by the Martin brothers, who built a stadium for the team.
Washington Homestead Grays
After relocating to Washington DC, the Grays began a very successful run of league championships, earning nine consecutive pennants from 1937-1945.
Atlanta Black Crackers
The Black Crackers excelled in the Negro Southern Leagues in 1938, The White minor league team in Atlanta was called the "Crackers," so the black team called themselves the "Black Crackers."
East All Stars
The East-West All-Star Classic was the highlight of most baseball seasons in the Negro Leaques.
Beginning in 1933, fans flocked to Chicago's Comiskey Park to see the best players in black baseball.
Fifty thousand fans would pack the stadium in most summers.
Below is the powerful East team from the 1939 game, featuring Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard among others.
Kansas City Monarchs 1924
The first Colored World Series pitted the Negro National League Champion Kansas City Monarchs and the Easter Colored League Champion Hillsdale Club of Pennsylvania.
The Monarch's prevailed five games to four.
Led by owners Abe and Effa Manley, the Eagles were one of the best teams of the Negro Leagues in the 1940s.
The team featured future Hall of Fame players Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Leon Day, and Ray Dandridge.
The Indianapolis Clowns were a popular attraction during the 1930s, but despite their clowning ways they were a legitimate ball club. The Clowns joined the Negro American League in 1943.
The Negro Leagues In 1920, an organized league structure was formed from a grouping of independent black baseball team owners and members of the black press. The Negro National League: Andrew 'Rube' Foster - a former player, manager, and owner of the Chicago American Giants, was tapped to be the league's president. Rival leagues soon formed in Eastern and Southern states, bringing the thrills and innovative play of black baseball to major urban centers and rural countrysides in the US, Canada, and Latin America.