100 years since the founding of the Negro Leagues. 100 years of progress in baseball and America. 100 years and the United States is still facing some of the same issues that unjustly kept African-American players out of Major League Baseball for decades. 100 years ago African-Americans just wanted a place to play baseball. Rube Foster made the dream of professional baseball a reality when he founded the Negro National League in Kansas City in 1920. Every lover of baseball is forever indebted to him and everyone in the Negro Leagues who played the game they love under difficult conditions. Long bus rides, segregated hotels and restaurants, and racism were part of daily life for a Negro Leagues player. Despite all the hardships, legends emerged. Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Oscar Charleston, Martin Dihigo, Turkey Stearnes, and countless others. Their greatness was recorded in stories more than statistics. The comparisons to the legends of Major League Baseball like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and others can never be settled. It is an American tragedy that racism prevented these legends from playing with and against one another. The talent in the Negro Leagues was undeniable, yet far too much has been lost to history. Preserving the history and legend of the Negro Leagues is essential in telling the history of baseball and America.
Derek tipping his cap to the Negro Leagues with his Detroit Stars cap. (The Winning Run/DJ)
Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, has invigorated the attention and drawn the respect the Negro Leagues, and its players, deserves. His passion for the Negro Leagues has helped spotlight the players and teams that paved the way for African-American baseball. The 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League is being commemorated with a simple campaign, a tip of the cap. More could be done, but the Covid Pandemic has all but halted public gatherings. We can never fully repay the Negro League players for everything they gave to baseball and the country, while enduring untold hardships. We must honor their experience and work to create a just world, free of racism, on and off the diamond. We salute the Negro Leagues and the men and women who loved baseball and refused to let racism stand between them and the game they love.
We humbly tip our caps to the Negro Leagues.
Bernie tipping his World Series champion Washington Nationals cap to the Negro Leagues as the Fantasy Baseball trophy looks on in the background. (The Winning Run/BL)
Jesse tipping his Gwinnett Stripes cap to the Negro Leagues. (The Winning Run/JJ)
DJ, JJ, & BL