The Negro Leagues:History and Baseball

Powerful Essays

"Over the decades, African American teams played 445-recorded games against white teams, winning sixty-one percent of them." (Conrads, pg.8) The Negro Leagues were an alternative baseball group for African American baseball player that were denied the right to play with the white baseball payers in the Major League Baseball Association. In 1920, the first African American League was formed, and that paved the way for numerous African American innovation and movements. Fences, and Jackie Robinson: The Biography, raises consciousness about the baseball players that have been overlooked, and the struggle they had to endure simply because of their color.


In a more focused sense, the Negro Leagues were an alternative league all in its own. It was primarily established for African Americans so they could play baseball, since they were prohibited from experiencing any type or activity with whites. The reason this league was separate was because of the Jim Crow laws that had been enacted during the early 1900's, but in an opinionated note, I feel that whites simply didn't want to be outdone by their counterparts - African Americans. They basically stated that African Americans could not participate in any activity with whites, whether it is of public or unsocial nature. These laws displayed the mentality of the time, which inevitably filtered into the realm of baseball; at this point, segregation had gone so far as to prohibit any blacks from merely playing baseball with whites. It was not until 1933, when "a former pitcher, Andrew 'Rube' Foster, formed the first black league, called the Negro National League, which contained such teams as the St. Louis Stars, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Philadelphia Stars, New York Lincoln Giants, and the Newark Eagles." Then, "in 1937, the Negro American League was formed to rival the opposing Negro National League that consisted of the Memphis Red Sox, Kansas City Monarchs, Cleveland Buckeyes, Detroit Stars, and the Hilldale Daisies." (What Are…Leagues: Internet) The two leagues "continued to go strong until the color line was broken in 1947, when the great Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers." Because of this, "…the Negro National League folded following the 1948 season and the Negro American League [folded]…in 1960." (What Are…Leagues: Internet) Moreover, just...

... middle of paper ... an economic strength amongst the African American community. It was said, "By the end of World War II, when they were at their peak, the Negro Leagues were a two million dollar empire." (Conrads, pg. 9) In fact, it was "One of the largest black-dominated business in the country." (Conrads, pg. 9) In fact, it opened up new job opportunities for African Americans as the Negro Leagues gained popularity. It not only acquired money from the African American community, but also from the white community as well; white peoples were infatuated with the "show" that the African Americans put on for them - they thought African Americans playing baseball, was much like a sea - lion juggling.


Although there was a strong sense of inequality amongst the entire American society during this time, African American have prove to be aides in the process of making the game of baseball better for ht future, along with the mentality of the average American. "The African American teams were constant reminder that segregation and inequality existed." (Segregation in Baseball: Internet) What would baseball be without the greats such as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, or Ken Griffey Jr.?
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