Why should I Care?- Play Ball
by Loraine Ritchey email@example.com
In my dark and dour mood (and unfortunately I am not alone)…. I looked at the page last night that needed to be refreshed and thought
” Sod it ! I am going to read a book” -
and No! the book wasn’t very good ….I spent a miserable night – sitting in the garden I got too much sun…..OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHH it just goes on and on and I realized I feel like and sound like the complainers of the “Keyboard Kops” ilk.
reminded me that this time last year Kelly had an article about Rube Foster . Kelly, who has in the past year also written Freedom’s Light: A Stop Along The Underground Railroad certainly has a postive way with words as Mark has with his camera !
History of the Negro Leagues and the Role of Andrew “Rube” Foster
In February 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster organized the first successful Negro League – called the “Negro National League” – and Foster therefore became known as the “Father of Black Baseball.”
Foster’s triumph came after black baseball players had spent several challenging decades trying to just play ball. America’s original baseball league was the National Association of Base Ball Players (“base ball” was the original spelling of the sport). This league, formed in 1867, banned black players from participating.
By the late 1870s, however, several black players were on the rosters of minor league teams – and, in 1884, a black player was signed to a team in a professional major league. The league was the American Association – and the player was Moses “Fleetwood” Walker of Oberlin, Ohio.
After only a few years of integrated play for a handful of talented stars, though, black players were once again barred from participating in professional baseball. So, they formed all-black baseball teams and “barnstormed,” traveling from town to town, looking for another team to challenge to a game. They got paid by dividing the money that was collected by selling tickets to the game. More than one person tried to organize these teams into a league, but the financial and organizational burdens were too great.
Foster himself was a pitcher, beginning his career with the Chicago Union Giants in 1905, where he chalked up an amazing 51 wins. The following year, he had an astonishing 54-1 pitching record with the Cuban X-Giants. In 1907, he began pitching for the Philadelphia Giants, leaving that team when he accepted a job as the player-manager for the Leland Giants.
In 1910, Foster formed the Chicago American Giants, one of the best black baseball teams in history, sometimes pitching for his team; it is believed that this team won 11 championships.
Then, in 1920, Foster successfully formed a Negro League, the first person to do so. This league consisted of eight teams:
• Chicago American Giants
• Chicago Giants
• Dayton Marcos
• Detroit Stars
• Indianapolis ABC’s
• Kansas City Monarchs
• St. Louis Giants
• Cuban Stars
Rube’s league operated until his death in 1930; the league disbanded in 1931 but it served as a model for the Negro League that formed in 1933.
On April 18, 1946, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League, playing a season on their minor league team and then joining the Dodgers in 1947; Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award.
Lary Doby became the first black star in the American League, first playing for the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 1947.