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*This date marks the anniversary of the Negro Baseball League in 1886. That year, the Southern League of Colored Base Ballists became the first Negro league.
It was not until 1920 that an organized Black league (the Negro National League) survived a full season. The second league formed in 1923 (Eastern Colored League), and the following year the Kansas City Monarchs defeated the Philadelphia Hilldales in the first "colored" World Series. Many great teams played in the Negro Leagues, as did many great players.
Some students of baseball consider James "Cool Papa" Bell the smoothest and fleetest outfielder ever to play and that Josh Gibson, who averaged.362 over his 16-year career, was the best offensive threats of the times. Of course, no list could be complete without the legendary pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige, the greatest pitcher of the Negro Leagues. In 1937, the Negro American League was formed.
The elevation of Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 not only opened the doors for other African American players, it also signaled the end of the Negro Leagues. Perhaps the biggest misfortune for Negro League players is that segregation made it impossible for their greatest athletes to play against the greatest whites in the major leagues.
The Negro Baseball Leagues A Photographic History
By Phil Dixon with Patrick J. Hannigan
Copyright 1992, Jed Clauss and Joanna Paulsen
Ameron House Publishing