The Negro Leagues, 1869–1960


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About the Book

At his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, former Negro League player Buck Leonard said, “Now, we in the Negro Leagues felt like we were contributing something to baseball, too, when we were playing…. We loved the game…. But we thought that we should have and could have made the major leagues.” The Negro Leagues had some of the best talent in baseball but from their earliest days the players were segregated from those leagues that received all the recognition. This history of the Negro Leagues begins with the second half of the 19th century and the early attempts by African American players to be allowed to play with white teammates, and progresses through the “Gentleman’s Agreement” in the 1890s which kept baseball segregated.
The establishment of the first successful Negro League in 1920 is covered and various aspects of the game for the players discussed (lodgings, travel accommodations, families, difficulties because of race, off-season jobs, play and life in Latin America). In 1960, the Birmingham Black Barons went out of business and took the Negro Leagues with them. There are many stories of individual players, owners, umpires, and others involved with the Negro Leagues in the U.S. and Latin America, along with photos, appendices, notes, bibliography and index.

About the Author(s)

Leslie A. Heaphy is an associate professor of history at Kent State University, Stark Campus, in Canton, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Leslie A. Heaphy

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 383
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7521-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0305-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface     1
Introduction     3

1 Background and Origins     9
2 Laying the Foundation     23
3 The First Negro National League     36
4 The Negro Leagues Move East     56
5 Not the Stats, but Life as a Ball Player Off the Field     69
6 Negro League Owners and Management     86
7 A New Negro National League     101
8 Publicity and Promotion     123
9 Barnstorming     135
10 The Local Scene     154
11 South of the Border     167
12 Moving toward Integration     180
13 Opening the Doors     198
14 Demise of the Negro Leagues     211
15 Conclusion     225

Appendix A: African American Teams (Competing Before 1920)     231
Appendix B: African American Players (Whose Careers Began Before 1920)     233
Appendix C: Negro League Teams and Opponents     236
Appendix D: Negro League Standings (1920–1955)     239
Appendix E: Latin American Players in the Negro Leagues     242
Appendix F: Negro League Players in Latin America     244

Notes     247
Bibliographic Essay     275
Bibliography     283
Index     365

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title
  • Finalist, Seymour Medal—Society for American Baseball Research
  • “excellent overview…extensive notes…thorough index…essential piece to your baseball history collection”—Against the Grain
  • “this book [is] a milestone in Negro league historiography”—Choice
  • “a true history…Mrs. Heaphy has done a fine job of researching an obscure corner of baseball history…a scholarly effort that never loses its narrative quality”—The Diamond Angle
  • “excellent…a fine job”—Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
  • “very thorough presentation”—The Newport Plain Talk