NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUE

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The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".

In 1885, the Cuban Giants formed the first black professional baseball team.[1] The first league, the National Colored Base Ball League, was organized strictly as a minor league[2] but failed in 1887 after only two weeks owing to low attendance. After integration, the quality of the Negro leagues slowly deteriorated and the Negro American League of 1951 is generally considered the last major league season. The last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.

In December 2020, Major League Baseballannounced that it was classifying the seven "Negro Major Leagues" as major leagues, recognizing statistics and approximately 3,400 players who played from 1920 to 1948.[3]

 

Credit LineCollection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture