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Negro Leagues
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Negro Leagues Legacy

Just the facts:
Thirty things you might not have known about the Negro Leagues and its players
By Bill Ladson/

1. Country singer Charlie Pride played in the Negro Leagues for the Birmingham Black Barons and Memphis Red Sox in the early 1950s.

2. Jerry Hairston Jr.'s grandfather, Sam, played in the Negro Leagues for the Birmingham Black Barons and Cincinnati/Indianapolis Clowns from 1944 to 1950.

3. In his first game after being discharged from the army, Leon Day pitched a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Stars in 1946.

4. Buck Leonard played 17 years from 1934 TO 1950 for the Homestead Grays, the longest tenure with one team in the Negro Leagues.


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Feature Lineup
Schedule/ Archive
Award winners
Jimmy Rollins and Juan Pierre accepted Legacy Awards last week from the employees at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. More>>

The motives
Branch Rickey had several reasons for signing Jackie Robinson to a pro contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Historian Steve Goldman has the details. More>>

Segregated Baseball: A Kaleidoscopic review
While the very existence of the Negro Leagues was necessary because of the racial divides in the United States, black baseball not only survived -- it excelled. More>

Traveling show
Barnstorming was common place in the Negro Leagues. More>

5. In 1945, Jackie Robinson played shortstop in his only season with the Kansas City Monarchs.

6. The Monarchs won the first Negro League World Series in 1924. They defeated the Hilldale Giants.

7. Willard Brown of the Monarchs once hit a home run on pitch that bounced in front of the plate.

8. In 1950, Sam Jethroe became the first Negro League player to play for a Boston team in the Major Leagues. In 1950, he won Rookie of the Year honors with the Braves.

9. In 1939, shortstop Pee Wee Butts threw three balls into the stands during his first game with the Baltimore Elite Giants.

10. At 16, Roy Campanella was the starting catcher for the Baltimore Elite Giants.

11. Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe played for 12 Negro League teams, including the New York Black Yankees and Chicago American Giants. Radcliffe was reportedly willing to jump ship for more money.

12. Martin Dihigo has the distinction of being the only in player in baseball history to be inducted into the Cuban, Mexican and United States National Baseball Halls of Fame.

13. Luis Tiant, Sr., the father of the Boston Red Sox pitcher, played seven seasons for the New York Cubans in the 1930s and '40s.

14. Rube Foster, co-owner/manager of the Chicago American Giants and organizer of the Negro National League, was known to trade his players to help create parity in NNL.

15. Josh Gibson played his first professional baseball game for the Homestead Grays in 1929 after the team asked fans in the stands for a backup catcher to replace the injured Buck Ewing.

16. Reggie Jackson's father, Martinez, played for the Newark Eagles in the 1920s and '30s.

17. Elston Howard and Ernie Banks were roommates when they played for Monarchs.

18. Olympic track star Jesse Owens refused to compete against Cool Papa Bell in a race in 1936.

19. After the 1938 season, Abe Manley, co-owner of the Newark Eagles, traded Terris McDuffie to the New York Black Yankees because McDuffie had an affair with Manley's wife, Effa.

20. In 1966, Ted Williams became the first person to publicly suggest that Negro League players should be considered for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

21. When he played in the Negro Leagues, Willie Mays' nickname was "Buck," not the "Say Hey Kid."

22. Rube Foster is the only manager from the Negro Leagues to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

23. Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, managed John Henry Lewis, the first black light-heavyweight champion.

24. In 1934, Satchel Paige defeated Dizzy Dean four out of the six times they met when the Kansas City Monarchs faced Dean's All-Stars.

25. The Negro National League used white umpires during its first two years of existence. Bill Donaldson became the first African American to umpire a Negro League game in 1923.

26. Josh Gibson's son, Josh Jr., played two years for the Homestead Grays and one year in the minor leagues.

27. Don Newcombe is the only pitcher from the Negro Leagues to win a Cy Young award in the Major Leagues (in 1956).

28. After 17 years in the Negro Leagues, Ray Dandridge played in the New York Giants' minor league system in 1949. He was never promoted to the Major Leagues during his fours years in the organization.

29. In 1944 and '45, the Clowns played their home games in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

30. As a member of the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952, Hank Aaron batted cross-handed and played shortstop.

Bill Ladson is an editor/producer for