Notable Alumni: Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, “Biz” Mackey, “Mule” Suttles and Willie Wells.
The Newark Eagles debuted in the Negro National League in 1936 after the Brooklyn Eagles and Newark Dodgers were consolidated into a single team by co-owners Abe and Effa Manley. Operating out of Ruppert Stadium in Newark, N.J., the Eagles were a consistently competitive team, finishing above .500 all but three times in their 14-year history.
After years of pushing for a championship, the Eagles achieved the ultimate success in 1946, winning the Negro World Series over the Kansas City Monarchs, who had dominated the Negro American League that year with a record of 43-14. While the opposing dugout boasted legends Buck O’Neil and Satchel Paige, the Eagles countered with a dynamic middle-infield pairing in future Hall of Famers Larry Doby and Monte Irvin. After six hard fought games, the Eagles grinded out a Game 7 victory, 3-2, after Paige, the expected Monarchs starting pitcher, had failed to arrive for the game.
The Eagles finally winning the World Series was not the only big change in 1946, however. Earlier that year, integration had begun in organized baseball, and MLB teams soon began sending scouts to survey the talent in the Negro Leagues. It was only a year later that the Eagles were directly affected by this seismic shift in the status quo, losing Doby to the Cleveland Indians as he became the first African-American player in the American League.
As talented players began leaving the Negro Leagues, Effa Manley was determined to ensure they at least did so fairly. Solidifying her position as a stalwart of the Negro Leagues, Manley fought for the recognition of Negro League contracts, which enabled compensation for the loss of players, and garnered further legitimacy for the league itself. Sadly, however, that victory was short-lived, as the league folded not long after in 1948, and the Eagles were sold and relocated to Houston.
Fifty years after the Eagles' World Series victory, Manley would become the first woman elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, joined by former Newark Eagles Biz Mackey and Mule Suttles that same year.