Blacks in Baseball: A Historical Time Line

Posted: April 12, 2007

Early 1800s Baseball is introduced in the United States.

1860s During the Civil War, soldiers, black freemen and emancipated slaves play the game across the widening map of America.

1867 Philadelphia's Pythian Club, founded by former cricket players James H. Francis and Francis Wood, plays in the 1867 Colored World Championship.

1878 John "Bud Fowler" Jackson becomes the first black pro baseball player, for a team in Chelsea, Mass.

1880s Black teams such as the St. Louis Black Stockings and New York Cuban Giants are formed.

1883 Chicago White Stockings star Cap Anson, pictured right, refuses to play against the Toledo Blue Stockings unless black catcher Moses "Fleetwood" Walker is removed from the field.

1887 The International League bans future contracts with black players, starting an era of segregation that will last until 1945.

1890s "Colored" teams, in an effort to survive, take to the road, and barnstorming - a term originally used to describe a flying circus - is born.

1901 Baltimore Orioles manager John McGraw attempts to play black second baseman Charlie Grant by disguising him as a Cherokee named Tokohama.

1920 Owner-pitcher Andrew "Rube" Foster of the Chicago American Giants joins with fellow "colored" team owners to form the seven-team Negro National League.

1920 The six-team Negro Southern League debuts.

1923 Independent team owners Ed Bolden and Nat Strong organize the six-team Eastern Colored League.

1924 The first Negro World Series is played between the Negro National League's Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Colored League's Hilldale club of Darby-Yeadon.

1931 The death of Rube Foster, the Great Depression, and the flight of the popular Kansas City Monarchs doom the Negro National League, leaving the Negro Southern League as the only "major" league for black players.

1933 A new Negro National League forms.

1937 The seven-team Negro American League is born and includes the Kansas City Monarchs as well as the Homestead Grays, who feature Josh Gibson, also known as the "black Babe Ruth."

1945 Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey signs Kansas City Monarchs infielder Jackie Robinson and assigns him to Montreal of the International League.

April 15, 1947 Robinson debuts with Brooklyn, becoming the first black major-league baseball player of the modern era.

July 1947 Cleveland owner Bill Veeck signs Larry Doby, pictured right, making the former Newark Eagles slugger the first black American League player.

1948 Leroy "Satchel" Paige, the Kansas City Monarchs pitching legend, becomes the oldest rookie ever when he signs with the Cleveland Indians. He later becomes the first black player to pitch in a World Series.

1952 With more than 150 former Negro-leagues players now integrated into pro ball, the Negro American League folds.

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers all-star catcher Roy Campanella wins the National League's most-valuable-player award, the third such award won by the Philadelphia-born future Hall of Famer (the others were in 1951 and 1953).

1955 Jackie Robinson wins his only World Series as Brooklyn defeats the New York Yankees.

1957 Ten years after Jackie Robinson's debut led to the National League run on Negro-league talent, the Phillies finally integrate on April 22, adding John Kennedy, a former shortstop for the Birmingham Black Barons and Kansas City Monarchs.

1957 Jackie Robinson retires rather than accept a trade to the archrival New York Giants.

1959 Twelve years after Jackie Robinson joined Brooklyn, the Boston Red Sox become the final big-league club to integrate when Pumpsie Green debuts on July 21.

1959 Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs becomes the first black player to win two consecutive most-valuable-player awards.

1961 Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants becomes the first black player to hit four home runs in a game.

1962 Former Kansas City Monarchs manager Buck O'Neil, left, becomes the majors' first black coach, with the Chicago Cubs.

1966 Baltimore Orioles leftfielder Frank Robinson becomes the first major-leaguer to win MVP awards in both the National and American Leagues, adding the American League trophy to his 1961 award, won with Cincinnati.

1966 Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles becomes the first black player, and the 12th overall, to win the Triple Crown.

1971 On Sept. 1, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh pens the first-ever all-minority lineup, a starting nine that includes future Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente.

1972 Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the first Hispanics to play professionally in the modern era, dies in a plane crash while en route to helping earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

1974 Hank Aaron, below left, of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking the all-time mark, set by Babe Ruth. Aaron's career total of 755 remains the big-league record.

1975 Frank Robinson becomes the first black manager of a big-league club when he becomes player-manager of the Cleveland Indians.

1975 The number of African American major-leaguers reaches 25 percent.

1977 Bill Lucas of the Atlanta Braves becomes the first black general manager in the major leagues.

1992 Cito Gaston, below, of the Toronto Blue Jays becomes the first African American to manage a team to a world championship, the first of his two consecutive Series wins.

2006 The number of African Americans in the majors falls to 8.4 percent, keeping them on a path that could lead them to fall behind Asian-born players as baseball's third- largest minority group. Hispanics are the largest.


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