Negro League Baseball and its storied legacy rightfully began in the late 1880s, but on this day in 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster, known universally as the “father of Black baseball,” established the Negro National League (NNL) and held its first game in Indianapolis.
Foster was considered by many the best Black pitcher of his time, and even played on a multi-ethnic minor league team in the early 1900s. Black players were able to play professionally in small leagues and in Latin America before the NNL’s existence, all done in response to not being unable to play for the largely White major and minor leagues.
Foster, like many other Black players, found fame as a Negro League player. Much like his predecessors of the 1880s, Foster joined forces with other team owners in the Midwest to form the NNL in response to the lack of opportunities present for Black baseball players who were just as gifted as their White counterparts.
The NNL lasted from 1920 to 1931, making it the first Negro League to find success beyond one season. Foster’s Chicago American Giants faced off against teams from Indianapolis, St. Louis, Cleveland and other cities in the region.
However, Foster’s mental health and finances declined and the NNL failed under the pressures of The Great Depression. The NNL’s success did give rise to a series of other Black baseball leagues, such as the Eastern Colored League (ECL) and the Negro American League (NAL).
When Major League Baseball (MLB) was looking for an infusion of talent, they started looking at the the often faster and stronger players in the Negro Leagues. That ultimately led to Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB the color barrier in 1947 as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The NAL was the only major Black league to continue in the Robinson era. While packed with stars, it could not compete with the quickly expanding MLB and its attractive salaries and perks.
It is telling that the MLB was at first resistant to Black players but couldn’t deny their talent. Robinson and other Black players endured taunts and death threats but still found a way to blossom on the field.
That unconquerable spirit present in Robinson, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson and other great Black players over the years was all due to the foresight of Rube Foster and his extraordinary contribution to the game.
Like BlackAmericaWeb.com on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25