Cutouts of six legendary figures from baseball’s Negro Leagues were in the stands behind the Los Angeles Angels dugout Sunday as part of Major League Baseball’s celebration of their centennial.
A Negro Leagues tribute video was played on Angel Stadium’s scoreboards before the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 victory in an interleague game.
The cutouts were of Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, Biz Mackey, Bullet Rogan and Martin Dihigo. All are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
All MLB players, managers, coaches and umpires wore a symbolic Negro Leagues 100th anniversary logo patch during Sunday’s games. The logo was also featured on base jewels and lineup cards.
The Dodgers celebrated the centennial Thursday with a virtual forum featuring manager Dave Roberts and former Dodger and current broadcaster Jerry Hairston Jr., whose grandfather played in the Negro Leagues.
“Celebrations like this are so important to shine a light on trailblazers in our sport that helped open doors for opportunities for people of color, not just in baseball but in society at large,” said Naomi Rodriguez, the Dodgers vice president, external affairs & community relations.
“The impact of the Negro Leagues continues to be felt to this day in terms of entertainment and diversity in our game and we’re proud to help commemorate this milestone.”
MLB has added a page to its website on the history of the Negro Leagues and its players, MLB.com/negroleagues. It includes player and team profiles, historic photos of Negro Leagues players, and videos featuring interviews by Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick.
Foster formed the Chicago American Giants in 1911 who would have great success on the field and financially. However, he was frustrated by how fellow owners and players were being treated by white booking agents.
In 1919, he began writing a series of columns in the Chicago Defender newspaper, where he advocated the need for a Black professional baseball league that would “create a profession that would equal the earning capacity of any other profession … keep Colored baseball from the control of whites (and) do something concrete for the loyalty of the Race.”
Foster and his fellow owners created the Negro National League on Feb. 13, 1920, giving opportunities to Blacks who were barred from MLB as players, but also as managers, executives and umpires.
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