The only vestige of Negro League baseball today is remembered in Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. I think all of use should be proud of the honor bestowed upon the league and the legendary stars who played in the league. Such as the great Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Jackie Robinson, who was credited with breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.
This is where I have a problem – “Breaking the Color Barrier”. Could it be that this is a polite or a sanitized way of disguising the wretchedness imposed upon a race of people as a result of the Plessey Supreme Court decision that made segregation the law of the land for more than fifty years? This decision was so wretched that Blacks were not allowed to drink from the same water fountain or use the same toilet facilities, let alone play a game. Let’s be clear, baseball is a game but in reality it’s a business. This is simply what this event was about – business.
A few years after Mr. Robinson, who was not the best player in the Negro Leagues, crossed over he won the Major League’s most valuable player award, which means he was better than all the white players playing that year. To put this into prospective, the Major Leagues were losing money, and the Negro Leagues were flourishing. Therefore, the “scheme” was to take the Negro players and bring them into the Major Leagues. As history shows by doing so, the Negro Leagues was put out of business because all the great players followed Robinson.
Again, I want to be clear that I take nothing away for Mr. Robinson or any of the greats because they were GREAT, which was why they were marketable from a business standpoint. To prove my point, when was the last time you saw a baseball player successfully steal home in a game? This was something Mr. Robinson was able to do and did regularly?
Let me close by paying homage to the greatest man in the Negro Leagues history. Especially, its founder Andrew “Rube” Foster, whose vision has become little more than a footnote to the Leagues history. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…