African-Americans in Baseball

African-Americans were banned from major league of the game, until Jackie Robinson stepped on the field for the Dodgers. From 1871 to 1947, African-American players were forced to play only those teams made up of blacks. Here are some well-known African-Americans, who not only played for their respective teams, but also fought against racism.

Bud Fowler
Bud Fowler was born on March 16, 1858, in Fort Plain, New York. His real name was John W. Jackson, and he learned baseball in Cooperstown, New York. He was the first known African-American professional player, and is first mentioned to have pitched for a team in Chelsea, in April 1878. Later the same month, he pitched a game for the Lynn Live Oaks against the Boston Nationals, and finished that season with Worcester. He continued to play for teams in New England and Canada for the next four years. He also played for teams in Niles, Ohio, Stillwater, and Minnesota. Fowler died on February 26, 1913, in Frankfort, New York. His death was primarily because of illness and poverty, and received national attention.

Rube Foster
Andrew Rube Foster was born on September 17, 1879, in Calvert, Texas. He is considered to be one of the best African-American pitchers of the 1900s. He started his professional career in 1897, with an independent black team Waco Yellow Jackets. Foster founded the Chicago American Giants, which was considered as one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. He went on to play for Frank Leland’s Chicago Union Giants, Bardeen’s Otsego Independents, and Cuban X-Giants. Later, he joined the Chicago Leland Giants as its playing manager, and under his leadership, the team won 110 games. Out of these, it won 48 straight matches and lost only ten matches. In 1920, Foster, along with the owners of six other mid-western clubs, formed a professional circuit for African-American teams. He died in 1930, because of mental illness.

Jackie Robinson
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (popularly known as Jackie Robinson) was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. He graduated from Dakota Junior High School in 1935, and got enrolled in Muir Tech. Jackie was inspired by his elder brothers Mack and Frank, to pursue his interest in sports. He played in the baseball, football, and basketball teams, and was very fond of tennis. He was selected for the All-Star Games, from 1949 to 1954, and was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award, in 1947. He also went on to win the National League MVP Award in 1949, being the first black player to be so honored. He was the first African-American television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first African-American vice-president of a major American corporation. Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He died on October 24, 1972, in Stamford, Connecticut, of a heart attack.

Moses Fleetwood Walker
Moses Fleetwood Walker was born on October 7, 1857, in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. He played for Oberlin College’s first varsity baseball team, in the spring of 1881, and for the University of Michigan, in 1882. Walker signed with the Northwestern League Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883, and played in Western League for Cleveland, in 1885. He also played for Waterbury, in the Eastern League through 1886. Later in 1887, Walker moved to the International League Newark Little Giants. After he was attacked by a group of white men in Syracuse, Walker became a firm supporter of black nationalism. He also published a 47-page pamphlet titled Our Home Colony: A Treatise on the Past, Present and Future of the Negro Race in America. Walker died on May 11, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Besides the players mentioned above, many others like Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, Josh Gibson, Walter ‘Buck’ Leonard, and Ray Dandridge were also some famous African-Americans in baseball.

Origin and History of Baseball

A bat, a ball, a ninety-square-feet square or diamond patch and two teams with nine payers each; that is all you need for a baseball game. Yes, baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each. Each team has to score runs by hitting a ball with a bat and touching each of the four bases marked on the ground. One turn at the batting end makes an inning and nine such innings constitute one baseball game. Where did baseball originate? Since when has baseball been played? Let us find out.

History of Baseball

It was once believed that Abner Doubleday, a United States Army officer and Union General in the American Civil War, invented baseball. However, no evidence in favor of this belief has been found. It was in 1364, during the rule of King Vlaicu Voda, that Oina, a game similar to baseball was mentioned. It is also believed that baseball evolved from the North-American game of rounders. The American and British documents of the 18th century show many references to baseball and the bat-and-ball game. The Russians played a version of baseball, way back in the 14th century. This game of theirs was known as Lapta. Lapta was played between a pitcher and a batter. A batter was supposed to hit the ball thrown, with a short stick and then run to the opposite side and back, in order to score runs. Lately, it has been found that baseball was played by the British before anyone else.

The modern-day rules of baseball have been derived from Alexander Cartwright’s list of baseball rules, which he codified in 1845. On June 19, 1846, the New York Nine team played against the Knickerbockers defeating them with a score of 23-1. This was the first baseball game to be recorded. In 1953, Alexander Cartwright was declared as being the inventor of baseball. During the early 1960s, the number of baseball clubs dropped drastically, resulting in a temporary decline in the popularity of the game. The Civil War caused the number of baseball clubs to drop, while also leading to the spread of baseball to other parts of the world. By the time the war ended, people from different regions had grown interest in baseball. By the 1960s, the game had become a national pastime of America.

The year 1871 witnessed the establishment of the first professional baseball league that was called the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The National League was founded in 1876.

Today, baseball is played all around the world. It has been played in the US and in Canada, since a relatively long time. But the first baseball league outside US and Canada was established in Cuba in 1878. It has been one of the strongest teams in international baseball. Between the world wars and after the Second World War, baseball leagues were established in several countries across the globe. In recent years, baseball has become popular in Australia. The increasing popularity of baseball has given it a place in the list of Olympic sports.