February 6, 2005


Future looking brighter at Negro Leagues Museum (DOUG TUCKER, February 6, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sparked by growing interest in the important story it tells, big things are happening for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

The historic building down the street from where Rube Foster founded the Negro Leagues in 1920 will soon house the museum's offices, creating more floor space for exhibits. Money is being raised to open a research and educational center, as well as interactive exhibits.

A growing circle of friends, such as San Diego Padres owner John Moores, is helping curators obtain artifacts. A television miniseries on the Negro Leagues is even in the works.

''Can you imagine anything worse than to lose your sense of history?'' Moores asked. ''That's what almost happened with the Negro Leagues.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2005 9:07 AM

Nothing stopped them from buying cameras, taking pictures and keeping score cards and statistics. Instead of real evidence, now we are polluting real baseball history by making choices on who gets into Cooperstown based on anecdotal evidence and cute epigrams like 'He could throw a pork chop past a hungry wolf.' instead of actual evidence like batting averages, home run records etc.

Organized baseball, even when it was called Base Ball back in the 1890s, had written records. All the Negro Leagues have is crap. Maybe if they have their own museum, they no longer have to fill up Cooperstown with fantastical nonsense.

Posted by: Bart at February 6, 2005 12:04 PM


The records are fairly extensive, including for their matchups against ofays, wherein they fared pretty well.

Posted by: oj at February 6, 2005 12:12 PM

How many home runs did Josh Gibson hit in Negro League competition?

What was Satchel Paige's ERA in any of the years when he pitched in the Negro Leagues?

How many bases did Cool Papa Bell steal in any of his years?

Maybe there is some record somewhere of a Negro League allstar team beating a bunch of ham-and-eggers or a group of drunken backup big leaguers but there is no written record anywhere of Negro League performance against anyone for any period of time. There are no photos of play where major leaguers of note supposedly played against Negro League players in the US. How much money was on the line or was it merely exhibition? You show me a best of 7 matchup between the 1927 Yankees or the 1934 Cardinals and the Negro League world Champs and then you have an argument. Otherwise, you have nothing.

If there is one sport in America where all the ancillary numbers tell the story it is baseball. The Negro League teams were in places like New York, Kansas City, DC, Newark etc. What happened to the box scores? Did they get burned? Did Judy Johnson's dog eat them? Or was the 'Negro League' in reality a semi-pro affair, little more than a jumped-up church league? They aren't putting anyone from Krajewski's Bar's softball team in the HOF so why are these people whose qualifications are every bit as ephemeral being installed?

There are records of the Puerto Rican Leagues. We know how many home runs the Bull, Orlando Cepeda, Sr hit. There are records for the Cuban Leagues, we know how many wins Luis Tiant, Sr had. There are records for the Japanese Leagues, we know how many homers Sadaharu Oh hit. That means we have some method of judging how great their performances really were by standards which are universally agreed on. Because we can judge from existing records, people from these leagues belong in the Hall.

At some point, we need hard evidence. All we have with the Negro Leagues is anecdote. When they start putting in people from the Oshkosh Volunteer Fire Department league, then they can put the Negro Leaguers in.

If we refuse to enforce real standards, then we might as well open the doors to everyone, and then achievements mean nothing. I thought that the dumbing down of America was something conservatives were supposed to oppose? The lionization of Negro Leaguers is simply affirmative action by another name.

Posted by: Bart at February 6, 2005 12:46 PM

Evidently the players aren't the only ones taking steriods.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 6, 2005 7:32 PM


Posted by: oj at February 6, 2005 10:23 PM

I was born in 1945. Bet I'm the only person on this blog who actually attended a Negro League Game. Then again maybe not, since I don't remember when they officially went out of business, but I believe the Black American league continued until the 60's. I saw Memphis Red Sox playing Birmingham Black Barons in aproximately 1953.

Regarding Bart v OJ, above. Bart is probably correct regarding statistics, but obviously Blacks are the engine behind all the major sports in America today, and therefore one would surmise the level of talent prior to 1950 was greater in the Negro Leagues.

Posted by: h-man at February 7, 2005 4:52 AM

OJ, which question are you answering and what is your source?

h-man, given the performance of Black major leaguers in the late 40s and 50s, you may be right about talent, but so what? The same comment could definitely be made about the Cuban League. However, one thing about the Negro Leaguers is that they lacked fundamentals. Jackie Robinson, for example, was a dreadful fielder and a free swinger until he was in the bigs for about 3 years. Ernie Banks was a great hitter but a miserable shortstop, almost like Michael Jackson wearing a glove on one hand for no apparent reason. Satchel Paige was an old man when he played in the bigs but his career trajectory there looks like a million guys who have great stuff on their first trip around the league and then get figured out.

Black supremacy in sports is the direct result of the breeding practices of slave owners and traders. But then OJ assures us that we can't selectively breed human beings.

Posted by: Bart at February 7, 2005 7:20 AM

We didn't stop the Israelis from doing anything. We were there doing it for them.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2005 8:30 AM