1800s in the Negro Leagues
The first known game between two black teams took place in 1862 in Bedford, NY between the Brooklyn Monitors and Weeksville, NY teams. Within three years, at least 10 black teams played. In 1887, there was an attempt to put together the first formal Negro League, the League of Colored Baseball Clubs, but it lasted only a short while before folding. For the next couple years, there were a couple prominent black teams, but most of the top African-American players like George Stovey, Frank Grant, Sol White, Bud Fowler and Fleet Walker played in the minor leagues during this era, as baseball was still integrated in the 1880s. A couple entirely black teams even played in the minors.
By 1892, though, baseball was becoming increasingly segregated and it became very rare to find a black player in the minors - Fowler and White each played a couple more years, but by the end of the century, the minor leagues were white-only. Additionally, the early 1890s were a rough time for top black teams. Only a few hung around in this period. By 1895, though, the Page Fence Giants were started by Fowler and Home Run Johnson; meanwhile, the Cuban Giants were becoming a stable force in the east. By the end of the decade, the Chicago Unions and Cuban X-Giants also rose to prominence. It would be over a decade before top black teams began to expand in number and another two decades until the first organized Negro League was created.
|Negro League Seasons