Negro American League

From BR Bullpen


The Negro American League was founded as a midwestern Negro League in 1937, formed mostly from clubs that had either played independently or in the Negro Southern League. It stood as a rival to the Negro National League, which had become the dominant eastern league in 1933.

On December 16, 2020, the Negro American League for the period 1937-1948 was one of seven Negro Leagues to be recognized by Major League Baseball as a major league.

The league operated until 1962. Prominent teams included the Kansas City Monarchs, Birmingham Black Barons, Chicago American Giants and Memphis Red Sox. From 1942 to 1948 the league champion played against the champion of the Negro National League in the Negro World Series.

After the integration of Major League Baseball, the NNL disbanded, and four of its surviving teams joined the NAL, splitting it into east and west divisions. The league played at what Negro League historians believe was close to major league quality through about 1950. The continued loss of established players major, minor, and foreign leagues plus the growing inability of the NAL to sign sufficient young talent, as more young players were being signed directly by Major League teams and sent to the minor leagues, caused a precipitous decline in the league's quality and caused many teams to disband within a few years. The NAL continued to operate through the 1950s, but the average level of play continued to deteriorate down toward a semi-pro level, and it suspended operations after 1962 and was never revived. Media coverage and record-keeping of the NAL after 1948 declined even faster, going from scanty to virtually non-existent.

Individual semi-pro teams barnstormed for a few years after the league's demise, offering opportunities for young African-American baseball players who were otherwise not being scouted by Organized Ball clubs. As integration throughout the majors and minors became more complete, most of those teams had disbanded by the end of the 1960s.

The Indianapolis Clowns were the last former NAL team operating, disbanding about 1988.

Champions (through 1950)[edit]

Franchises (through 1950)[edit]

Negro Leagues

Major Leagues
American Negro League East-West League Eastern Colored League Negro American League Negro National League Negro Southern League

Other Leagues: League of Colored Baseball Clubs | West Coast Negro Baseball League
Integrated Leagues (Pre-1947): Middle States League | Nebraska State League

Related Articles: East-West Game | Negro World Series | Special Committee on the Negro Leagues | 2006 Special Committee on the Negro Leagues Election
Related Categories: Ballparks | Executives | Managers | Owners | Players | Teams