Baseball Hall Of Fame elects 1st women
Baseball Hall of Fame Elects First Woman
Mon Feb 27, 3:57 PM
TAMPA, Fla. - Effa Manley became the first woman elected to the baseball Hall of Fame when the former Newark Eagles executive was among 17 people from the Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues chosen Monday by a special committee.
This year's Hall class - 18, including former reliever Bruce Sutter - is by far the biggest in history. The previous record was 11 in 1946.
Manley co-owned the New Jersey-based Eagles with her husband, Abe, and ran the business end of the team for more than a decade. The Eagles won the Negro Leagues World Series in 1946 - one year before Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier.
Manley was white, but married a black man and passed as a black woman, said Larry Lester, a baseball author and member of the voting committee.
"She campaigned to get as much money as possible for these ballplayers, and rightfully so," Lester said.
Manley used baseball to advance civil rights causes with events such as an Anti-Lynching Day at the ballpark. She died in 1981 at age 84.
Buck O'Neil and Minnie Minoso, the only living members among the 39 candidates on the ballot, were not elected by the 12-person panel.
Mule Suttles and Biz Mackey were among the 12 players selected, along with five executives.
Ray Brown, Willard Brown, Andy Cooper, Cristobal Torriente and Jud Wilson were the other former Negro League players elected. Five pre-Negro Leaguers - Frank Grant, Pete Hill, Jose Mendez, Louis Santop and Ben Taylor - were also chosen.
Alex Pompez, Cum Posey, J.L. Wilkinson and Sol White were the other executives elected.
The new inductees will be enshrined with Sutter - elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America last month - on July 30 in Cooperstown, N.Y. The new group brought the Hall's membership to 278.
Only 18 Negro Leagues players had been chosen for the Hall prior to this election.
The election was the culmination of a Hall of Fame project to compile a complete history of blacks in the game from 1860 to 1960.
More than 50 historians, authors and researchers spent four years sifting through box scores in 128 newspapers of sanctioned league games from 1920-1954. The result was the most complete collection of Negro Leagues statistics ever compiled, according to the Hall, and a database that includes 3,000 day-by-day records and career leaders.
"What we're proudest of is the broadening of knowledge," Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey said. "When we started five years ago, we had 20 percent of the stats. We've got 90 percent of the stats now."
Candidates needed nine of 12 votes - 75 percent - from the committee of researchers, professors and baseball historians for election.
Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent chaired the committee, which voted by secret ballot. Vote totals were not released.
O'Neil, now 94, started his playing career in the 1930s and hit .288 lifetime. He became the first black coach in the majors in 1962 with the Chicago Cubs, and played a key role in the building of the Negro League museum in Kansas City. He served on the Hall's Veterans Committee for nearly two decades.
Minoso played in the major leagues for 17 seasons, mostly with the Chicago White Sox, and hit .298 lifetime. He was a seven-time All-Star and won three Gold Gloves in the outfield.
"I know that baseball fans have me in their own Hall of Fame - the one in their hearts," the 83-year-old Minoso said. "That matters more to me than any official recognition.
"If it's meant to be, it's meant to be, and I am truly honored to be considered. I've given my life to baseball, and the game has given me so much."
it's good - she had a lot of pluses and minuses but i'm happy to see her in
Effa Manley stands out among female owners in both verve and intelligence.
Manley was co-owner of the Newark Eagles with her husband, Abe. It had been his life-long dream to own a baseball team. With his eye for talent Abe scouted up-and-coming ballplayers. Effa handled the business and public relations end of the operation. She was also a visionary and protector of the Negro leagues. This led to many clashes at executive meetings and informal gatherings.
The two met at the 1932 World Series and soon married. Abe was twenty years her senior and a professional gambler. They purchased the franchise three years later. Effa soon became a leader within the Negro National League, even helping to squelch a threatened player strike.
Manley is probably best known today for her outspoken condemnation of the player raids by major league executives after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. In 1947 she sold Larry Doby to Bill Veeck in Cleveland. However, she hired a lawyer when Branch Rickey of Brooklyn tried to simply take Monte Irvin without providing compensation. Rickey then offered $2,500 but was refused. Manley later sold Irvin to the Giants for $5,000. Irvin, like others, took a pay cut,$1,500, to join the majors.
I would rather have seen an actual woman player elected first. I really don't get excited about executives in the Hall.