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League of Colored Base Ball Players

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  • League of Colored Base Ball Players

    The League of Colored Base Ball Players, a.k.a. National Colored Baseball League or National League of Colored Base Ball Players, began fielding teams in 1887 after accessing the success of the original Cuban Giants barnstorming club (the first all-black professional team, formed in 1885.) It had been formed over the winter in Baltimore in the image of the established National League.

    Surprisingly, the league was permitted to sign the National Agreement which granted it formal membership in organized baseball. The clubs represented the cities of Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Louisville and Baltimore. Unfortunately, the league collapsed after only ten days, partially due to Washington and Cincinnati dropping out on the eve of opening day. Players, who were on the road at the time, had to find odd jobs to earn their fare home. No successful black league would be organized prior to Rube Foster’s efforts in 1920. Attempts to do so failed in 1890, 1906 and ‘10.

    The failure of the League of Colored Base Ball Players either led to or highlighted the lack of commitment, financially, for a national black league. Ball clubs of the era first developed a local or regional following and traveled throughout that area making money or at least covering costs. Many black entrepreneurs would rather stay within the financial security of local competition instead of traveling extensively without any guarantee of having their costs covered.

  • #2
    The NCBBL needed the Cuban Giants team to represent Trenton in order to reduce transportation costs and increase attendance. Washington would have been a logical 8th team. Cincinnati and Washington did agree to join the league, but never played any league games.

    We would know a lot more about some of the great black 19th Century players had the league managed to survive.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."


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