Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Negro League Baseball

During the late 1800s numerous attempts were made to organize viable, professional black baseball leagues. However, economic realities, travel and lodging difficulties posed by segregation, and the logistics of travel worked together to thwart the establishment of any solid baseball circuit. Nonetheless, in 1896 an enterprising group of baseball men in Galveston, Texas believed that they had come up with scheme that could build a league on a sound footing. All that was needed to implement their plan for the new Lone Star Colored Baseball League Of Texas, they believed, was an experienced baseball man at the helm.

In 1897 no black player in the country enjoyed a better reputation for his managerial and business skills than the legendary Bud Fowler. Fowler had played on integrated teams in organized baseball prior to the imposition of the color barrier, and he had successfully operated independent clubs throughout the country throughout the early 1890s. The Galveston consortium communicated with Fowler by mail in the winter of 1896, outlined their plan for a new league, and invited Fowler to make the long journey from his home in New York to Texas to organize the new league. In addition to serving as the leauge's principal organizer, Fowler was also asked to manage Galveston's entry into the new circuit, the Galveston Flyaways. Fowler accepted on the condition that he be granted exclusive decision making authority in the management of the Galveston club, and made his way to Texas shortly after Christmas, 1896.

In short, the plan for the new league sought to address the problems of finances and travel by confining the league to cities and towns within close proximity, all within central and eastern Texas. In January of 1897 the first organizational meeting of the league was held at the offices of the Galveston Times newspaper with Fowler representing the Galveston club and several other clubs by proxy. Also in attendance was D. H. Johnson, an early Texas baseball pioneer representing a club from Palestine, Texas.

The Lone Star Colored League of Texas was formed with eight clubs representing Galveston, Palestine, Beaumont, Lagrange, Temple, Austin and Houston, each team remitting a deposit of $25, a sum judged sufficient to guarantee continued operation throughout the inaugural season.

Source: http://www.negroleaguebaseball.com/

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