Negro League players in the Hall of Fame

by Bill Chuck on February 4, 2016

Satchel-Paige-at-Hall-of-Fame-inductionSatchel Paige at his Hall of Fame induction.
He concluded his speech saying, “I am the proudest man in the place today.”

On February 4, 1971, 45 years ago today, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that former Negro League players will have a separate wing in the Hall of Fame.

Kuhn deserved an “A” for this idea, but like so many of his actions, Kuhn deserved an “E” for “error” on your scorecard (I remain stunned that Kuhn is in the Hall and the great Marvin Miller never earned the honor).

As Satchel Paige strongly stated: “I was just as good as the white boys. I ain’t going in the back door of the Hall of Fame.”

Due to the controversy that Kuhn’s “separate but equal” Jim Crow-like announcement caused, on July 6, 1971, it was decided inclusion in regular Hall of Fame was more fitting and more of an honor for the former Negro League stars.

Tom Singer on MLB.com, as part of their Negro Leagues Legacy series wrote a great piece about Ted Williams 1966 Hall of Fame induction speech in which he urged the inclusion of Negro Leagues players into the Hall:

“The other day Willie Mays hit his five hundred and twenty-second home run. He has gone past me, and he’s pushing, and I say to him, ‘Go get ’em Willie.’ Baseball gives every American boy a chance to excel. Not just to be as good as anybody else, but to be better. This is the nature of man and the name of the game. “I hope some day Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson will be voted into the Hall of Fame as symbols of the great Negro players who are not here only because they weren’t given the chance.”

Negro League Players who were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame starting in 1971

From the Tom Singer MLB.com article

Name Position Team known for HOF induction
Hank Aaron Shortstop Indianapolis Clowns 1982
Cool Papa Bell Center field Homestead Grays 1974
Oscar Charleston Center field Pittsburgh Crawfords 1976
Ray Dandridge Third Base Newark Eagles 1987
Leon Day Pitcher, second base, outfield Newark Eagles 1995
Martin Dihigo All New York Cubans 1977
Larry Doby Second base Newark Eagles 1998
Bill Foster Pitcher Chicago American Giants 1996
Rube Foster Pitcher/manager Chicago American Giants 1981
Josh Gibson Catcher Homestead Grays 1972
Monte Irvin Shortstop Newark Eagles 1973
Judy Johnson Third base Hilldale Daisies 1975
Buck Leonard First base Homestead Grays 1972
Pop Lloyd Shortstop Chicago American Giants 1977
Willie Mays Center field Birmingham Black Barons 1979
Satchel Paige Pitcher Kansas City Monarchs 1971 (first)
Jackie Robinson Shortstop Kansas City Monarchs 1962
Bullet Rogan Pitcher Kansas City Monarchs 1998
Hilton Smith Pitcher Kansas City Monarchs 2001
Turkey Stearnes Center Field Detroit Stars 2000
Willie Wells Shortstop St. Louis Stars 1997
Smokey Joe Williams Pitcher New York Lincoln Giants 1999

Satchel Paige was the first to be voted into the Hall in 1971

Fortunately, Kuhn’s clumsy initial effort was corrected before the induction ceremony.
Screenshot 2016-02-03 18.34.24

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