A Long Time Coming: Negro League Baseball Players Elected in Baseball HOF

In Summary

Two of the most storied Negro League Baseball Players earn flowers way past due by being elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

There is no “America’s Pastime” without the Negro Leagues. 

Two pioneers of the Negro League, Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler, will receive their flowers past due, but the moment will be grand as the two will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022. 

O’Neil and Fowler are two of six Negro League and pre-Negro League players under consideration for the Hall of Fame class of 2022. The others were Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Oliva. 

All six players will officially be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, according to the Hall of Fame website. 

Related: African American Stars Discuss “The Culture & Journey of the Black Baseball Player” 

During his playing days, O’Neil had an illustrious 10-year career with the Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs, according to the Hall of Fame. 

O’Neil then became a scout for the Chicago Cubs after his playing days and became the first Black coach in American League or National League history with Chicago. 

Before his death in 2006, he helped found the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. 

According to the Hall of Fame, Fowler was the first Black professional baseball player. Fowler was a pitcher and played in the infield for different teams in several leagues. He died in 1913. 

There were seven leagues and about 3,400 Negro League players from 1920 to 1948. 

In December 2020, the Negro Leagues statistics became a part of official MLB stats. The move was made to correct the wrongs of not recognizing the Negro Leagues as its equivalent, which included statistics and records of thousands of Black players. 

With the induction ceremony of Negro League players, the MLB also said it was to correct a longtime oversight in the game’s history.  

RelatedHank Aaron, Baseball’s One-Time Home Run King, Dies at 86 

Major League Baseball was a gatekeeper, but the Negro Leagues were a key to opening up the door to unbreakable records, an unmatched flair and a window into the true pioneers of the sport. 

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