Overall History of the Negro Major Leagues
by Todd Bolton, Negro Leagues Baseball Historian for the Society of American
Baseball Research (SABR) Negro League Committee
For more info on the history of baseball visit http://www.sabr.org
For more info on the history of the Negro Leagues visit http://www.BlackBaseball.com.

The first successful organized Negro League was established on February 13, 1920, at a YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri. Andrew "Rube" Foster was the driving force behind the organization of this league and served as its president. As a result of his leadership role in the early years of the leagues, Foster is known as "the father of black baseball." This first league was known as the Negro National League with member teams in the South and Midwest. The NNL operated successfully until 1931.

Three years after the founding of the NNL, the Eastern Colored League was formed on December 16, 1923, with Edward H. Bolden serving as chairman. In 1924, the very first Negro World Series was played between the ECL and the NNL champions. The ECL collapsed in the spring of 1928 but the member teams re-emerged in 1929 as the American Negro League.

The depression years were especially difficult times for black baseball. In 1932, the East-West League was formed, but folded before the season ended. The Negro Southern League was the only black professional league to survive the 1932 season. The NSL was a minor league before and after the 1932 season.

In 1933, a second Negro National League was formed, and was the only black professional league operating until 1937. The league included teams from the East and the Midwest through 1935. By 1936, the NNL was operating exclusively in the East.

In 1937, teams in the South and the Midwest formed the Negro American League. The NAL and the NNL co-existed through the 1948 season. In 1949, the NNL was absorbed in the NAL, which operated as the last black major league through 1960.

As in the white major leagues, the Negro leagues had their own World Series. Over the years, eleven inter-league Black World Series were held. The NNL and ECL played from 1924 through 1927. Champions from the second NNL and the NAL competed from 1942 through 1948. Also in 1933, the black teams began all-star game competition. The game was known as the East-West game and was played each summer at Chicago's Comiskey Park. This game was considered more important than the World Series and annually attracted between 20,000 and 50,000 fans.

“The Negro Leagues Baseball Teams that were members of formally organized leagues 1886-1955”.