Hogan: The first black World Series

From SABR member Lawrence Hogan at The National Pastime Museum on August 11, 2014:

Entering the 1923 Negro Leagues season, there had never been a true Negro World Series. Before there could be such there needed to be rival Negro Major Leagues. As the 1923 season progressed with a real league operating in the East for the first time, and in the West the Negro National League enjoying its fourth season of play, increasing numbers of the partisans of black professional baseball—fans, sportswriters, and executives alike—expressed a growing desire for a Negro League World Series. But the one man whose opinion counted the most wasn’t ready—and until he was, there would be no World Series.

That man would come to be known as black baseball’s founding father, and he eventually found a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But in 1923, after three years as president of the Negro National League, he was in no mood to join forces with the newly established and rival Eastern Colored League in a black postseason classic. His sense of history, which was considerable, must have pushed him toward a willingness to do just that. But holding a strong hand of cards, he was determined not to agree to a World Series between the two leagues unless something else could be agreed to. That something else was an agreement he saw as necessary to end an abuse that had wreaked havoc on the playing strength and financial stability of his Chicago American Giants and other clubs in the league he was instrumental in establishing. Known as a tough negotiator, Andrew “Rube” Foster brought to the table in discussions about a World Series a non-negotiable demand. Raiding players from his Western League teams by the new rival Eastern Colored Major League had to cease before the Grand Poobah of black baseball would enter into any agreement for a World Series. “It must come in time,” a Pittsburgh Courier scribe intoned at the height of the clamor in 1923 for a World Series, “But according to Foster that time is not now.”

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/first-black-world-series

Originally published: August 11, 2014. Last Updated: August 11, 2014.