SABR member Ken Mars, with contributions from Mark Aubrey and John Thorn, has put together a new collection of articles about the first African American professional baseball league: the National Colored League in 1887. SABR members can now access the guide on the Research Resources page at SABR.org.
The guide includes Mars’s presentation, “Early Black Baseball in Baltimore: 1865-1887,” from the 2017 SABR Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, 1887 NCL standings and a day-by-day guide, plus notes on the NCL organization’s formation, the season, and its aftermath.
As Mars writes:
1887 was a pivotal, destructive year for black baseball. Cap Anson protested a game versus Moses Fleetwood Walker and George Stovey, the St. Louis Browns refused to play the Cuban Giants, the Sporting News declared the “color line” had been drawn, and the majors had their “gentleman’s agreement” not to hire any more black players. All of these stories are quite well known, while right in the middle of it was the first professional league founded by African Americans, and there was very, very little written about it in books or modern articles. This is really important stuff. Not just for baseball history buffs, but the cultural history of America. We need to know more. … I compiled this document with hope that others in SABR, and beyond, can further explore by providing a solid starting point.
Originally published: August 15, 2017. Last Updated: April 22, 2020.