Taylor: The often-forgotten legacies of the Negro Leagues’ three female players

From Nate Taylor at The Athletic on March 6, 2019:

Baseball has been a central part​ of​ the 22-year marriage​ between Elizabeth​ and David Mechem.​ They​ met​​ in Seattle and attended several Mariners games together. Elizabeth loves the player’s compelling stories; David loves the strategic and statistical aspect of the sport. After the couple moved to Lawrence, Kan., in 2008, they spent their summers taking their three daughters to Kansas City Royals games.

For years, Elizabeth and David had wanted to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The couple found their timing, a Saturday morning in January, to be fortuitous: They were in the museum the same time Bob Kendrick, its president, started giving a detail-rich tour.

Following Kendrick’s path and voice, Elizabeth and David learned about the Negro Leagues’ most famous players — the power of catcher Josh Gibson, five-tool ability of center fielder Oscar Charleston, the speed of outfielder Cool Papa Bell, the wizardry of pitcher Satchel Paige and the character of Jackie Robinson, who broke the Major Leagues’ color barrier in 1947. Midway through the tour, Kendrick shared a lesser-known part of the Negro Leagues’ extensive history.

“I just turned that corner,” Elizabeth said, “and was like, ‘Woah, there are women there!’”

One of the museum’s newest exhibits is called “Beauty of the Game,” which celebrates the three women — Toni Stone, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Connie Morgan — who played in the Negro Leagues, the only women who have ever played professional baseball with and against men.

“For women to do that in the 1950s when everyone was coming back from the war and a woman’s place was in the home, it’s just amazing,” Elizabeth said. “These are stories all women need to hear.”

Read the full article here (subscription required): https://theathletic.com/835452/2019/03/06/the-often-forgotten-legacies-of-negro-leagues-female-players/

Originally published: March 7, 2019. Last Updated: March 7, 2019.