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Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Deluge of New Hall of Famers, Interrupted by a Grinding Silence.

A 12-person committee convened in a conference room in Vero Beach, Fla., to serve as both judge and jury. Given the Hall of Fame-worthy status of 39 Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues players, managers, and executives, the weight of their duty was possibly greater than any they had carried in their careers.

They are experts in a variety of subcategories of black baseball (Latin involvement, East Coast clubs, pre-Negro League era, and so on), and the need that they share their knowledge precludes voters from overlooking their personal gains. I did it on my own. Ballot. Committee members discussed the careers of all candidates during the two-day session, in addition to getting a plethora of information before arriving in Florida.

The group has made significant progress. There have been 17 new members elected. It marks a turning point in the Hall of Fame’s and the Negro League’s respective histories.

New Ark Eagles owner and business manager Effa Manley demanded proper compensation from the united Negro League players. She was the first woman to be named into the hall. Her accomplishments are a direct reflection of black baseball’s revolutionary strength. Willard Brown, the first black player to hit a home run in the American League, was a far more formidable hitter for the Kansas City Monarch. And there was Alex Pompes, who rose to prominence as the manager of the Cuban Stars and the New York Giants before becoming the director of MLB’s New York Giants International Scout. It was a record-breaking class enrollment, but no one survived to see it.

Even so, when news of the 2006 elections began to circulate, the focus was often on who did not vote. In other words, former Kansas City Monarch first baseman O’Neill and Orestes “Minnie” Minyoso, a member of the New York Cuban African Latino community who joined the Chicago White Sox as the team’s first black player in 1951.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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