On this day in 1920, Andrew ‘Rube’ Foster Established the NNL, Pioneering Black Professional Baseball


A former pitcher, Rube Foster was serving as both president of the Negro National League and owner-manager of the Chicago American Giants in 1921. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)
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On February 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster made history by establishing the Negro National League (NNL), marking a pivotal moment in African-American sports. Known as the “Father of Black Baseball,” Foster’s vision led to the creation of the first professional baseball league exclusively for Black players.

First colored world series, opening game Oct. 11, 1924, Kansas City, Mo. / photo by J.E. Mille[r], K.C., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The NNL, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, provided a platform for Black athletes to showcase their talent and passion for the game in an era marked by segregation and discrimination. Under Foster’s leadership, the NNL flourished, becoming a beacon of hope and opportunity for Black baseball players across the nation.

Despite facing numerous challenges, including financial constraints and racial prejudice, the NNL operated successfully until 1931, leaving a lasting legacy in American sports history.

Team publicity photo for 1919 Chicago American Giants, an African American baseball team | See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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