Former President Barack Obama, along with three other past presidents saluted the 100th anniversary of Negro League baseball in a virtual commemoration campaign launched Monday (June 29).
Obama, along with former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, saluted the founding of the league in a series of videos, in lieu of an in-person celebration that had been scheduled for June 27, but shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic. The online celebration is at www.tippingyourcap.com and features several videos of notable people literally tipping their cap to the historic sports organization.
Take a look at some of today’s current and recently retired Black players who are tipping their hat in the centennial celebration.
"Today, I'm tipping my hat to everybody in the Negro Leagues who left a century-long legacy of talent and spirit and dignity in our country,” said Obama. “So, here's to Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and everybody else, including three brave women who did us all proud."
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The Negro Leagues were founded in February 1920, combining groups of Black professional baseball clubs around the country. They developed at a time when Blacks were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues, and in many places were not even allowed to watch as spectators.
Names like Leroy “Satchel” Paige, Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and Marcenia “Toni” Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball, are among the many who stepped onto the diamond for the leagues.
The commemorative campaign features photos and videos from Baseball Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Dave Winfield along with other MLB greats including retired L.A. Dodgers and Atlanta Braves slugger Dusty Baker; and Cy Young Award-winning New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia.
Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, the first to break the pro baseball color line in the modern era, along with her family also saluted the centennial.
The website is soliciting donations to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, which reopened to the public on June 16.