Black Baseball Pioneer Bud Fowler Inducted into the Hall of Fame

Bud Fowler was more than just a curiosity.

A professional player in the late 19th century, Fowler is considered by many to be the first Black player to compete against white players in organized baseball. But in those days, many news media reports about his travels between various professional teams and leagues made it clear that the two-way star, who shot and played catcher in addition to his exploits as a fleet second baseman, was a player to be reckoned with. regardless of race.

In 1882, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans stated that Fowler would play a game for the Pickwicks, a local team, and referred to him as “Lynn, Mass’s famous colored curve shooter.”

While the Lawrence Eagles were playing the Kansas City Novels in 1886, The Evening Tribune in Lawrence, Kan. mentioned that “Topeka’s outstanding color player” Fowler would play for the Eagles. And Fowler’s 1891 Plattsmouth, Neb. When it was reported that he was considering playing for a team other than the Omaha Daily Bee, The Omaha Daily Bee endorsed the move, saying that Fowler was “one of the best guys to be in his position and would be a good buy”. to the team.”

Words like “pioneer” and “pioneer” are often used to describe Fowler, and he added a new title Sunday: Hall of Famer. Fowler a six-person class This was chosen by a pair of committees who were asked to review players from baseball’s past. He is the least recognized of the six players, but his dismissal has long been viewed as a mistake by baseball historians.

Buck O’Neil, a player and manager of the Kansas City Monarchs, and Minnie MinosoThey were the first players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, one of the Negro leagues playing for the New York Cubans at the start of their career. since 2006 – and the first to be elected since several Negro leagues Recognized by Major League Baseball as the major leagues last year – Fowler’s career preceded most of the organized negro leagues. Much of this preceded the white major and minor leagues effectively banning Black players in the late 1880s.

Fowler helped organize teams and leagues of Black players, including celebrities. Page Fence Giants Adrian was at Mich. and was known to give scouting reports on Black players to teams looking for new talent. Official statistics on his career are so sparse that it’s hard to paint a picture of him as a player, but reports from that period made it clear that he was among the game’s most talented players.

Despite playing in several predominantly white leagues, Fowler has faced racism throughout his career from teammates, club leaders, local communities, hotels and restaurants.

In 1887, when there were multiple instances of players refusing to play with or against Black players – one of them was playing in the International League, a top minor league led by Hall of Famer Cap Anson that saw itself as the National League’s rival. – this resulted in the official banning of Black players in the league. This vote is seen by many as establishing baseball’s racial “color streak” that continued until Jackie Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and subsequently appointed to the Montreal Royals in 1946.

The move to block Black players in 1887 had nothing to do with talent. In his book “Only the Ball Was White,” historian Robert Peterson discussed banned International League players and said, “Frank Grant, Bud Fowler, and George Stovey were unquestionably the caliber of major league stars.”

Fowler continued to play organized baseball until at least 1895 and died in 1913. Much of his later life remained a mystery because he did not keep a diary or other paper to study. His grave in Frankfort, NY remained unmarked until the American Baseball Research Association placed a monument there in 1987.

Growing up in Cooperstown, NY, Fowler was honored by her hometown in 2013. changed the name of a street “The Bud Fowler Way.” And now, more than 100 years after his death, Fowler will receive baseball’s highest honor in a field just a few miles from where he grew up.

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