#Spotlight - Black History Month - Effa Manley
On the last day of Black History Month, and on the eve of Women's History Month, who better to feature than the amazing Effa Manley. The only women to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Newark Eagles were co-owned by Abe and Effa Manley, but it was Effa that would leave her mark on history. Born in Philadelphia, she would move to New York after graduating from High School. A lifelong baseball fan she would root for the Yankees and Babe Ruth and would meet her husband Abe during the 1932 World Series.
In 1934, the pair were awarded a baseball franchise in the National Negro League. Effa would run the day to day operations of the club. The Brooklyn Eagles would play at Ebbets Field. Their stars would include Leon Day, Double Duty Radcliffe and Rap Dixon. In 1935, after purchasing the Brooklyn Eagles, the Manley's would rename the team the Newark Eagles and play at Ruppert Stadium in Newark.
In addition to Effa's work arranging schedules, publicity, travel and contracts. She was a civil rights leader. Effa would organize boycotts for companies and department stores that refused to hire blacks. Later she would raise money and become treasurer of the local branch of the NAACP. Her advocacy would extend to baseball where she would create nights promoting anti-lynching during the baseball season.
Effa's 1946 team would win the Negro League championship, with Biz Mackey as the team's manager.
When Jackie Robinson left the Negro Leagues to join the Brooklyn Dodgers, Effa led the push back to Major League owners who were not compensating teams for offering them contracts to leave. She was able to get $10,000 from the Cleveland Indians when they signed Larry Doby.
Her post baseball years were spent in Southern California. She stayed active in preserving the history of the Negro Leagues. Effa would collaborate with Leon Hartwick to author Negro Baseball...Before Integration. When the Baseball Hall of Fame's Special Committee on the Negro Leagues disbanded in 1977, Effa would petition them to start a new one to review all of the players from the Negro Leagues. In 2006 the Hall of Fame would establish another committee on Negro Leagues, and elect 17 Negro Leagues greats, including Effa Manley, the first woman elected to the Hall of Fame.
You can commemorate baseball’s pioneers by wearing the colors of the Negro Leagues. https://www.teambrownapparel.com/collection-nlbm-shop