In December 2020, Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. similarly announced a new MLB policy, recognizing the Negro Leagues as major leagues. I decided I should recognize Negro League Players as Hall of Famers. Now my knowledge of the Negro Leagues isn’t nearly as great as my knowledge of the American and National Leagues. However, I have read some books, and numerous articles about the Negro Leagues and their players. I do have some knowledge on the subject.
So, I asked myself who should go in my Negro League Hall of Fame. My lack of knowledge hurts here. However, Baseball Reference has put together statistics on the Negro Leagues. However, they acknowledge even though they are doing a great job, that they don’t have all the stats on the Negro Leagues. I also noticed in my research that that some have better coverage then others, so it would be unfair to rate them just on statistics.
However, the Baseball Hall of Fame has elected some players, pioneer/executives, and owners into the Hall of Fame. It was 35 people, 29 being players. Now I don’t know how many players Baseball Reference has listed as playing in the Negro Leagues, but I noticed that the number of major league players increased by about 2,500 from early last year. Even without all those being Negro Leaguers, I had started with the idea I would elect 25 Negro League players in my Hall of Fame. However, when I looked at the list of 29 players who would I knock off. I don’t feel I am qualified to take any of them off my list. Well, I just added Zack Greinke as Hall of Famer number 201 and well add Buster Posey as 202 when I get to him, so that goes over my 1 percent limit. So, all 29 players are in.
I have not put any executives or managers into my hall of fame. However, I couldn’t leave these six out, so I decided I would start with them. Here are the six:
Rube Foster was also a pitcher but pitched a lot before organization of the Negro Leagues. He is listed as a manager in Baseball Reference, but no pitching record for him there. So, I decided not to rate him as a player. I don’t think I could rate him right. Not that I did the best job of rating them anyway. Effa Manley is the only women elected to the Hall of Fame. Being this is my own Hall of Fame I am putting Buck O’ Neil into my Hall of Fame. There are many reasons why and I will tell you about it in my article. His picture is at the top of the article.
I am going to write an article on all 36 of these people. I am going to write about my number 1 Negro League player Oscar Charleston after I write about player number 201 Red Ruffing. Then they will take turns until all 36 are done with.
Here are my 29 Hall of Fame Negro League players in my rating order:
|1||Oscar Charleston||Center Field|
|6||Mule Settles||First Base/Outfield|
|8||Smokey Joe Williams||Pitcher|
|9||Buck Leonard||First Base|
|12||Cool Papa Bell||Center Field|
|11||Bullet Joe Rogan||Pitcher|
|16||Jud Wilson||Third Base|
|19||Ray Dandridge||Third Base|
|23||Ben Taylor||First Base|
|26||Judy Johnson||Third Base|
|29||Frank Grant||2nd Base|
The names at the top are the most famous. As we go down, people have heard less of these names. What I did was look at various all-star teams and rating systems and gave scores for those. Then I added their career WAR for all the players. However, some of the players had an exceptionally low number so I made a judgement call adding a reasonable amount of WAR.
The players at the top are often consistently mentioned as the best players. They have the most stories. So, I don’t know how accurate my list is but my 15 players are reasonable.
I have already done an article on Monte Irvin, but I will say a few more things about him when I get to him.
Frank Grant was a special case. He played with white players in the 19th Century and was a very good player from what I found. He could have easily of played in the majors if he had the chance. He did play in the high minors and did a great job. He is noted as the best black player in the 19th Century. I had no way to rate him so just put him at 29th. That in no way indicates his qualify of play.