On Sunday, December 5, Bud Fowler, Buck O’Neil and Minnie Miniso got elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The three baseball players represent three of seven Negro League and pre-Negro League who were considered for the 2022 induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The three join three other candidates—Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, and Tony Oliva—to be elected for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. The six inductees will be officially inducted in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022.
The selection of these three players is a turning point in baseball history. 2021 marked the first year that O’Neil, Miniso, and Fowler were ever considered for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, according to CNN.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has over 300 members in its golden Plaque Gallery. And for many who played the Negro League and African American baseball, the path to the gallery has been tasking, to say the least—that remaining so even with these leagues rivalling Major leagues.
In the 1800s, baseball was played according to racial lines, locking out many talented African Americans from the major leagues. And though there are 35 players of color in the gallery, it is essential to note that their journeys were a lot different than the rest.
There has been an attempt to remedy errors in the game’s history, with about 3,400 players’ statistics being added to the Major League Baseball’s record books from 1920 to 1948. The addition came after the Major League announced that it was “correcting s longtime oversight in the game’s history.”
According to the Hall of Fame, Trailblazer O’Neil had an extensive career in baseball, playing 10 seasons with the Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs. After his career as a player, O’Neil became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and would after that become the first Black coach in American League or National League history with Chicago.
Fowler was a professional player in the late 19th century; to many, he is considered as the first Black player to compete in organized baseball against white players. Later, Fowler helped organize teams and leagues of Black players, including the famed Page Fence Giants in Adrian, Mich. He was also known to give scouting reports on Black players to teams looking for new talent. According to the New York Times, throughout his baseball career, until at least 1895, Fowler encountered racism from his teammates, club leaders, local communities, hotels and restaurants.
He died in 1913, with his grave in Frankfort, N.Y., went unmarked until the Society for American Baseball Research placed a memorial there in 1987.
Miniso was an All-Star third baseman with the New York Cubans. He was the first Black Cuban Cuban professional baseball player who began his baseball career in the Negro Leagues in 1946. He was the first black player in White Sox history and died in 2015.