She Just Loved Baseball

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2011-10-21 03:34Z by Steven

She Just Loved Baseball

Black Athlete Sports Network

Bill Carroll

NEW YORK—Effa Manley was seemingly yet another “lost” pioneer in Negro Leagues Baseball before being posthumously honored in 2006 with induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

She was part of a class of players and executives selected by a special committee chaired by former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent. But a plaque for the only woman inducted in the Hall of Fame barely touches the surface of an often controversial life.

Manley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Bertha Ford Brooks, was of German and East-Indian descent. Bertha, who was a seamstress, gave birth to Effa after becoming pregnant by her wealthy White employer, John M. Bishop.

Bertha’s husband, Benjamin Brooks, who was Black, sued Bishop and received a settlement of $10,000 before he and Bertha divorced.  Bertha later remarried, and Effa was raised in a household with a Black stepfather and Black half-siblings.

Inheriting somewhat dark skin from her mother, she chose to live as a Black person, leading most people to assume her stepfather was her biological father and to classify her as Black.

After graduation from high school in Philadelphia, she moved to New York to work in the millinery business. She met Abe Manley, an African-American man 24 years older than she, at the 1932 World Series at Yankee Stadium, where she had gone to see her favorite player, Babe Ruth

…The Newark Eagles were founded in 1936 when the Newark Dodgers merged with the Brooklyn Eagles. The Eagles sported the likes of Hall-of-Famers Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, and Willie Wells.  The Eagles shared Ruppert Stadium with the Newark Bears, beginning in 1936…

…In addition to managing her baseball team, Manley was also a social activist for Civil rights. She organized a boycott of Harlem stores when they wouldn’t hire Black salesclerks. It took only six weeks for the stores to give in.

As a result, one year after the boycott, 300 stores employed Blacks. She held an “Anti-Lynching Day” at Ruppert Stadium and was treasurer for the Newark chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)…

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