Cubs News

Former and current Cubs players tip their caps to the centennial anniversary of the Negro League

4 years agoKarli Bell

In February of 1920, the Negro National League was founded, giving Black baseball players a fully competitive organized professional league.

Because of those efforts 100 years ago, some Hall of Famers were given the chance to play in the MLB. For the Chicago Cubs, it was Ernie Banks. He was the first African American to play for the Cubs in 1953. Then it was Gene Baker at shortstop followed by outfielder George Altman. Outfielders Monte Irvin, Billy Williams and Lou Johnson and pitchers Sam Jones and Fergie Jenkins are just some of the names on the list. The first African American coach in MLB history was Buck O’Neil, who joined the Cubs in 1962. 

Monday, both current and former Cubs, along with celebrities outside the sports world, wanted to tip their caps to this historic league who gave the MLB some of the best to play the game. Jenkins is thankful for being one of the many Black baseball players to pave the way for others.


Former Cubs second baseman Tony Kemp and former Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler tipped their caps as well.


Current Cubs outfielder Ian Happ joined in the conversation, saluting the NNL for helping better the game of baseball.

His teammate in the outfield, Jason Heyward, joined a list of MLB players, thanking the Negro League for everything they’ve done for Black players.


It wasn’t just baseball players either. Former president Bill Clinton donned a Cubs hat in his tribute to the NNL.

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