Wilkinson, J.L.

J. Leslie Wilkinson
Born: May 14, 1878, Algona, Iowa
Died: August 21, 1964, Kansas City, Missouri
Elected to the Hall of Fame by Negro Leagues Committee: 2006

A native Iowan, J. Leslie J.L. Wilkinson was the innovative creator and owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, the longest running franchise in Negro National League history. He was arguably the man most responsible for saving black baseball during the Great Depression. His teams won an unprecedented 17 league pennants and also two Colored World Series. The only white owner upon the founding of the league in 1920, Wilkinson is credited with developing the first successful lighting system for night games, an apparatus which traveled with the team during its cross-country barnstorming trips. His Monarchs supplied the white major leagues with more players, including Jackie Robinson, than any other black ballclub. Prior to the Monarchs, he owned one of the first all-girls barnstorming teams, as well as the multi-ethnic All-Nations squad.

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Did You Know: 
that no fewer than seven Hall of Famers elected as Negro leaguers - Cool Papa Bell, Bill Foster, Satchel Paige, Bullet Rogan, Hilton Smith, Turkey Stearnes and Willie Wells - played for Wilkinson's Monarchs, as did Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks?