Connie Morgan became one of the first women to play in the Negro Leagues
Throughout Black History Month in February, the Hall of Fame celebrates the lives of African Americans who made historic contributions to the National Pastime.
By Adrianna Mondore
Many African-American men joined the Negro Leagues in the first half of the 20th Century because it was the only way they could get a chance to play baseball, as the Major League was not yet fully integrated.
However, being a woman was not going to stop Connie Morgan from playing baseball. Morgan was one of the first female African Americans to play in the Negro Leagues.
Morgan was born on October 17, 1935 in Philadelphia, Pa. She attended John Bartram High School where she played basketball, softball, and baseball. Morgan later attended William Penn Business School.
Morgan played on an all-female team, the North Philadelphia Honey Drippers, for five years from 1949-54. There she rotated between many positions and often served as a catcher. Her batting average was .368 her last year she was on the team.
Morgan was known to be a double-threat athlete. On her offseason from baseball, she played basketball during the winter months for a well known city-wide team called the Rockettes.
The Indianapolis Clowns, a Negro League team, signed Toni Stone, an African-American female, to play for them in 1953. After reading a newspaper article about Stone playing for the Indianapolis Clowns, Morgan wrote the owner of the team, Syd Pollack. She asked him if she could try out for the team, and he agreed. At the age of 19, Morgan was signed to the Indianapolis Clowns with a two-year contract, replacing Toni Stone at second base and batting third in the lineup.
Oscar Charleston, the Indianapolis Clowns manager, called Morgan “one of the most sensational female players” he had ever seen.
One of Morgan’s fondest memories was a game she played at Connie Mack Stadium in her hometown. When Morgan walked out to second base, it was the first time in history that a female from Philadelphia had taken the field in a professional baseball uniform.
After her contract expired with the Indianapolis Clowns, Morgan retired from playing baseball and moved back to Philadelphia. There she worked an office job as a secretary and later drove a school bus.
Morgan was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. She passed away on Oct. 14, 1996.
Celebrate Black History Month with the Museum’s Pastime’s Pride features. Subjects include Buck O’Neil, Elston Howard, Rachael Robinson, the Evolution of Night Baseball, Welday Walker, Herb Washington, Connie Morgan, Bill White, Sam Lacy, Octavius Catto, Willie Horton, Bob Watson, Pumpsie Green, Charlie Grant, William Matthews, Don Newcombe, Vic Power, Emmett Ashford and Hank Thompson.
Celebrate Black History Month with the Museum’s Pastime’s Pride features. Subjects include Buck O’Neil, Elston Howard, Rachel Robinson, the Evolution of Night Baseball, Welday Walker, Herb Washington, Connie Morgan, Bill White, Sam Lacy, Octavius Catto, Willie Horton, Bob Watson, Pumpsie Green, Charlie Grant, William Matthews, Don Newcombe, Vic Power, Emmett Ashford and Hank Thompson.
Adrianna Mondore was a spring 2012 intern at the Baseball Hall of Fame