#Shortstops: Rube Foster’s home team
For many baseball fans, their connection to their team’s home ballpark is nearly as strong as their attachment to the team itself. The bond creates a sense of community, a space to gather together and build memories for new and old fans alike.
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For black baseball teams – both before and after the founding of the Negro Leagues - the absence of a home field did not simply keep them from building a stronger fan base. It was yet another barrier that potentially kept them from playing the game at all.
A series of correspondences between African-American team owners and the Cincinnati Reds organization are preserved in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s archives, and demonstrate the often-frustrating realities these teams faced before they could even take the field. Most notable are the letters exchanged between Karl Finke – son-in-law of Reds’ President August Herrmann and the team’s longtime auditor – and Rube Foster.
“When Rube Foster died, Negro baseball died with him,” said fellow Negro Leagues manager and owner Joe Green.
Isabelle Minasian is the communications specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum