100th Anniversary Negro Leagues Ballcaps: Series 1

By, Jerry Cohen

Dear Friends: It’s hard to believe it’s been 32 years since we first made it our mission to spread the word about what we called a “parallel world” of baseball history – the Negro Leagues. We are as enthusiastic about sharing that history now – on the 100th anniversary of the formation of the first Negro National League – as we were then. I know I have talked a lot recently about our work on creating several limited edition authentic cap sets, and I am happy to report that we are finally ready to release Series One. These caps were chosen to provide as much possible variety in color, cap type, and team choice as possible. We will also feature some teams barely known to history – if at all. Here’s a few words about the first six selections we have curated:


Kansas City Monarchs 1942: No discussion of the Negro Leagues can be complete without mentioning the Monarchs, the “royalty” of Black Baseball. This is the team who gave us Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and so many others. They won the first NNL pennant in 1920, and many more after that. This cap is closely identified with Paige, who played for over a dozen team, but is most closely associated with the Monarchs.

Kansas City Monarchs 1942: No discussion of the Negro Leagues can be complete without mentioning the Monarchs, the “royalty” of Black Baseball. This is the team who gave us Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and so many others. They won the first NNL pennant in 1920, and many more after that. This cap is closely identified with Paige, who played for over a dozen team, but is most closely associated with the Monarchs.

Homestead Grays 1939: The Grays, who were founded in Pittsburgh but also called Washington, DC their home in the late 1930s and 40s were another major Black club. They packed a powerhouse lineup that included catcher Josh Gibson and first baseman Buck Leonard, among so many other greats. This cap is an 8-panel hat worn in the late 1930s.

Homestead Grays 1939: The Grays, who were founded in Pittsburgh but also called Washington, DC their home in the late 1930s and 40s were another major Black club. They packed a powerhouse lineup that included catcher Josh Gibson and first baseman Buck Leonard, among so many other greats. This cap is an 8-panel hat worn in the late 1930s.

Cleveland Buckeyes: The Buckeyes were a major force in the 1940s, playing in the Negro American League, and sharing recently-restored League Park with the Indians where they won championships in 1945 and 1947. Standout players for the Buckeyes included catcher Quincy Trouppe and batting champ Sam Jethroe, who went on to become the first African-American player on the then-Boston Braves in 1950.

Cleveland Buckeyes: The Buckeyes were a major force in the 1940s, playing in the Negro American League, and sharing recently-restored League Park with the Indians where they won championships in 1945 and 1947. Standout players for the Buckeyes included catcher Quincy Trouppe and batting champ Sam Jethroe, who went on to become the first African-American player on the then-Boston Braves in 1950.

Detroit Cubs 1935: Many Black teams were independent and played outside of any league affiliation. Although little is known about Detroit’s Cubs, we do know they played at Hamtramck Stadium which still stands, and a team picture survives.

Detroit Cubs 1935: Many Black teams were independent and played outside of any league affiliation. Although little is known about Detroit’s Cubs, we do know they played at Hamtramck Stadium which still stands, and a team picture survives.

Brooklyn Royal Giants 1925: The roots of the Royal Giants go back to 1905, the pre-league era of Black baseball. They were a founding member of the second major league – the Eastern Colored League – in 1923. Among the greats that put on the Brooklyn uniform were Dick “Cannonball” Reading, “Smokey” Joe Williams, and John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. This short-visor cap is made from some original pinstripe baseball fabric we have had in our archives for many years.

Cuban Stars: The Cuban Stars also came out of the pre-league days, establishing themselves as one of the East Coast’s top traveling teams from 1907 on. The team consisted mainly of Cuban players, and played against both black and white competition in their pre-league days. The club eventually split into “East” and “West” squads, with the West team participating in the short-lived East-West League in 1932.

Brooklyn Royal Giants 1925: The roots of the Royal Giants go back to 1905, the pre-league era of Black baseball. They were a founding member of the second major league – the Eastern Colored League – in 1923. Among the greats that put on the Brooklyn uniform were Dick “Cannonball” Reading, “Smokey” Joe Williams, and John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. This short-visor cap is made from some original pinstripe baseball fabric we have had in our archives for many years.

Cuban Stars: The Cuban Stars also came out of the pre-league days, establishing themselves as one of the East Coast’s top travelling teams from 1907 on. The team consisted mainly of Cuban players, and played against both black and white competition in their pre-league days. The club eventually split into “East” and “West” squads, with the West team participating in the short-lived East-West League in 1932.

This project has been a joy to research, and we look forward to sharing ore of these great caps with you throughout the remainder of the year.

100th Anniversary Negro Leagues Ballcaps: Series 1

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