This post is something a little different from the overall theme of the blog. Generally, I stick to MiLB caps/jerseys/logos but its Black History Month so for this post I’m going to focus on a Negro League Cap.
Like many things in American history, Major League Baseball has its blemishes. One of the more prominent blemishes is the fact that for a major portion of its history minorities weren’t accepted into the MLB. Out of this blemish, though, came the Negro Leagues, something that the MLB salutes each year (baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron both played in the Negro League). The Negro League was born out of racism and the Jim Crow laws yet today, years after its existence, it retains aficionados, tributes, is in popular memory and has a salute by each year by thousands.Out of something that was created, for all intents and purposes, badly-something good took its place.
In many cases, the players (and teams) of the Negro League were better than their white counterparts. The baseball diamond knows no prejudice, stats and talent don’t care about skin color. One of those dominant cases was the Chicago American Giants, who wore the hat pictured below during the 1927 season.
The Chicago American Giants were a Chicago-based Negro League team. From 1911 to the mid-1930s the Giants were the most dominant team in the NNL (Negro National League). The American Giants won League titles in 1920, 1+21, 1922, 1926, and 1927. As well they won the NNL World Series in 1926 and 1927. During this time they were owned and managed by Andrew “Rube” Foster (who also played for the team during this time span). Rube Foster was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1981, had a career ERA of 2.44 and career batting average of .250.
Originally they were Leland’s American Giants (only for 1910), the Leland Giants were a formation of the Chicago Unions and Chicago Columbia Giants. When Fosters health began to fail his protege Dave Malarcher took over the team and then following the demise of the NNL the American Giants joined the NSL (the Negro Southern League) and became Cole’s American Giants where the team wouldn’t enjoy as much success but would still win a series of pennants in the mid 30s.
By the 40s, the team was on the declined and saw its demise happen in 1952. The White Sox have paid homage to the American Giants on several occasions including July 1, 2007 (at KC), July 26, 2008 (against Detroit) and July 16, 2011 at Detroit who are hosting their 13th annual Negro League Weekend this year in what is becoming an annual tradition in Detroit to pay tribute to the Negro League.
Lastly, here is a replica jersey of the Chicago American Giants: