Baseball Digest

Effa Manley: TRAILBLAZER

I had to be better in order to get just as far,” Hall of Fame “Ifelt pitcher Bob Gibson once said of growing up as an African American in the Jim Crow era. The same was true for the co-owner of the Negro National League’s Newark Eagles from 1935 through 1948, Effa Manley, a strong-willed and influential woman who made her mark in the male fiefdom of professional baseball.

Manley, the only woman in the Baseball Hall of Fame, owned the Eagles with her husband Abe. She was an astute businesswoman who not only ran the day-to-day operations of the club, but also focused on having the loosely run Negro National League operate more like the major leagues, so that it would be taken more seriously as a business and a source of pride for African Americans. The headstrong owner was outspoken and demanding at league meetings, often clashing with her fellow owners, but they respected her and listened to her.

She and Abe, who

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