African-American baseball landmarks

1870s-'80s: More than 50 blacks play on early white professional teams.

1885: First organized black team, the Cuban Giants, is formed.

1887: Baseball begins to exclude blacks by unwritten agreement.

1944: Suggestion by Bill Veeck, general manager of Philadelphia Phillies, that major leagues use black players during World War II because of shortage of top white players is rejected.

1946: Jackie Robinson joins minor-league Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He is the first black player in organized baseball since 1899.

1947: The Dodgers purchase Robinson's contract from Montreal and, at age 28, he begins his rookie major-league season.

1948: With opportunities opening on white teams, this is the last viable season for Negro League play.

1949: Robinson leads National League with .342 batting average and 37 stolen bases.

1950: With four blacks in uniform - Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Dan Bankhead, and Robinson - the Dodgers become black America's team. Only five other blacks play in majors.

1951: Willie Mays, Monte Irvin, and Hank Thompson of the New York Giants form an all-black outfield.

1956: On the verge of a trade to the New York Giants, Robinson retires after 10 seasons in majors in which he played every position except pitcher and catcher.

1958: The percentage of blacks in big-league baseball approximates that in society for the first time.

1962: Robinson is the first black elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1974: Frank Robinson (no relation to Jackie) is named player-manager of the Cleveland Indians, breaking another color barrier.

1989: Bill White, former all-star player, becomes president of the National League.

1995: Blacks now fill these top posts: Leonard Coleman, National League president; Bob Watson, general manager of the Houston Astros; and managers Dusty Baker (San Francisco), Don Baylor (Colorado), and Cito Gaston (Toronto).

Source: ``A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete Since 1946,'' by Arthur Ashe.

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