Effa Manley, The Newark Eagles, and baseball

Effa Manley loved baseball. But she never dreamed that one day she would own a baseball team. She never thought that she would end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And she had no idea that anyone would be so interested in her life that someone would write a book about her.

But it did happen. And Audrey Vernick, author of “She Loved Baseball: the Effa Manley Story,” will tell about Effa’s role in the history of baseball, specifically African American baseball, at Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., Thursday Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.

Manley battled the racial and sexist stereotypes that were common in the mid-20th century.

Women had no place in professional baseball. Neither did “negroes.”

She became aware of racial prejudice as a youngster. As a child she was criticized by a school principal for playing with “those Negroes” who were, in fact, her darker-skinned siblings.

As an adult in New York City she organized the “Citizens League for Fair Play”, demanding that business owners hire more blacks.

With her husband, she formed the Brooklyn Eagles (later becoming the Newark Eagles) as part of the Negro National League where she handled the team’s business and worked to insure that the players were never forgotten.

She wrote numerous letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame that resulted in the induction of black players into the Cooperstown institution in 1962. Former Brooklyn Dodge Jackie Robinson was the first, elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Then,in 2006 Effa Manley was the first woman to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Vernick will tell Manley’s story at the final “Pride and Passion: the African American Baseball Experience” program in Ocean County.

Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, a traveling exhibition for libraries, was organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.

This program is free and open to the public.  Registration is required.  For more information or to register go to the Web site www.theoceancountylibrary.org or call (732) 349-6200.

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