Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
On February 27, 2006, baseball pioneer Effa Manley she became the first woman elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Manley, who died in 1981, was part owner of the Newark (New Jersey) Eagles, a Negro League powerhouse, and a strong supporter of black baseball players and civil rights causes.
“She deserves it; she did a lot for the game,” said Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, who played for the Eagles in the 1940s. Irvin, who played for the New York Giants in the major leagues, was one of the first players MLB blacks.
“This is a historic day in the Hall of Fame,” HOF President Dale Petroskey said. “I hoped that one day there would be a woman in the Hall.”
Manley, who co-owned the Eagles with her husband, Abe, ran the business side of the team; Abe had little interest in that position. Eventually, he took on many other duties.
“Little by little, I found myself doing more and more, and eventually I ended up fully involved,” Manley said in a 1977 interview.
In the 1940s, Manley fell out with the management of major league teams, who were chasing Negro League stars after Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the MLB color line in 1947. . General manager Branch Rickey, who hired Robinson, was among his opponents.
As the owner of a baseball, Manley held an Anti-Lynching Day at the stadium.
“She did a lot for the Newark community,” Irvin said. “She was a complete and influential person.”