Press Release February 14, 2001
NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM SELECTS RESEARCH TEAM
TO COMPLETE AFRICAN-AMERICAN BASEBALL HISTORY STUDY
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
today announced that it has selected "The Negro Leagues Researchers/Authors
Group" research team, led by Dr. Lawrence Hogan of Union County College (NJ), Richard
Clark of Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Larry Lester of Kansas City, Missouri, to conduct a
comprehensive study on the history of African Americans in Baseball, from 1860-1960.
Hogan, Clark and Lester will lead an extremely diverse group of authors, researchers and
historians in this first-of-its-kind academic study. The study, which will allow the
Museum to expand the scope and depth of its knowledge and historical collection on
Baseball and American culture, is being funded by a grant from Major League Baseball.
"The documentary record of the African-American contribution to our National
Pastime is incomplete and this endeavor will go a long way toward filling those
gaps," said Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey. "This is an extremely
important research project, allowing us to further our mission as an educational
institution, and we could not be happier with the selection of Dr. Hogan, Dick Clark and
Larry Lester and their team."
"We are excited," Hogan noted, "by the possibilities this project offers
to document and tell an important and for too long neglected baseball story,
as well as a chapter in our nation's history that reaches far beyond the playing field of
Negro Leagues baseball. Each of us involved in this project has been researching, writing
about, studying, and speaking about the topic for many years. The members of our team are
very grateful for the opportunity that the Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball has
presented to us to bring an important chapter in American history, one that has
become an important part of our personal and professional lives, into the mainstream of
Hogan is a senior professor of history at Union County College. He has served as
visiting professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and is presently
associated with a major exhibit project on the history of the African-American athlete
with the Scholar Athlete Hall of Fame and the Institute for International Sport, located
at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Hogan has authored a major book on the history of
the African-American press, has numerous scholarly and popular articles to his credit, and
has produced two documentaries, including with film director Thomas C. Guy Jr., the highly
regarded "Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson: Black Baseball in America in the Era of
the Color Line." His touring exhibit on the history of black baseball has been
displayed at a variety of locations across the nation, and he has served as guest curator
for numerous exhibits on the history of black baseball.
Richard Clark, along with Larry Lester, is co-chairman of the Society for American
Baseball Research's (SABR) Negro Leagues Committee, a position he assumed in 1985. As
committee chair, he has been instrumental in building a remarkable network of scholars,
researchers and writers that is a model for cooperative scholarship and research. With
Lester, Clark is co-editor of The Negro Leagues Book, and has contributed to over
30 books on Negro Leagues history.
Larry Lester is one of the founders of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas
City, Missouri, where he served as research director and treasurer for many years. He was
instrumental in developing the museum's business plan, designing its original exhibits and
creating its licensing program. He has authored several books on the history of black
baseball, served as a consultant on several baseball documentaries, and has contributed
research to more than 36 publications.
This is the first time in the Museum's 61-year history that an academic research study
has been sponsored. A request for proposals was disseminated throughout the academic and
research community. This multi-year project is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2003.
The committee that selected Dr. Hogan consists of the following members of the Hall of
Fame Board of Directors: Bill White (former player and National League president), Ed
Stack, Major League Baseball President Paul Beeston, and former executive John McHale. Sam Lacy, a long-time editor
and journalist and winner of the 1997 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, was
also a member of the group.
Once completed, the project will provide a comprehensive, objective and properly
documented historical narrative on the history of African-American baseball between the
years 1860 and 1960; a compilation of reliable and documented statistical data on the
various leagues, teams and players; a compilation of biographical essays on members of the
African-American community who participated in or contributed to this baseball experience;
a comprehensive bibliography of resources and a comprehensive resource guide to these
sources; the identification of artifacts which may be available for exhibition or display
by the museum; the creation of an oral history collection in support of this study; and
curriculum materials on the topic of black baseball for use in elementary and secondary
schools, as well as on the college level.
"The Hall of Fame Library has the most complete Baseball archive in the world,
with more than 2.5 million documents," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allen
H. (Bud) Selig last July upon awarding the funding to the Hall of Fame. "Just like
all great research facilities, the quest for greater knowledge is ongoing. The Hall of
Fame's collections on the history of African Americans in Baseball is unsurpassed, but
there is a lot about this subject that is not known information that needs to be
professionally researched and documented. What's learned over the next few years will
greatly expand our knowledge about African-American baseball history."
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