On April 12, six months before the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, two black teams play in Brooklyn.
Pitcher Bud Fowler (left) becomes the first black player to cross the minor league color barrier, winning two games and losing one for the Lynn, Mass., Live Oaks of the International Association.
Fleet Walker, a catcher, signs with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the Northwestern League. A year later the Blue Stockings join the American Association, which was considered a major league. Fleet (left) played in 42 games in 1884 and hit .263; Welday Walker played in six games. Until 1947, the Walkers were the only black players ever to play in the major leagues.
Second baseman Frank Grant plays with Meriden, Conn., of the Eastern League. Grant is one of several black players to play on otherwise all-white minor league teams in the 1880's; in six minor league seasons Grant never hit less than .313 and in 1887 he stole 40 bases and led the International League with 11 home runs.
The Southern League of Colored Base Ballists becomes the first Negro league. Teams are established in Memphis, Jacksonville, Savannah, Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and New Orleans.
Amateur black baseball clubs spring up around the Northeast and Midwest. Players for the Mutuals of Washington, D.C., include black activist Frederick Douglass's sons Charles and Fred.
Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother Welday join Oberlin College's first varsity baseball team.
The first all-black professional team, composed of employees of the Argyle Hotel, is organized in Babylon, N.Y. That fall, the team is bought by Trenton businessman Walter Cook and named the Cuban Giants.
The National Baseball Colored League is formed with teams in Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington. The league is recognized as an official minor league and protected under baseball's National Agreement, but it folds 13 games into its inaugural season.