Cuban Stars (c. 1920’s)

Negro Leagues Baseball

Many of the Negro “League” teams also barnstormed when the “league” season was over. In addition it was a common practice in Negro “League” baseball to form an all-star team featuring a marquee player(s) after the season to play a barnstorming schedule.  For example in 1936, the Negro National League formed an all-star team that traveled across the country and even won the prestigious Denver Post Tournament. The Negro National League All-Stars featured five future Hall of Fame players: Josh Gibson, Cool Pappa Bell, Buck Leonard, Satchel Paige and Ray Brown. However, Satchel Paige’s All-Stars was by far the biggest draw of the barnstorming teams. Paige would often tour with Bob Feller’s All-Stars or Dizzy Dean’s All-Stars.  Games featuring Satchel Paige’s team versus Bob Feller’s Major League all-star team would play to sold out Major League stadiums all over the United States. Satchel Paige had such a presence in barnstorming baseball that he even had his own private airplane to fly his team from game to game.

Negro “League “ teams would also drop out of the “league” to play a barnstorming schedule, which was more financially rewarding. The Kansas City Monarchs dropped out of the Negro National League for five seasons from 1932-1936 to barnstorm.  The Indianapolis Clowns dropped out of the Negro American League after the 1956 season and would continue to barnstorm under various owners until 1988. The Homestead Grays who began their career in 1912 as an independent barnstorming team (1912-1928) and had once been a dominant force in Negro League baseball played most of their last two seasons (1949-1950) as a barnstorming team.

Source: Center for the Negro League Baseball Research


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