National Association of Professional Baseball Players was formed in 1871 and it denied an all black team (The Pythians) from admission.
National League of Professional Baseball Clubs was formed in 1876 and rule was that no all black clubs were to be admitted.
Bud Fowler played for 25 years. He had a batting average of .300 each of his seasons. Led the Western league in triples in 1886. In 1872 he joined a team in New Castle, Pennsylvania as the only black pitcher for the minor leagues. He had to switch to second base because pitching was only for white players. At second base he would wear shin protectors because the white players would try and get him with their cleats every time.
"The poor fellow's skin is against him. With his splendid abilities he would long ago have been on some ball club had his skin been white instead of black..."
In July 1887 the International League decided not to give any more contracts to black players since so many white players threatened to leave.
In 1938 Gus Greenlee had Satchel Paige banned from baseball. Satchel was an incredible baseball player. He was a legendary pitcher who even defeated Joe DiMaggio in 1935.
In South America, the Caribbean and Mexico, black players were treated like kings. Some of the best players were invited to play winter ball in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. They played against white players in Latin America. Satchel Paige was among these players who left the United States in order to play baseball.
The Ku Klux Klan made traveling through the South difficult for Negro League players. Players couldn't stay in hotels or eat in restaurants. They would stop at fruit and vegetable stands for food. They slept in tents or on the hot bus.
Rube Maynard, a white pitcher, was fined for playing in a 1917 Negro League game.
In 1920 baseball commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned all major leagues from competing with black players.
The good with the bad:
With the entry of Jackie Robinson into the major leagues so many followed to watch him, that the Negro Leagues soon began to die off.
During WWII the NNL Neward Eagles were owned and managed by Abe and Effa Manley. In 1935 Effa took an active role in civil rights causes. She held anti-lynching days at the ballpark. She was a member of NAACP. She bought the team an air-conditioned bus and the Eagles were some of the highest paid players.
After the war ended Effa Manley challenged the white minor leagues and Branch Rickey to begin integration.
In 1933 the most publicized game drew attention to the top black athletes. A game was played in Chicago's Comiskey Park that matched the best stars from each division in the Negro Leagues.
Between 1937 and 1947 the East-West Negro League game drew larger crowds than the white major league games.
This led to "barnstorming" games. These were contests between squads of black baseball players and white baseball players. This allowed both groups to see each others’ talents.
Baseball's new commissioner, A.B. "Happy" Hap Chandler said after WWII was over, that if a black boy could make it in war territories than he could make it in baseball. He never took this back.
This gave Branch Rickey the opportunity that he needed. On October 23, 1945 he signed a contract with Jackie Robinson to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1947 the Dodgers showed profits gained by integration.
Some players recruited after Jackie were: Ray Dandridge, Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays.
Negro League players were finally inducted into the Hall of Fame with Satchel Paige being first in 1971.