Barack Obama and Other Former Presidents Unite to Celebrate 100-Year Anniversary of Baseball's Negro Leagues
By Zach Seemayer
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
It's the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, and the milestone is getting some major recognition. Barack Obama was joined by his fellow former presidents in honoring the legacy of the baseball league that changed the game forever.
Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have all added their praises to Tipping Your Cap's #TipYourCap2020 campaign, which honors the contributions and legacy of the Negro Leagues.
"Today I'm tipping my hat to everybody in the Negro Leagues who left a century-long legacy of talent, and sprit, and dignity on our country," Obama shared in a video he posted to social media on Monday.
Reflecting on some of the legendary players and famous teams of the league, Obama reflected on one team name in particular -- the Chicago American Giants.
"I couldn't think of a more fitting label for everyone who suited up," Obama shared. "Congratulations everybody."
The former president added in the caption, "Today I’m tipping my hat to all the giants in the Negro Leagues, from Satchel Paige to Toni Stone and so many others. Their brave example, first set 100 years ago, changed America’s pastime for the better -- opening it up for new generations of players and fans alike."
Clinton shared a heartfelt video as well, shouting out some of the iconic players of the Negro Leagues who were among the finest athletes to ever play the sport, including Satchel Paige, and Byron Johnson, and Jackie Robinson.
Clinton wrote in the caption, "The Negro Leagues made baseball better and America better."
I am proud to join the #TipYourCap2020 campaign in honor of the centennial of the Negro Leagues and the talented men and women who played in them from 1920 through 1960. The Negro Leagues made baseball better and America better. pic.twitter.com/ToG1xOOLRr
The league was formed in 1920 as a result of racist segregation rules prohibiting Black players from participating in the Major Leagues. Robinson smashed the so-called color barrier in 1947 when he took the field to play as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and began the dismantling of segregated leagues.
Bush tipped his cap to the Texas Rangers -- a team he was formerly a part owner of -- and honored Willie Mays.
“When I was a kid, my favorite baseball player was Willie Mays. It turns out Willie Mays played in the Negro Leagues for a brief period of time," Bush shared. "I can just imagine what baseball would have been like had the predecessors to Willie Mays been able to play Major League Baseball."
Carter, a Georgia native, wore an Atlanta Braves cap and shared a tribute to the importance of the league.
"I’ve been a baseball fan all of my life, and the Negro Leagues are an important part of the sport’s history," Carter shared in a quote posted by the campaign. "I tip my cap to the pioneers who showed the world that black players belong in America’s game."
“I’ve been a baseball fan all of my life, and the Negro Leagues are an important part of the sport’s history. ... I tip my cap to the pioneers who showed the world that black players belong in America’s game.” -- President Jimmy Carter. #tipyourcap2020pic.twitter.com/2yaG84WBH4
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues. In honor of this milestone, I'm tipping my cap to honor those who played and helped build the foundation for the civil rights movement. #TipYourCap2020pic.twitter.com/64JgI2zHmt
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one must be worth at least a thousand retweets. A tip of the cap to the Negro Leagues from ... do we even need to say his name? The incomparable Michael Jordan. #TipYourCap2020pic.twitter.com/nMDzTT3Fi6
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of baseball’s Negro Leagues, I tip my hat to the civil rights leaders and players of the Negro Leagues for paving the way for athletes like myself. 🙏🏾 #TipYourCap2020pic.twitter.com/Rv5ajz0ESN