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Negro National League recognized in Toledo

Updated: Jun. 19, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Toledo group is honoring the legacy of one of baseball’s pioneering Negro Leagues.

The African-American Legacy Project unveiled a new historical marker to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Negro National League.

It was founded in 1920 when baseball was segregated and later became one of the most prominent Negro Leagues in baseball.

“I hope -- I just hope and pray -- I’m around when the first person comes over and stops and takes a picture with that Negro League plaque,” said Robert Smith, the director of the African-American Legacy Project. “So we think that we’re adding value to the community while preserving history.”

The group placed the plaque at the intersection of Collingwood Boulevard and Dorr Streets. 13abc morning anchor James Starks was one of the event’s emcees.

Major League Baseball this week officially integrated the statistics of the Negro Leagues into the official records.

Because of that, Oscar Charleston - a baseball Hall of Famer who was the player-manager of the Toledo Crawfords in 1939 - now has the third-highest OPS in baseball history. He trails only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

“Toledoans should know that there was a man who played here in Toledo - right on the corner of Monroe Street and Detroit, where Swayne Field Stadium was - who according to Major League Baseball statistics as of this week, was the third-greatest all-around baseball player in the history of the sport,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. “That’s significant.”

Toledo was home to three professional Negro League teams, including the Toledo Tigers (1923-1924), Toledo Crawfords (1939-1940) and the Toledo Cubs (1945-1946).

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