BUD FOWLER: The MLBbro Icon & 2022 Hall of Fame Inductee Was The First Black To Play In A Professional Baseball League

BUD FOWLER: The MLBbro Icon & 2022 Hall of Fame Inductee Was The First Black To Play In A Professional Baseball League

Everyone knows the legendary story of MLBbro and hero Jackie Robinson. He is known for being a pioneer for all MLBbros who have played in Major League baseball. A staple in African American and baseball history, Robinson was the first Black player to gain prominence in a white baseball league. Jackie Robinson officially broke the color barrier set by major league baseball in 1947, but it was Bud Fowler who, nearly 70 years prior, became the first Black man to play in an all-white professional baseball league. 

Born John W. Jackson, he obtained the name “Bud” from his teammates due to the fact he routinely greeted others with “Hey, Bud”. Eventually he would don the name Bud Fowler. Fowler grew up learning and playing baseball in Cooperstown, New York, close to his hometown Fort Plain. In 1878 Fowler became the first Negro player to play in a professional baseball league, pitching in the International League. 

As a teenager Bud played on several different professional teams, most notably being listed as a pitcher and catcher initially and as a second baseman in the latter part of his career due to arm troubles. Although his playing time was scarce at many of his destinations, he was renowned for his skill. His reputation as a skilled and multi-talented player provided him with numerous opportunities to play. 

Supporting himself financially as a barber, he was able to make money while traveling which allowed him the fiscal responsibility to move wherever he needed to play the game he loved. Since there was no established rule against players of color being allowed to play, Bud was able to consistently get on rosters but finding suitable playing time was another issue. Due to racial tension, white teammates threatening to quit, and some blatant attempts to injure Fowler on the field he was forced to be a career journeyman.

It is estimated that Fowler played in over a dozen different leagues spanning two decades. Due to the landscape of professional baseball at the time, this caused him to play in roughly 20 different states across the United States. 

Playing in the era of “barehanded” fielding, Fowler was known for great fielding. He played for several minor league teams due to an understood and unwritten “gentleman’s agreement” which did not allow black players in the sport.

After over twenty years of playing across the country he, and Grant “Home Run” Johnson, a Negro league player, helped create the Page Fence Giants. This was one of the first prominent all-Black professional baseball teams and was founded over twenty years before any official Negro League was even created.  

The impact and story of Bud Fowler is not as well-known as that of Jackie Robinson, but he was every bit the pioneer that Jackie was. It was only natural that he would finally be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24, 2022. Ironically, the Hall is located in Cooperstown, the same city where Fowler learned to play the game.

Major League Baseball has been intentional about incorporating notable Black players and Negro Leaguers into the Hall of Fame. Hopefully, with more rightful inductions like Fowler’s, the Black presence can be represented much more favorably in Baseball and get more appreciation than it currently does. 

Dusty Baker Thinks MLB Hall Of Fame Voters Are Playing Favorites | If David Ortiz Is In Then Barry Bonds Shouldn’t Be Waiting For Induction

Dusty Baker Thinks MLB Hall Of Fame Voters Are Playing Favorites | If David Ortiz Is In Then Barry Bonds Shouldn’t Be Waiting For Induction

One of the greatest managers in the history of Baseball is not happy with whom the Hall of Fame voters have left out of Cooperstown.

Dusty Baker, the current manager of the Houston Astros, recently said how ridiculous it is that Barry Bonds is not a part of the MLB class of 2022 Hall of Fame. He believes that players like Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire should have their own plaque and are being treated unfairly by the committee.

Everyone assumes that Bonds was one of the many players who were a part of the steroid era, but it is key to remember that he was never suspended from the MLB for PEDs, nor did he ever test positive with the league. However, as much as Bonds denies it, a lot of people believe that he did and therefore his home run record is tainted.

“The voters (supposedly) like guys of high character, guys with no marks or any suspicions about their reputation — or maybe it’s how you treated the media,” Baker said last Monday to NBC Sports. He believes that Bonds not getting in is due to the stigma between him and the media and has nothing to do with the allegations made against him. Bonds was known to not be too friendly with the writers. People like Baker think that the media is getting revenge against Bonds for his treatment of them.

“When you talk about the best of that era, people always want you admit this or that. Well, Mark McGwire admitted and he’s not in. He should be in, too,” he also said in the interview. He feels that if David Ortiz, a player who had a positive test for PEDs back in 2003, but very much denied it, has no problem getting in, then so shouldn’t Bonds nor McGwire. Baker is a big believer in trying to forgive people for their mistakes in the game as he believes that everyone slips up and no one is perfect. He emphasized that last season with the Astros by saying fans should start to try and forgive them for their huge mistake with the scandal in 2017, and made a point of this with the media, Bonds and McGwire, and Cooperstown.

Keep in mind that Bonds and Baker have a very solid relationship with one another, as he managed him for 10 seasons, from 1993 to 2002. Bonds helped get Baker the closest he has ever gotten to a title: Game 7 of the World Series. A world Series ring is the one thing that is missing from his outstanding managerial career.

Baker, in his third season with the Astros, has helped lead them to the third-best record in the league and is primed for another deep postseason run. He has done everything imaginable to get his own plaque in Coopertown and if he can finally climb the one hill he has not been able to conquer, it will be the cherry on top.

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Derek Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday, along with Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker, catcher Ted Simmons and Players Union legend Marvin Miller.