The Most Famous Woman in Baseball

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For more than a decade Effa Manley and her husband owned of the Negro Leagues’ Newark Eagles. Although disrespected by some of her colleagues, Manley was a baseball enthusiast and a fervent advocate for the rights of African Americans. This week Bill interviews Bob Luke, the author of The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues.

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Bill's Thoughts on The Most Famous Woman in Baseball

Effa Manley, the only woman enshrined in Cooperstown, was thrifty.

Posing for a photograph taken in 1978, she wore the mink stole she'd bought after selling Monte Irvin's contract to Horace Stoneham and the New York Giants 30 years earlier.

As the wife of Abe Manley, who owned the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League during the '30s and '40s, Effa Manley fought to keep her team and the league upright and profitable. She battled players who left Negro League teams for more lucrative employment in Mexico, and she carried on a long and unsuccessful battle to land Satchel Paige, who kept saying he wanted to play for her team, but somehow never did it. Manley was also active in the struggle for equal rights, including the right of Negro League owners to get some compensation from Branch Rickey and various other Major League moguls who were stealing their employees.

Bob Luke's biography of Manley provides a clear and interesting picture of Effa Manley and the realm within which she operated, and often prevailed.

This segment aired on April 2, 2011.

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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