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Negro league baseball’s demise assured once MLB integrated in 1947

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In February for Black History Month, USA TODAY Sports is publishing the series “28 Black Stories in 28 Days.” We examine the issues, challenges and opportunities Black athletes and sports officials continue to face after the nation’s reckoning on race following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. This is the third installment of the series.

Effa Manley wasn’t happy about losing Don Newcombe, so she wrote the Brooklyn Dodgers to complain.

The Newark Eagles owner had expected to renew Newcombe’s contract until Branch Rickey swooped in to sign the Negro league pitcher in 1946 as part of his effort to integrate Major League Baseball.

Manley opened her April 9, 1946 letter saying she was “elated” Newcombe has been selected as “one of the pioneers” and praised Rickey as a “crusader” but quickly turned to her concerns.

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