In honor of International Women’s Day, I pose the following question to you: How many women have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame? The answer: one. While the women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League have been recognized by the Hall, Effa Manley is the only woman elected to the Hall of Fame.
Effa and Abe Manley owned the Newark Eagles during the 1930s and 1940s. (They’d met in Yankee Stadium during the 1932 World Series.) Mrs. Manley was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the team and demanded better scheduling, pay, and accommodations throughout the Negro Leagues. She also advocated for Major League Baseball to compensate Negro League teams for the players they signed away.
Mrs. Manley was also active in the civil rights movement, supporting and organizing boycotts of businesses that would not hire black workers. She served as the treasurer of the Newark chapter of the NAACP and often promoted social causes at Eagles games. For example, in 1939 she held an “Anti-Lynching Day” at Rupert Stadium.
All in all, Effa Manley seems like a pretty cool lady. She passed away in 1981 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. On her tombstone is written, “She loved baseball.”