Kings of the City

The Kansas City Monarchs. Photo courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections

The Kansas City Monarchs. Photo courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections

October 6, 1922: The Kansas City Monarchs and the Kansas City Blues baseball teams embarked on a six-game series that would end with the Monarchs being crowned "The New City Champions" by the Kansas City Star.

The Monarchs, founded in 1920, were an all-black baseball team in the Negro National League. The Blues, the leading minor league team of white baseball in the central United States at the time, had one of the best offenses in the American Association. By winning five of the six games, the Monarchs clearly demonstrated the talent many black players possessed in a time when white baseball players received most of the glory.

The victory caused Thomas Hickey, commissioner of the American Association, to ban American Association teams from playing Negro National League teams. The Monarchs went on to defeat Babe Ruth’s All Stars team in the same year, causing major league baseball to institute similar bans on interracial play.

With these wins, however, Wilbur "Bullet Joe" Rogan, pitcher for the Monarchs, established a reputation as one of the finest players in the sport and became one of the first black superstars. The Monarchs continued their winning ways by dominating the Negro National League (and later the Negro American League), with 12 league championships in its 37 seasons of existence.

Read full biographical sketches on players and owners associated with the Kansas City Monarchs, prepared by David Conrads, the Missouri Valley Special Collections:

View images of the Kansas City Monarchs and Kansas City Blues from the Missouri Valley Special Collections:

Check out the following books and articles about the Kansas City Monarchs, Kansas City Blues, or the Negro Leagues:

Visit the Negro League Baseball Players Association website.

Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 East 18th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64108, (816) 221-1920.

Continue your own research on the Kansas City Monarchs or the Kansas City Blues using the following archival resources from the Missouri Valley Special Collections:

References:

Janet Bruce, The Kansas City Monarchs: Champions of Black Baseball (Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas, 1985), 45, 54-55, 62-63.

David Conrads, "Biography of Wilber (Bullet Joe) Rogan," Missouri Valley Special Collections.

David Conrads, "Biography of James Leslie Wilkinson," Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Conor Nicholl, "Rogan: Ball's Best All-Around Player?: Kansas City Monarchs Star's Talent is Arguably Unmatched," Kansas City Royals website, July 20, 2007.

Jason Roe
Historical date: 
Friday, October 6, 1922

About the Author

Jason Roe is a digital history specialist at the Kansas City Public Library, content manager and editor for the Civil War on the Western Border website, and the author of the Library's popular "This Week in Kansas City History" column. Prior to joining the Library, he earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Kansas in May 2012. While at KU, he was named the 2011-2012 Richard and Jeanette Sias Graduate Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, and he received the History Department's 2012 George L. Anderson Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation for his work, "From the Impoverished to the Entitled: The Experience and Meaning of Old Age in America since the 1950s." He enjoys tackling a wide variety of projects relating to U.S. and local history.

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