The 2022 Negro Leagues Baseball Commemorative Coin Program celebrates the establishment of the Negro National League, the first successful, organized professional African American baseball league in the United States. Public Law 116-209 directs the U.S. Mint to produce $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins, and half dollar clad coins as part of the program.
On February 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster convened a meeting of eight independent African American baseball team owners in Kansas City, Missouri to address the problem of African American players being banned from the major leagues. The team owners formed the Negro National League, the first successful, organized professional African American baseball league in the United States. Additional leagues formed in eastern and southern states. The Negro Leagues operated until 1960. They changed not only the game of baseball, but also the United States.
The creation of the Negro Leagues provided a playing field for more than 2,600 African American and Hispanic baseball players to showcase their world-class baseball abilities. Their fast, aggressive style of play attracted black and white fans who sat together to watch those games at a time when it was virtually unheard of to interact socially in such a way.
The Negro Leagues introduced game-changing innovations such as shin guards and the batting helmet. In 1930, they were the first to pioneer “Night Baseball.” The Negro Leagues also helped make baseball a global sport by introducing professional baseball to Japan in 1927. Players from the Negro Leagues were the first people from the United States to play in many Spanish-speaking countries.
Jackie Robinson, a player for the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Negro Leagues produced other Major League Baseball stars, including Leroy “Satchel” Paige, Larry Doby, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Ernie Banks, and Roy Campanella.
About the Coins
Coin prices include surcharges of $35 for each $5 gold coin, $10 for each silver dollar, and $5 for each clad half dollar. The Public Law authorizes the Mint to pay the surcharges to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for educational and outreach programs and exhibits.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was established in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1990. Its mission is to preserve the history of African American baseball and to use the life lessons of Negro Leagues players to promote tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. In 2006, Congress granted National Designation to the museum, recognizing it as the National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.