This week marks the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues. The conglomeration of baseball leagues featuring African-Americans and other minorities helped pave the way toward integration in MLB, and also gave players a chance to play professional ball during a time of intense segregation. The anniversary has brought about a "Tip Your Cap" campaign featuring many famous individuals giving a small tribute to the leagues and the players from the past -- it's a beautiful gesture, especially with the game on pause. St. Louis Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith joined in recently to pay his respects.
Smith mentioned his good friend Buck O'Neil, who played and became an ambassador for Negro League baseball throughout his long life. All the hard work put in by O'Neil and others allowed Smith to embark on his own successful career in MLB, and the shortstop acknowledges those contributions with the tip of his cap.
Negro League baseball is an important part of not only baseball history, but of the history of this country. This campaign is a great one, and all the legends taking part, including Smith, shows the importance the Negro Leagues had on the game of baseball and our society.