Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Celebrates Negro League Centennial

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame located in Macon, Ga is currently celebrating the 100th  anniversary of the Negro League through its newest exhibit. The featured exhibit opened in February and will become a permanent exhibit after the 2021 Georgia Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony in May. 

The Central Georgia exhibit showcases memorabilia from players of former Negro League Baseball teams across the United States. The exhibit has a greater emphasis on the baseball teams and players from Georgia because it is housed in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. 

“We wanted to highlight people from the state [Georgia] and the team from the state that contributed to the Negro League, “ said Georgia Sports Hall of Fame curator, Nathan Jones. 

According to The Negro League Baseball’s website, the Negro League began in 1920 after discrimination and segregation prevented Black baseball players from participating in Major League Baseball in the United States. 

Aside from physical baseball memorabilia such as signed baseballs and commemorative jerseys, the exhibit is accompanied by clips of Ken Burn’s documentary series “Baseball” with two benches to watch the clips played on a flat-screen. 

GSHF curator Nathan Jones said the multimedia aspect is an element that the Hall of Fame is planning to add to other exhibits as old technology is phased out. 

According to an NPR article from December 2020, the MLB decided to recognize all 3,400 players that played in the Negro League from 1920-1948 as Major Leaguers. 

“Seeing the MLB officially recognize players of the Negro League in their Major League statistics was a serendipitous moment,” Jones said. 

Many well-known Black baseball players made a name for themselves while playing in the Negro League and when they played for Major League Baseball. Both Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige started their careers in Negro League Baseball and then moved to Major League Baseball as racial barriers began to be removed. 

A Hank Aaron exhibit is displayed near the entrance to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, as a part of the Negro League Centennial exhibit. Hank Aaron was a long-time Atlanta Braves baseball player but he started with the Indianapolis Clowns team of the Negro League. 

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $8.00 for adults, $ 6.00 for seniors, college students, and the military, and $3.50 for children 16-years-old and under. The Negro League Centennial exhibit will be downstairs for viewing until it moves upstairs in May 2021.