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Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

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For fans of Hidden Figures and Steve Sheinkin's Undefeated, this is the powerful true story of Effa Manley, the first and only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Negro Leagues Baseball was the only game in town for black athletes. And those leagues owed their existence and success to savvy For fans of Hidden Figures and Steve Sheinkin's Undefeated, this is the powerful true story of Effa Manley, the first and only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Negro Leagues Baseball was the only game in town for black athletes. And those leagues owed their existence and success to savvy businesspeople like Effa Manley, the black female co-owner of the Newark Eagles. Effa was the team's business manager, leading her team to win the Negro World Series in 1946. But this victory was bittersweet: Integration was on its way, and the demise of the Negro Leagues would soon follow. In this riveting nonfiction account, author Andrea Williams weaves the parallel stories of the segregated leagues with the tale of an inspiring woman who was at the center of it all.


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For fans of Hidden Figures and Steve Sheinkin's Undefeated, this is the powerful true story of Effa Manley, the first and only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Negro Leagues Baseball was the only game in town for black athletes. And those leagues owed their existence and success to savvy For fans of Hidden Figures and Steve Sheinkin's Undefeated, this is the powerful true story of Effa Manley, the first and only woman in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Negro Leagues Baseball was the only game in town for black athletes. And those leagues owed their existence and success to savvy businesspeople like Effa Manley, the black female co-owner of the Newark Eagles. Effa was the team's business manager, leading her team to win the Negro World Series in 1946. But this victory was bittersweet: Integration was on its way, and the demise of the Negro Leagues would soon follow. In this riveting nonfiction account, author Andrea Williams weaves the parallel stories of the segregated leagues with the tale of an inspiring woman who was at the center of it all.

47 review for Baseball's Leading Lady: Effa Manley and the Rise and Fall of the Negro Leagues

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kellyanne

    Loved this. It provides a great history of the Negro Leagues. My one issue is that Effa felt like an ancillary person in her own story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    It's everything I love in a non-fiction. Underdogs, women breaking the glass ceiling and, shockingly, lesser known sports history. This was beautifully written and entirely engaging. It covers the history of Black baseball; the struggles, the triumphs, and Effa Manley's important role in it all. I highly recommend this book. It was a terrific read and incredibly informational. It's everything I love in a non-fiction. Underdogs, women breaking the glass ceiling and, shockingly, lesser known sports history. This was beautifully written and entirely engaging. It covers the history of Black baseball; the struggles, the triumphs, and Effa Manley's important role in it all. I highly recommend this book. It was a terrific read and incredibly informational.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Allison McCague

    This book is essential reading for any baseball fan. I learned so, so much from it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    Aside from the special exhibit on the women who played during the period made famous by the movie A League of Their Own, Effa Manley is the only woman in the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York. She (and her husband, but she was the driving force), bought and owned a couple of Negro League baseball teams during the heyday of the Negro Leagues, and up through the end of their existence. Most of the time she owned the Newark Eagles, moving from New York to New Jersey to manage them. Most of the Negr Aside from the special exhibit on the women who played during the period made famous by the movie A League of Their Own, Effa Manley is the only woman in the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York. She (and her husband, but she was the driving force), bought and owned a couple of Negro League baseball teams during the heyday of the Negro Leagues, and up through the end of their existence. Most of the time she owned the Newark Eagles, moving from New York to New Jersey to manage them. Most of the Negro League teams at the time only used verbal contracts (which, to be clear, are real and enforceable contracts) which the white baseball teams knew, used themselves occasionally, and flagrantly violated to steal the stunning players that came to their attention after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Both before that and afterwards, the Negro League teams tried various arrangements to make their teams profitable and to be able to play white teams and stay viable. They didn't work. In the end, Major League Baseball's white teams drained their best talent, while still refusing to play them in anything but exhibition games, and the League finally folded. But leading up to that time, Mrs. Manley was a force both working to keep the League afloat and to make her team a winning one. This is a very cool introduction both to the Negro League as a whole, and to a woman who loved baseball and wanted to be a part of it. Great for kids even remotely interested in the sport, but also for kids who like American history and pop culture and who are interested in race relations and the history there.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lane

    This book is as interesting as it is special. I went into this book expecting a biography of the phenom Effa Manley, a female powerhouse in American baseball and especially in the Negro Leagues, where she found and fostered some of the best Black players of the generation. But what I found was not only insight into Effa, but a nuanced and wide view of the rise of baseball, the issues that plagued not only the sport but American society, and the ways in which Black Americans made their place in s This book is as interesting as it is special. I went into this book expecting a biography of the phenom Effa Manley, a female powerhouse in American baseball and especially in the Negro Leagues, where she found and fostered some of the best Black players of the generation. But what I found was not only insight into Effa, but a nuanced and wide view of the rise of baseball, the issues that plagued not only the sport but American society, and the ways in which Black Americans made their place in spaces that fought to deny them. Every page is filled with history I had never learned, from the rise of Jackie Robinson, to Effa Manley's boycotting efforts, to the messy ways in which white baseball was integrated. Not only does this book teach, but it inspires--inspires you to think critically and inspires you to dig deeper, introducing a myriad of topics related to Effa, baseball, and integration that could keep you busy and excited by Black history for decades! The history of Black baseball provides context to Effa's life and the expediency and passion with which she managed her team and her players. While I would have loved to learn more about Effa's introduction to baseball or what she did after Black baseball had met its demise, I was thoroughly excited by what this book does provide. And like all good nonfiction, the questions it left me with inspired me to dig deeper on my own. But not only is this an expansive nonfiction, Williams writes with poignancy and charm. From the opening scene, the atmospheric tone assures you that not only are you in for good history, but also a good book. From the scenic descriptions down to the very last snapshot of Ms. Manley's mink cape, this book draws a vivid picture. Black history nonfiction for young children and teens is on the rise and I think this book has solidified its place in the field. Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus I was expecting a biography of Effa Manley, but this turned out to be one of the better discussions about the Negro Leagues and Black baseball players that I've seen. SO MUCH information on so many different topics, but also beautifully arranged with Manley's life as a framework. There were a decent number of black and white illustrations (since this deals with the 1850s to the 1950s, there was little else available), and the wide range of information makes this a E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus I was expecting a biography of Effa Manley, but this turned out to be one of the better discussions about the Negro Leagues and Black baseball players that I've seen. SO MUCH information on so many different topics, but also beautifully arranged with Manley's life as a framework. There were a decent number of black and white illustrations (since this deals with the 1850s to the 1950s, there was little else available), and the wide range of information makes this a great starting point for students who are looking for different people or events for history day projects. Jackie Robinson is a fantastic historical figure for so many reasons, but there are also hundreds of books about him. I would love to see some of the other Black players highlighted, especially those from the 1800s. I'm also a little fascinated (and yet repulsed) by Branch Rickey and would love to see more about him. Definitely purchasing, and still hoping that the #WNDB movement and the current sociopolitical climate will finally start to get more biographies about previously unheralded Black figures.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    More about business and racism than baseball. Will be a good book to spark discussions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Heaphy

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kaia

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vernon Luckert

  13. 4 out of 5

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  16. 4 out of 5

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  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Westover

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    Mrs. Mazzola

  26. 4 out of 5

    Britt, Book Habitue

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily Griffin

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    LAURA KOONS

  34. 4 out of 5

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  42. 5 out of 5

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    Cristina Garcia

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jeanetta

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    Michele

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