Kings of the City
All Library locations will be closed on Monday, July 4, for Independence Day.
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:
- Biography of Newt Allen (1901-1988), baseball player for the Monarchs.
- Biography of Thomas Y. Baird (1885-1962), Monarchs owner.
- Biography of Frank Duncan (1901-1973), baseball player and team manager of the Monarchs.
- Biography of Satchel Paige (1906-1982), baseball player for the Monarchs.
- Biography of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), baseball player for the Monarchs and the first black baseball player allowed to play in the major leagues.
- Biography of Wilber (Bullet Joe) Rogan (1889-1967), baseball player for the Monarchs.
- Biography of Hilton Smith (1912-1983), baseball player for the Monarchs.
- Biography of James Leslie Wilkinson (1874-1964), founder and owner of the Monarchs.
View images of the Kansas City Monarchs and Kansas City Blues from the Missouri Valley Special Collections:
- Kansas City Monarchs group portrait.
- Kansas City Blues group portrait.
- Kansas City Blues playing at Municipal Stadium.
Check out the following books and articles about the Kansas City Monarchs, Kansas City Blues, or the Negro Leagues:
- The Kansas City Monarchs: Champions of Black Baseball, by Janet Bruce; a comprehensive history of the Monarchs.
- Baseball's First Colored World Series: The 1924 Meeting of the Hilldale Giants and Kansas City Monarchs, by Larry Lester.
- Black Baseball in Kansas City, by Larry Lester and Sammy J. Miller; a photographic history of the Monarchs.
- Blackball Superstars: Legendary Players of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by Ace Collins and John Hillman; biography of twelve Negro leagues baseball players.
- Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-black Professional Teams, by Robert Peterson; touted by many as the "original" historical account of black baseball.
- Satchel Paige and Company: Essays on the Kansas City Monarchs, Their Greatest Star and the Negro Leagues, by Leslie A. Heaphy; a collection of short essays emphasizing Satchel Paige, a star from the later years of the Monarchs.
- The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip through Buck O'Neil's America, by Joe Posnanski; a sketch of baseball history through the story of Buck O’Neil, player for the Kansas City Monarchs.
- The Ultimate Kansas City Baseball Trivia Quiz Book: Royals, Monarchs, Athletics, Blues and More, by Phil S. Dixon.
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:
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.
About the Author
|Dr. Jason Roe is a digital history specialist and editor for the Library’s digitization and encyclopedia website project, Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865. He earned a doctorate in American history from the University of Kansas in May 2012 and is the author of the Library’s popular “This Week in Kansas City History” column. For assistance with general local history questions, please contact the Missouri Valley Special Collections.|