Rise of the Kansas City Monarchs: We Have Always Played
There remains an aura around the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most famous and successful teams in baseball’s Negro Leagues. They won a record 10 league pennants and two World Series championships, including the first in 1924. And they sent more players, including Jackie Robinson, Elston Howard, and Ernie Banks, on to major league stardom than any other Negro Leagues club.
Their impact transcended sports. “From a sociological point of view,” wrote The Call, the city’s preeminent Black newspaper, “the Monarchs have done more than any other single agent in Kansas City to break the damnable outrage of prejudice that exists in this city.”
Drawing from his book Black Baseball in Kansas City, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum co-founder Larry Lester discusses the Monarchs’ beginnings and rise, including the discovery of several of their original players on an Arizona military base by New York Yankees manager and KC native Casey Stengel. Lester recounts that memorable 1924 Colored World Series, one of the most dramatic played at any level of the game. And he shares rare photographs of early Monarchs players and teams from his collection.
In addition to his role in founding the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 1990, Lester served as its researcher and director from 1991-95. He is a researcher, consultant, and writer, publishing numerous books and articles on the Negro Leagues and contributing research to more than 220 books on sports history.