Effa Manley, a progressive co-owner of the Negro Leagues' Newark (N.J). Eagles, on Monday became the first woman elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame.
"To say she was a pioneer I think is an understatement," hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.
Manley was one of 17 new members elected by a special committee meeting in Tampa to evaluate pre-Negro League and Negro League candidates.
Manley, who died in 1981 at age 84, was white but was raised with black siblings, married a black man and passed as a black woman, committee member Larry Lester said.
Manley co-owned the Eagles with her husband, Abe, from 1936-47 but made most of the business decisions.
She marketed the team aggressively, championed civil rights and campaigned to get as much money as possible for her players, who included Hall of Famer Monte Irvin. "I'm glad she made it," Irvin said from his Citrus County home. "She did everything she could."
While women are included in numerous exhibits in the Cooperstown, N.Y., hall, Manley is the first among the 278 elected members.
More on Hall of Fame elected inductees, SECTION C