At the close of the first Negro National League season in 1920, The Kansas City Sun declared “Negro baseball is here to stay.”
The paper made several observations about the state of the league and its future and picked the league’s first all-star team. Beginning with a bit of bragging, the paper said that in spite of the Chicago American Giants winning the pennant, “Kansas City proved to be the best Negro baseball city.”
As evidence of Kansas City’s dominance, The Sun said:
“One hundred thousand White and Negro fans attended the Monarch games at Association Park the past season without the least bit of friction…(and) played to more local fans than the Kansas City Blues (of the American Association)…Negro teams used to play for a keg of beer, but now they play for $5,000 gates.”
The league as a whole, according to the paper, drew “more than 700,000 fans.”
but, it was not all a glowing review, The Sun did acknowledge one of the league’s biggest difficulties in the inaugural season, “(They) did not discover any real Negro umpires the past season;” inconsistent umpiring would remain an issue in subsequent years.
Perhaps most importantly, The Sun said the current season “Made baseball a safe investment,” and “Made baseball contracts legal.”
The final point was overly optimistic, as contract jumping and player raids were a serious detriment to the league throughout its 11-year run.
The Sun also picked the league’s first all-star team:
Catchers: George “Tubby” Dixon, Chicago American Giants and John Beckwith, Chicago Giants
First Base: Ben Taylor, Indianapolis ABC’s
Second Base: Bingo DeMoss, Chicago American Giants
Third Base: Bartolo Portuondo, Kansas City Monarchs