Society honors little-known Negro League players

The Negro Baseball League produced greats like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson. But did you know women played in the league too?

Kathy Stewart,

WASHINGTON – The Negro Baseball League produced greats like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson, but men weren’t the only ones lacing up their cleats.

Although the league started shortly after the Civil War ended, it took until the 1920s before it was formally organized. The league included three female players but only one is still alive.

On the baseball diamond Mamie “Peanut” Johnson-Goodman shattered racial barriers and the glass ceiling. She’s now in her late 70s.

Paula Royster is the founder of the Center for African American Genealogical Research (CAAGRI) in Fredericksburg. She says not many people know about Mamie “Peanut” Johnson-Goodman, a resident of Washington, D.C., who one of three women who played in the league.

Johnson-Goodman played as a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953-55. At the time she weighted 100-pounds and stood 5 feet 2 inches.

“It’s a wonderful story about a woman who loved the game,” says Royster.

Royster doesn’t want the history of the Negro Baseball League to die. So, on Saturday, Aug. 11, the Center will be honoring four of the original players. Johnson-Goodman will be in attendance along with Henry Mason, Pedro Sierra and Joe Durham.

The event will take place at the Virginia Historical Society at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the CAAGRI website.

WTOP’s Lacey Mason contributed to this report. Follow Lacey and WTOP on Twitter.

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