West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection

Historic image of Oakland Larks
Oakland Larks players (left-right): Herman Charles, Foy Scott, Johnny Allen, Alexander C. Colthirst, circa 1946, West Coast Negro Baseball Association collection, MS 17, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library.

The West Coast Negro Baseball Association was formed on March 9, 1946 at a meeting of the High Marine Social Club at the Elks Clubhouse in Oakland, California. The baseball league was spearheaded by two Berkeley firemen, Eddie Harris and David P. Portlock, who pitched the idea of forming a Negro baseball league on the West Coast that would use Pacific Coast League parks while teams were away. Abe Saperstein, founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, was elected president of the association with track star Jessie Owens serving as vice-president, and David Portlock as secretary. The league consisted of six teams: San Francisco Sea Lions, Seattle Steelheads, Portland Rosebuds, Oakland Larks, San Diego Tigers, and Los Angeles White Sox. The league's first official game was between the Oakland Larks and the San Diego Tigers on May 12, 1946 at Fresno Midget Auto Racing Park. The league played only one season, disbanding after the final game in July, 1946, though the Oakland Larks baseball team would continue to play as a barnstorming club through 1947.

The West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, by-laws, photographs, and ephemera related to the creation and operation of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association and the Oakland Larks.

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Dates: 1945-1949
Collection number: MS 17
Creator: Harris, Eddie
Collection Size: .75 linear feet (2 boxes)

Guide to the West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection

Available at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

We encourage researchers to contact AAMLO before visiting so that we can be prepared to assist you. Please call 510-637-2000 or email aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org to arrange an appointment or inquire about access.