Minnie Forbes id the last living owner of a Negro League baseball team. She owned the Detroit Stars from 1956 to 1958.
Taught to play ball herself by her uncle, baseball entrepreneur Ted Rasberry, Mrs. Forbes first played at fifteen with Cook’s Brown Dolls, a traveling softball team from Grand Rapids. After acting as secretary for her uncle’s three baseball teams– the Grand Rapids Black Sox, the Detroit Stars, and the Kansas City Monarchs–she took over the Stars as owner from Rasberry in 1956 when black baseball was winding down because of integration into the American major leagues. In later years she suited up in Grand Rapids to play third base for the Monarchs against the Black Sox, honoring three black women who were actually playing full time in the Negro League: Toni Stone, Mamie (Peanut) Johnson, and Connie Morgan.
Mrs. Forbes was the last of several women owners of Negro League teams. During her ten years working in every area of the sport, she got to know famous pitcher Satchel Paige during his visits to Grand Rapids. The only aspect of baseball life that Mrs. Forbes could not share with her players in the 1950s was traveling. It was just too dangerous. Especially in the South, black players often could not buy food, had to sleep on their buses, and were sometimes chased off the fields and out of town. In 2013, however, along with former Negro League players and historians, Mrs. Forbes visited the White House as the guest of President Barack Obama.
This biography can also be found in the Winter 2018 GGRWHC Newsletter.