An exhibit inside the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Negro league baseball.
Jessica Trouppe had always heard her husband mention that his grandfather was a great baseball player in the Negro Leagues. But it seemed like distant family history, until she came to the Yogi Berra Museum last October and saw a 1946 photo of Quincy Trouppe standing alongside Sam Jethroe, his teammate on the 1945 world champion Cleveland Buckeyes.
Trouppe played for 18 years, ending his career in the Major Leagues playing just six games as a 39-year-old rookie for the 1952 Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball. It’s a classic story of opportunity thwarted by institutional racism.
Stories like these come alive in “Discover Greatness,” an illustrated history of Negro league baseball. It’s a traveling exhibit of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and is now in New Jersey.
New Jersey is an appropriate place for such a tribute, with so much of the league’s history having played out in the Garden State – from the Newark Eagles and their 1946 championship team to Hinchcliffe Stadium in Paterson. Hinchcliffe is one of the last remaining Negro league stadiums. It is now decrepit but slated for restoration.
Then there are also people like Paterson’s own Larry Doby, who followed Jackie Robinson into MLB to become the first black player in the American League.
“It’s a local story for us,” says Yogi Berra Museum executive director Eve Schaenen.
The Yogi Berra museum reopens Saturday. There is limited capacity for safety reasons, so visitors can buy a ticket online for a two-hour visit. The exhibit has been extended to run until March.