A man of firsts, Baker played a significant role in the history of the New York-Penn League, and baseball in general, when he broke the managerial color barrier by becoming the first African-American manager in organized baseball when the Pittsburgh Pirates named him skipper of the Batavia club in 1961. In 1963 he became the second black coach in the Major Leagues, following Buck O'Neill by a half-season. He can also be credited with being the first black manager in Major League Baseball when he took over for ejected Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh on September 21, 1963. After his coaching days, Baker spent many years as a scout for the Pirates organization. He spent 8 seasons in the Majors with the Cubs and Pirates, and was the first African-American player to ever make the Chicago Cubs roster in 1953.
The purpose of the New York-Penn League Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals for their overall accomplishments or contributions to the league on the field of play or in an administrative role.
"As the oldest, continuously operated Class A league in professional baseball, the list of players, coaches, field managers, general managers, and owners reads like a Who's Who of Baseball," says, Ben Hayes, the President of the New York-Penn League.
Inductees are nominated and voted on by New York-Penn League club officials. Yearly Hall of Fame inductions occur at the site of the league's annual All-Star Game.
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