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The first minor league baseball teams in Kansas represented Topeka and Leavenworth as members of the Western League in 1886 and 1887. The 1886 Topeka Base Ball Club was an integrated team, featuring Bud Fowler at second base for all but the final eight games of the season. Although Black ballplayers were generally excluded from playing on minor league or major league clubs prior to 1946, Fowler was a fan favorite in Topeka and the team’s leading hitter. The team finished fourth among the six teams. In 1887, the Topeka Base Ball Association hired Walton Goldsby to manage the club and improve on the previous record. Goldsby assembled a team on which all of the members except one had played or would play for major league clubs. The team became known as Goldsby’s Golden Giants. They easily won the Western League pennant and are arguably one of the best minor league teams of the nineteenth century. The stories of these two clubs are summarized.

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Bud Fowler, integrated baseball, minor league baseball, Western League, Topeka baseball, Goldsby’s Golden Giants, Topeka Golden Giants



Topeka Enters the Minor Leagues, 1886–1887: Bud Fowler and Goldsby’s Golden Giants

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