Adventures in Baseball Archeology: the Negro Leagues, Latin American baseball, J-ball, the minors, the 19th century, and other hidden, overlooked, or unknown corners of baseball history...with occasional forays into other sports.
Though I haven’t done any sort of rigorous demographic study or anything like that, it has always been my impression that an awful lot of Negro league players died at surprisingly young ages, an impression I share with Dave Wyatt, for one.
How many men played for black baseball teams at the highest levels (NNL, ECL, and ANL, plus a few independents like the Homestead Grays) in the 1920s? I don’t know…a thousand? Fifteen hundred? Currently in the United States 1 in 3,300 people are aged 100 or over. So it seems, for whatever it’s worth, that the rate for the 1920s Negro leagues is rather high, compared to the general population.