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No female athlete has yet made the enormous leap to one of the four major league sports in America, but Effa Manley did accomplish a major league-type deed: In 2006, Manley became the first – and so far, the only – woman inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
With her husband, Manley was the co-owner of the Newark Eagles, who in 1946 won the Negro League World Series. But her real accomplishments came as a civil rights leader, arguing for fair player compensation and striving to make the MLB a place where everyone would be treated fairly, especially former Negro League players who were making inroads into Major League Baseball. She was also a leader for a number of local causes, including welcoming returning soldiers and helping African-American civic groups.
Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame:
- Only about 0.06 percent of all Major League players get enshrined in the hall, making it the toughest of all major sports.
- Manley might be the only woman in the hall, but it also features a "Diamond Dreams" exhibit featuring women who have made important contributions to the game.
- The building housing the Hall of Fame was originally a high school gymnasium.