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COLOR ILLUSTRATION: KADIR NELSON Black BattlersInspired in part by Ken Burns's 1994 documentary on baseball, Kadir Nelson did a series of paintings about the Negro leagues. Depicted here is a game between the Memphis Red Sox and the Baltimore Elite Giants, one of the top franchises in the '40s, with players such as Joe Black, Roy Campanella and Junior Gilliam.

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: KADIR NELSON A Real Paige Turner?According to Satchel Paige, this showdown between the Negro leagues' greatest pitcher and best hitter took place in 1942, when Paige, pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs, walked two men to fill the bases so that he could face Homestead Grays catcher Josh Gibson. Paige struck out Gibson on three pitches--after telling him what was coming.

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: KADIR NELSON Cool Runnin'The sports editor of The Denver Post wrote that switch-hitting centerfielder Cool Papa Bell, first signed as a pitcher by his hometown St. Louis Stars, was so fast he could steal first base. Here, as a member of the Homestead Grays, he's shown sliding under the tag of a New York Cubans third baseman.