During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, professional baseball teams and leagues were segregated. Whites prohibited African Americans from playing on teams with white players and usually prevented white teams and black teams from playing in the same professional leagues. As a result of this segregation, there were separate leagues and teams for whites and blacks in professional baseball's early decades.
The Cincinnati Clowns was a professional African-American baseball team in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team played in the Negro American League. Established in 1942, the Cincinnati Clowns was originally known as the Cincinnati Buckeyes. That same year, team owners changed the club's name to the Cincinnati Clowns. In 1944, the team became known as the Indianapolis-Cincinnati Clowns, playing some of its home games in Cincinnati and others in Indianapolis, Indiana. The next season, the Clowns returned exclusively to Cincinnati. In 1946, the team permanently relocated to Indianapolis and became known as the Indianapolis Clowns. The Indianapolis Clowns remained in the Negro American League until 1950.