Born on June 24, 1930 in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Neale “Bobo” Henderson was exposed to Negro League baseball at an early age. On the Kansas City Monarchs’ frequent trips to Fort Smith, a favorite Negro League barnstorming stop in the late 1930s, Henderson was the team’s batboy. This allowed him to see Josh Gibson, “Cool Papa” Bell, and other Negro League stars up close. After moving to San Diego, California and becoming a football and baseball star in high school, Henderson signed in 1949 with the Kansas City Monarchs. He played shortstop for the team until 1953.