Michael James Monroe was a tobacco Baron and influential investor in antebellum Virginia. Like many post-war investors in the late 1880s, Monroe recognized the marketing potential of a baseball league in the Southern United States and was an influential executive in the early years of the Legacy Baseball League. A shrewd, fierce competitor known for his stoicism and cutthroat business sense, Monroe provided a large portion of the investment funds necessary to secure the foundation of the Legacy Baseball League, on the condition that a team be admitted from the city of Richmond, with exclusive rights to Monroe: The Richmond Rifles.
Born to James Washington Monroe, a railroad and tobacco magnate, Michael Monroe was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, class of 1859. He served two years at Fort Macon, North Carolina, before joining the Confederate States of America in April of 1861, as a Captain and Commander of Company B of the First Virginia Regiment. Monroe served in the First Virginia under Stonewall Jackson as a General’s Aide to General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Army of the Shenandoah. Monroe saw action at Bull Run, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, and Petersburg. After the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Union, Monroe returned to Richmond and began extending his tobacco investments through partnerships made during his military tenure.
Known for unorthodox and radical business practices, Monroe is best known for hiring the disgraced US Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kirby”Indian Jack” Preston, as the founding Manager of the Richmond Rifles.