|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Celebrating America's Pastime
By Kate Mutch, Public Service Librarian
October 28 , 2009
Baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and many can quote statistics, player information and other tidbits at the drop of a hat. But there is one side of baseball’s history that is less known – the African American experience.
Willy Mays, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige are some of the major league baseball stars who had their start in the Negro Leagues. Learn more about these famous players and the teams and players that paved their way through a new exhibit coming to your library this winter.
The Negro leagues began in the early 20th century. After being banned from playing on the white teams, African-American players created their own teams that traveled and sought out other teams to challenge. These games were exciting, showing a power-hitting, fast-running playing style that attracted thousands of fans.
Many believe the players on these teams were as talented or more talented than many of the players on the white teams at the time. Mainstream media seldom covered their games and statistics for the games are incomplete, often documented after the fact from memory.
In 1947 Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier for the first time. The next year the Cleveland Indians signed Satchel Paige, making him the oldest rookie at 42 years old. By 1952 over 150 players had been integrated into the Major Leagues and the era of Negro league baseball came to an end.
Experience the remarkable history of baseball's Negro leagues and the challenges and successes of these players at the Natrona County Public Library November 12 through January 15.
Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, a traveling exhibition for libraries,was organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Chicago. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.
NCPL is one of 50 libraries to host this traveling exhibit, based on an exhibition of the same name on permanent display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The colorful, multi-panel exhibit features photographs, team rosters, scorecards and other baseball memorabilia alongside the history of the Negro leagues and stories of the players and teams.
Several programs are planned to augment the exhibit.
November 12 at 6:30 p.m. an opening reception will be held, featuring guest speaker Mack A. Pride, Jr., who played baseball with the Memphis Red Sox and the Kansas City Monarchs.
November 18th at 6:30 p.m. actor Gregory Gibson Kenney will portray Jackie Robinson's life, from growing up in Pasadena, California, to being the first to open Major League doors for African Americans.
December 10th at 6:30 p.m. hear stories from former Negro league players Hank Presswood and Johnny Washington accompanied by baseball fan and Negro League Player Promoter, Gary Crawford.
All programs will be held in the Crawford Room at the library. Call 577-READ for more information.
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