negro baseball

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‘You must try to generate happiness within yourself. IF YOU AREN’T HAPPY IN ONE PLACE, chances are YOU WON’T BE HAPPY ANYPLACE!  – Ernie Banks

Happy 83rd Birthday to “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks!  In November 2013, Mr. Banks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

President Obama celebrated Banks’ achievements on and off the baseball field. From CBSSports.com’s report:

“That’s Mr. Cub — the man who came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day, and became the first black player to suit up for the Cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all time,” Obama said. “In the process, Ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs as for his cheer and his optimism, and his eternal faith that someday the Cubs would go all the way.”

Banks, who was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1977, his first year of eligibility, played for the Cubs for 19 years. He was known for his enthusiastic game pep talk, “Let’s play two!”

Today, find what makes YOU HAPPY! 

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“Make sure you do LIFE … YOUR WAY!” – Joe Black

BLACK FIRST:  On this day, October 1st, Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Joe Black became the FIRST African American to win a World Series game. He also was the National League rookie of the year in 1952.

Black was 28 years old when he joined the Dodgers, only a couple of seasons removed from the Negro leagues. Possessing a superb fastball, he became the team’s relief ace.

He had a 15-4 record with 15 saves and a 2.15 earned run average as a rookie, appearing in 56 games for the pennant-winning Dodgers.

He started only twice during the regular season, but Dodgers Manager Charlie Dressen gave Black the starting assignment in Game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees at Ebbets Field.

A strapping right-hander, Black pitched the Dodgers to a 4-2 victory, a complete-game performance in which he bested the Yankees’ ace right-hander, Allie Reynolds. Black turned in another fine performance in Game 4, facing Reynolds again, but this time the Yankees won, 2-0. He started Game 7 as well, matched against Eddie Lopat, but was the losing pitcher in a 4-2 Yankees victory.

Black served in the Army during World War II, and was pitching for the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro leagues when Branch Rickey signed Robinson to a contract with the Dodgers organization in 1945.

“When Rickey signed Jackie, I was 18 all over again,” Black recalled in an Interview. “I started dreaming. And that’s what happened to most of the guys in the Negro leagues. You forgot your age. You said, ‘If Jackie makes it, I can make it.' 

TODAY, dream it; do it; but do it YOUR WAY!

Pittsburgh native Josh Gibson, one of the stars of Negro League baseball and considered by many one of the best players in the history of the game.

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I really liked Miller Park–my first domed stadium although since it was a lovely night for baseball and the roof was open I didn’t get the full experience. But it’s a great park, they have fun, we got to see some homers, the Pirates won, and we had tater tots and mac n cheese with bacon.

My phone’s camera’s zoom is nothing special, but I really like the shot of Sogard and the one of Bell…I dunno, eating his bat or something.

We met some Giants fans who are staying in the same hotel and are from…Sacramento. Go figure. Also, in the hotel shuttle after the game, we mentioned going to KC and someone who happened to be from KC told us where to get good BBQ right near the Negro League museum. Baseball fans are the best!