COLUMBUS, OH – To celebrate Black History Month and the second year of Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative, the Columbus Clippers today announced a partnership with the Indianapolis Indians in honoring the Columbus Blue Birds and the Indianapolis ABCs – ball clubs that played in the Negro Leagues –
COLUMBUS, OH – To celebrate Black History Month and the second year of Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative, the Columbus Clippers today announced a partnership with the Indianapolis Indians in honoring the Columbus Blue Birds and the Indianapolis ABCs – ball clubs that played in the Negro Leagues – during their series against each other in May and June.
The Negro Leagues Summer Series debuts on Sunday, May 28 at Huntington Park, where the Clippers will honor the Blue Birds by donning specialty jerseys as the home team facing off against Indianapolis wearing ABCs jerseys and caps. The Negro Leagues recognition continues with the same jerseys worn June 20-24 at Victory Field in Indianapolis. Both teams will auction off the game worn, autographed Blue Birds and ABCs jerseys to benefit Clippers Charities and Indianapolis Indians Charities.
“As we start the second season of celebrating ‘The Nine’, which is the name of Minor League Baseball’s initiative to honor and salute the players of the Negro Leagues, we have teamed up with Indianapolis, with each of us wearing these special historical jerseys home and away in each city to share some of this very important history with both fan bases,” said Ken Schnacke, Columbus Clippers president and general manager.
The Columbus Buckeyes were an associate member of the Negro National League in 1921 and the Columbus Blue Birds became a founder member of the second incarnation of the Negro National League in 1933. The team played their games at Neil Park, shared with the Columbus Red Birds of the American Association. Negro League Legend Dizzy Dismukes managed the Blue Birds with a roster compiled of a combination of Veterans and Rookies including Bill Byrd, Roosevelt Davis and Columbus born short stop Leroy Morney. The team rebranded to the Akron Black Tyrites and the Cleveland Giants following a pair of mid- and late-season moves during the 1933 campaign.
The ABCs were a charter member of the Negro National League and played in the first official Negro Leagues game against the Chicago American Giants on May 2, 1920 at Washington Park in Indianapolis. Oscar Charleston, an Indianapolis native who today is regarded as one of the best baseball players of all time despite never having the chance to play in the major leagues, played for the ABCs. He later became manager of the Indianapolis Clowns, another Circle City-based Negro Leagues team that featured Hank Aaron, Chuck Harmon and the first three women to ever play professionally with men – Toni Stone, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Connie Morgan.
“We are thankful for the Columbus Clippers and their willingness to collaborate on an incredible promotion to honor the Indianapolis ABCs and Columbus Blue Birds of the Negro Leagues as part of Minor League Baseball’s ‘The Nine’ initiative,” said Randy Lewandowski, Indianapolis president and general manager. “In addition to the on-field jerseys, we hope to educate the players, fans and staff from both teams on the significance of the Negro Leagues, ABCs and Blue Birds, and their impact on professional baseball today with help from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”
The International League West Division foes will first collide in late April at Victory Field in Indianapolis using the traditional team names during that series.
The 2023 season begins March 31 in Des Moines, IA when the Clippers take on the Iowa Cubs. For tickets and more information, log on to clippersbaseball.com or call (614) 462-5250.