20 Aug


The Mississippi Braves in conjunction with Jackson State will pay tribute to the Negro Leagues during tonight’s doubleheader against Pensacola at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The M-Braves will don the uniform of the 1938 Atlanta Black Crackers. JSU officials, as part of their Family and Friends Night celebration, will also honor former Tigers players who went on to big league careers. The M-Braves’ Negro Leagues tribute was originally planned for 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League, but the season was canceled by the pandemic. Cool Papa Bell, a National Baseball Hall of Fame member, is the most recognizable former Negro Leagues star from Mississippi; the entrance road into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and Smith-Wills Stadium is named after the Starkville native. But an array of others from the Magnolia State also made a mark in black baseball. Here’s a few names to know: William Foster, who grew up in Rodney and attended and coached at Alcorn State, is also in the national Hall of Fame and is widely considered the best left-handed pitcher in Negro League annals. He starred on three pennant winners with the great Chicago American Giants teams of the late 1920s and early ’30s. Howard Easterling, from Mt. Olive, was a five-time All-Star and won a Negro League World Series title with the 1943 Homestead Grays. Jonestown native Luke Easter, the first black Mississippian to play in the majors, got his start in the Negro Leagues. The legendary slugger played until he was 49 and hit 385 career homers, 93 in the majors with Cleveland. Sam Hairston, from Crawford, won a batting Triple Crown with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1950 and played briefly for the Chicago White Sox in 1951. He is the patriarch of MLB’s first three-generation black family. Rufus Lewis, a Hattiesburg native, was a star pitcher from 1936-50 and won 18 games plus Game 7 of the Negro League World Series for the 1946 Newark Eagles. JSU officials will give a nod to Kelvin Moore, the first school alumnus to make it to the big leagues. Among those who followed are Oil Can Boyd, Dave Clark, Marvin Freeman and Wes Chamberlain. HBCU notes: Mississippi Valley State has named Milton Barney Jr. as its new coach. The former Gulfport High star and Alcorn State assistant coach replaces Stanley Stubbs, who resigned after one season reportedly due to health concerns. Barney is the son of Milton Barney Sr., a former Alcorn State football star, and grandson of Pro Football Hall of Famer Lem Barney, who starred at Jackson State. … JSU lost longtime assistant coach and former player Chadwick Hall, who has taken the reins at Tuskegee. … JSU recently added a power bat to its roster for 2023 with the signing of Peeko Townsend from Northwest Mississippi Community College. The 6-foot, 230-pound outfielder hit 11 homers in 42 games for the Rangers and belted eight in 18 games in the Cotton States League this summer.

One thought on “celebration

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: