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The Augusta Rams

The Story

Professional baseball in Augusta dates back to 1884, when the Augusta Browns were formed. The ballclub changed names and ownerships several times, being known as the Electricians, Tourists, and Tigers, to name a few. However, it wasn’t until 1954 that the first African-American player signed on with the ballclub, Leonard Hunt.

Hunt, a speedy outfielder who hit for a high average, was optioned to Augusta from the AA team in Dallas in June of 1954. He had spent the previous season with the Texarkana Tigers of the Class B Big State League, where he hit .313 and drove in 70 runs across 129 games. Hunt made his unofficial debut as a 3rd base coach on June 16th against the Columbia Reds, and his official playing debut the next day, June 17th, going 0-1 at the plate.

All told, Leonard Hunt appeared in 77 games for the Rams, hitting to a .325 average with 29 extra base hits and 39 RBI. He would eventually be reassigned to the Big State League, where he finished the 1954 season with the Tyler Tigers. Hunt would finish his recorded career with a pair of seasons in the Class C Northern League with the Aberdeen Pheasants in South Dakota before retiring. Upon his retirement, Hunt returned to his home of St. Louis, and became a schoolteacher.

The Augusta Rams existed for two seasons, 1953 and 1954, playing at Jennings Stadium in downtown Augusta. Following the ’54 season, the Augusta club were picked up as an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and changed their name back to the Augusta Tigers as it had been from 1936-1942 as well as 1946-1952.

A Piece of History

The Nine Program

Minor League Baseball announced in 2022 the launch of “The Nine,” a new, Black-community focused outreach platform specifically designed to honor and celebrate the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport, provide new opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation, further diversify the business of baseball, and embrace millions of passionate fans throughout MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide.

Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in MiLB with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946, The Nine will connect MiLB teams’ existing, Black-community focused development efforts with new national programming and future special events in a coordinated and centralized campaign. The new inclusion initiative follows MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión -- the Latino fan engagement platform introduced in 2017 that included 76 MiLB teams in 2021.

The Nine will recognize and honor numerous Black pioneers and trailblazing civil rights leaders in all 120 MiLB communities, ensuring the heroes of the past and their contributions continue to be celebrated through ceremonies and events at MiLB ballparks and in the community. Recent tributes and celebrations have included Negro Leagues commemorative games honoring the Austin Black Senators in Round Rock (TX), the Bradenton (FL) Nine Devils, and Page Fence Giants near Lansing (MI). Additional tribute games are being planned for the 2022 season and beyond.

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