INDIANAPOLIS – To celebrate Black History Month and the second year of Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative, the Indianapolis Indians today announced a partnership with the Columbus Clippers in honoring the Indianapolis ABCs and Columbus Blue Birds – ballclubs that played in the Negro Leagues – during their series
INDIANAPOLIS – To celebrate Black History Month and the second year of Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative, the Indianapolis Indians today announced a partnership with the Columbus Clippers in honoring the Indianapolis ABCs and Columbus Blue Birds – ballclubs that played in the Negro Leagues – during their series against each other in May and June. Negro Leagues Week presented by Hoosier Lottery and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission will take place at Victory Field from Tuesday, June 20 through Saturday, June 24.
The Negro Leagues Summer Series debuts on Saturday, May 27 at Huntington Park, where the Indians will wear ABCs jerseys and caps as the road team against the Clippers, who will honor the Blue Birds with specialty jerseys. The Negro Leagues recognition continues with the same jerseys worn June 20-24 at the Vic. Both teams will auction off the game-worn, autographed ABCs and Blue Birds jerseys to benefit Indianapolis Indians Charities and Clippers Charities.
“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 Indians president and general manager. “In addition to the on-field jerseys, we hope to educate 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 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.
The Blue Birds were an associate member of the Negro National League in 1931 and became a founding member of the second incarnation of the Negro National League in 1933. 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.
“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 the Indianapolis Indians, 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 International League West foes first collide at Victory Field from April 25-30 but will remain as the Indians and Clippers during that respective series.
The Indianapolis Indians open the 2023 season on Friday, March 31 against the Omaha Storm Chasers at Victory Field. Full season, half season and mini plans are on sale, and group and premium reservations may also be made. Single-game tickets go on sale Wednesday, March 1 at 10 AM. For more on the Indians, visit IndyIndians.com or contact the Victory Field Box Office at (317) 269-3545 or [email protected].