The Rochester Red Wings are joining Minor League Baseball in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues baseball on Friday, June 19 at Frontier Field.
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The Rochester American Giants - a minor league team affiliated with the Negro Leagues - called the Flower City home in the 1940's. The Wings will honor that team by wearing replica jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off using the LiveSource mobile app with proceeds benefitting the "They Stepped Up To The Plate" Foundation - a local non-profit led by Honeoye Falls resident Jeff Klein and his family whose mission is to spread the stories of former Negro League players.
"We look forward to the opportunity to educate and inform our fans about the Rochester American Giants and many of the other great players and teams from the Negro Leagues as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues," said Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason. "Our fans will have the incredible opportunity to meet and hear from some former Negro League Players as well as check out an incredible traveling display of Negro League photos and artifacts. We are fortunate to be working with Jeff Klein and his family on this event and we look forward to helping raise some funding for the 'They Stepped Up to the Plate' Foundation so that they can continue to educate fans in our community about these great men who played in the Negro Leagues."
The night will also feature appearances from Ernest Fann, who was a catcher for the Raleigh Tigers, Ike Walker, a Rochester resident who was a catcher on the 1963 Satchel Paige All-Star Team and Walt Williams, a Rochester native who played for the American Giants as a 15-year-old under manager Rocky Simmons. Both men will be available on the Frontier Field concourse before the game for a meet-and-greet and will take part in a pre-game interview on the field.
The discussion will also include Sean Gibson - the great grandson of Josh Gibson, one of the most prolific Negro League players of all time. Sean is the executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation and will have a traveling Negro Leagues display that will be available for fans to check out on the concourse during the game.
The night will conclude with a post-game fireworks show.