Ancestors of the famed 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars baseball team will come together this weekend for the Field of Honour game continuing the push to see the All-Stars inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 1934 All-Stars were the first all-Black baseball team to compete in the Ontario Baseball Association playoffs, the first team from Chatham to win an Ontario championship when they defeated Penetang for the Intermediate ‘B’ title that year, and they were the first all-Black baseball team to win a provincial title in Canada.
“The All-Stars should not only be in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for their talents, but also for their role in breaking the colour barriers of baseball in this country,” said Brock Greenhalgh, the lead organizer of the event, in a media release.
“Along with the Vancouver Asahi, an all-Japanese Canadian team that is already in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the Chatham All-Stars are an incredible example of talent, perseverance, and the fight for racial equity. Their history is Canadian history, and their presence in the Hall of Fame would recognize the struggles Black baseball players faced, and continue to overcome in Canada.”
The game, which will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 2 at Fergie Jenkins Field at Rotary Park is open to the public, with admission by donation. Social distancing rules will be in effect, and door prizes will be available.
Two teams of ancestors of the All-Stars, who played in Chatham from 1932 until 1939 will face off in a baseball game, celebrating the history of the team, and their families.
“We worked very hard to track down a direct ancestor of each player that donned an All-Stars uniform in the 1930s,” says Sam Meredith, of the All-Stars roster which included players from Chatham-Kent, Detroit, Windsor, and Walpole Island.
“We’re excited that so many family members will be in Chatham for this game, to honour these men, and to show why the legacy of the All-Stars belongs in the Hall of Fame,” added Meredith, who is the Executive Director and Curator of the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum in Chatham.
According to Greenhalgh, he hopes the Field of Honour game provides the final push the All-Stars, who are already members of the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame, need to secure their rightful spot in Canadian baseball history.
“When people see the grandchildren, great grandchildren, and family members of the All-Stars on the field, we hope they see the power of sport, and the last impact the Chatham Coloured All-Stars have had on baseball, and in opening doors for Black baseball players, not just in Chatham-Kent, or Ontario, but across Canada.”