Ken Burns dubbed New York City the “capital of baseball” in the 1940s and ‘50s, but the fact is, the city was baseball’s undisputed mecca about a century earlier. Among the growing number of organized teams in the game’s pre-Civil War infancy were the first all-Black teams. Based in Brooklyn, these teams often played against white teams during a time of slavery and segregation. Join baseball historian Dave Kaplan to uncover the remarkable stories of New York City’s early baseball scene and tour the city ballfields where barnstorming all-Black teams, and the Negro leagues (from 1920-50), showcased their remarkable talents.
- Discover the first all-Black NYC baseball teams formed in Brooklyn before the Civil War
- Learn about The “Colored Championship of the World” played in Williamsburg in 1862
- Uncover the Dyckman Oval, New York’s leading Negro league ballpark in the 1920s and ’30s and Dexter Park, the foremost semi-pro ballpark in the country (featuring exhibitions with Babe Ruth, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige)
- Meet baseball stars like Frank Grant, the greatest Black player of the 19th-century, and Alex Pompez, the charismatic high roller in Harlem who owned the New York Cuban Stars
- Hear stories of the New York Lincoln Giants, the dominant Negro league team which disbanded in 1930
Black baseball in the 19th-century – which predates the famed Negro leagues – has a rich, but little-known history in New York. Players such as Frank Grant, who starred on the first salaried Black team – the Cuban Giants in the late 1880s – were the forerunners of the great Negro league stars, and eventual major-league legends such as Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. In this talk, you will meet some of the early starts of the sport and see the long lost stadiums where they played.
Tickets to this live virtual talk on Thursday, February 23rd are just $10. You can also gain access to unlimited virtual events per month and unlock a video archive of past events as an Untapped New York Insider starting at $10/month.
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