NINTH ANNUAL NEGRO LEAGUES TRIBUTE AT MILLER PARK
Ninety-one years ago, Rube Foster formed a team in Milwaukee calling it the Bears. The Milwaukee Bears, the city’s 1923 representative in the Negro National League, played only one season before disbanding but featured some of the game’s most influential men, including Hall-of-Fame player/manager John Preston “Pete” Hill.
Tonight, we honor the legacy of the Milwaukee Bears and all Negro Leagues teams as we host our ninth annual Negro Leagues Tribute at Miller Park.
Former Negro League players Ted Toles Jr. and Nathan “Sonny” Weston were honored during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field as well as during a special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park.
Ted Toles Jr. was born on December 4, 1925 in Newton Falls, Ohio. Ted had an extensive baseball career before and after he signed with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1946. He played in Newton Falls and with the Warren Game Cocks from 1940-46. Ted’s pitching coach got him noticed and he signed with the Negro Leagues’ Pittsburgh Crawfords. Ted went on to play for the Newark Eagles, Cleveland Buckeyes and Jacksonville Eagles from 1946-7 and in 1949. Primarily a pitcher, he also played in the outfield. Ted was noted for his fine fastball and deceptive off-speed pitches. His pitching skills and prowess at the plate took Ted to the Minor Leagues from 1949-1953.
Nathan “Sonny” Weston was born on November 9, 1930 in New York City. Nathan played baseball for a number of teams throughout his career. He began with the Chicago Athletics, and played from 1947-50. In 1951, he made the move to the Negro American League and played for the Chicago American Giants. Although primarily an outfielder, he had a steady hand and played at first as well. Nathan finished his playing career in 1954 with the Independent League Jacksonville Eagles.
An autograph session with both honorees also took place during the first 45 minutes of the game on the Field Level Concourse near home plate. To support the museums and storytellers that carry on the memories, the proceeds of tonight’s 50/50 raffle will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and Yesterday’s Negro Leagues Foundation here in Milwaukee.
Tomorrow, Toles Jr. and Weston will be inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center located at 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way on the grounds of Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Church (COGIC), beginning at 1:45 p.m. The Club is once again partnering with the MKDC and the church as a sponsor of the annual induction ceremonies and other initiatives. This event is open to the public.
In previous years, we have honored outfielders George Altman and Lonnie Harris (2013); pitcher/utility player Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and outfielder Porter Reed (2012); pitchers Charlie “Whip” Davis and Johnny Washington (2011); pitcher Ollie Brantley and first baseman/outfielder Clinton “Butch” McCord (2010); infielder Harold “Buster” Hair Jr. and catcher James “Jim P” Tillman Sr. (2009); pitcher Eugene ‘Dick’ Scruggs and first baseman James ‘Red’ Moore (2008); and outfielder W. James ‘Jim’ Cobbin and catcher Arthur Hamilton (2007) as they were inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame. During the our first Negro Leagues Tribute in 2006, Buck O’Neil, James Sanders and Dennis Biddle were each honored.