The Milwaukee Brewers will host the franchise’s 10th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game at Miller Park on Saturday, July 18 when the team takes on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:10 p.m. The team will honor the significance of the Negro Leagues and their impact on the game that night by donning Milwaukee Bears uniforms, the city’s 1923 Negro Leagues representative. The Pirates will also honor the Negro Leagues by wearing uniforms from the “Pittsburgh Crawfords,” the team that represented the Steel City from 1931 to 1938.
At this game, the Brewers will honor former players and baseball contributors Gilbert Hernandez Black and James Beckum during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field, beginning at 3 p.m., along with a special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park. In honor of the event, Brewers Community Foundation will make a donation to both the Negro Leagues Museum and Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball Players Foundation. In addition, an autograph session with both honorees will take place during the first 45 minutes of the game on the Field Level Concourse near home plate.
Gilbert Hernandez Black, known as “Gil,” was born in 1934 in Manhattan, New York. He grew up several blocks away from the famous Polo Grounds and learned to love the game by watching the New York Giants practice. He moved to Stanford in 1950 and played ball for several prominent African-American teams, including the West Palm Beach Indians, a Florida State League affiliate of the Milwaukee Braves and the Indianapolis Clowns. Though he was gifted in many positions, he predominantly pitched in his career.
James Beckum was born in Baltimore, Maryland but has called Milwaukee his home for nearly a half a century. He started his career in the Negro Leagues in 1950, but it was interrupted when he joined the military. Beckum eventually returned and played for the East St. Louis Giants. In 1966 he organized a youth baseball league in Milwaukee called the Beckum-Stapleton Little League. The league is the longest-running inner-city baseball program in the country. There are approximately 350 children who participate in the program and the league fields 25 teams.
The following day, Sunday, July 19, Hernandez Black and Beckum will be inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center (MKDC) located at 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way on the grounds of Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Church (COGIC), beginning at 1:45 p.m. The Brewers are 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, the Brewers honored pitcher/outfielder Ted Toles Jr. and outfielder Nathan “Sonny” Weston (2014); 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 Brewers’ first Negro Leagues Tribute in 2006, Buck O’Neil, James Sanders and Dennis Biddle were each honored.
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.
Fans will be able to purchase Milwaukee Bears merchandise prior to the game at Helfaer field. In addition, jerseys and caps worn by the Brewers players and coaches will be authenticated through Major League Baseball’s Authentication Program and will be available for fans to purchase prior to the day of the game. Jerseys and caps that are not pre-sold will be available for purchase through the Brewers Authentics Department, at the Brewers Authentics Kiosk (located behind Section 111 on game days), or the Brewers Charity Auction scheduled for a later date (Brewers.com/auctions).
Fans interested in purchasing or learning more about pricing and sizing information of jerseys and caps available are encouraged to contact the Brewers Authentics Department at email@example.com or by calling (414) 902-4479.