ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL
Because of the efforts of Reverend Gregory C. Guice, Ms. Condra Ridley (Allen County Library) and ten other Fort Wayne Organizations, “A Tribute To Negro Leagues Baseball” (A Collecton of Greatness) will appear on the second floor of the downtown Allen County Library during the month of May (last day will be May 26th).
Most of this exhibit is from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Kansas City which is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving the rich history of Negro Leagues Baseball.
The story of the Negro Leagues is one of sheer determination and devotion. These were strong-willed dedicated athletes who simply refused to accept the notion that they were unfit to share in the joys of our national past time.
The exhibit is divided into six sections: Pre-1900, 1901-1919, 1920-1931, 1932-1946, 1947 (the Color Barries Falls) and the Hall of Fame (Free standing locker and photo display plays tribute to the Negro League greats who have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame).
This exhibit is quite extensive, so plan on spending some time when you take-it-in.
SOME ARE CALLED CLOWNS
During the special ceremony of the May 4th Wizards game featuring Negro Leagues Baseball Buck O’Neal stated that Fort Wayne was Indianapolis Clowns territory.
The book, Some Are Called Clowns, by Bill Herward is one of the most interesting and funniest books ever written about baseball.
This book tells about a season with the last of the great barnstorming baseball teams; The Indianapolis Clowns. Problems this team had with rained out games (no revenue), riding a rattling red and white 1957 school bus on an all night ride, and playing on any baseball diamond that was available.
In the beginning it gives the definition of a clown; “a person with sixth sense who fortunately for mankind doesn’t have the other five.”
Chapter One tells about a 400-mile jump from Three Oaks, Michigan to Columbia, Tennessee.
Dero Austin, a 31-inch midget, was once manager and would deal out room assignments and meal money and then organize late night card games in which he fleeced the rookies of their change. Later, Ed Hamman a 66-year old diamond clown, general manager, traveling secretary, joke book hawker, PA man and former owner took over. One source of income was selling the Clown’s Baseball Laff Book. One year, Bowie Kuhn, Baseball Commissioner, asked for four free copies.
One of the posters shown in the book: “Baseball Circus” 42nd season Indianapolis Clowns vs Lasers at Riverside Park features Miss Lucy Miller Lady Umpire. Hank Aaron once played for the Clowns.
If you can pick up the book, Some Are Called Clowns, it is worth reading.