As of Tuesday, less than two dozen tickets were left for the African American Chamber of Commerce’s Milwaukee Brewer’s Negro League Ticket Baseball game tailgate party.
The tailgate party precedes the annual Negro League Tribute game Saturday, July 9 at Miller Park.
The commerce’s tailgate party is but part of a weekend of activities culminating with the inductee ceremony of two Negro League legends at Holy Redeemer COGIC Sunday afternoon.
This year’s inductees are Charles “Whip” Davis and Johnny Washington. Davis played for the Memphis Red Sox 1950-1955 and Washington, played for the Houston Eagles in 1948 and the Chicago American Giants 1949-1952.
Born on March 15, 1927 in For Valley, Georgia, Davis also served as the manager of the Rockdale Rawhide team in 1958, before moving on the to the Georgia/Alabama Amateur League.
“One of the most exciting times during my career was playing in the 1953 East West All Star game,” he said in a recent interview.
Washington, born on April 20, 1930, played for the Chicago American Giants and the Houston Eagles.
Washington received two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star in the Korean War. Doctors advised him to abandon baseball because of injuries he received during military service. He continued to play in minor leagues until 1959 and in the Chicago and Midwest League until 1963.
He was present at the 111th Birthday celebration from pre-Negro League player Silas Simmons October 14, 2006, in Florida.
Johnny was a versatile athlete who played pitcher, first base and outfield.
As part of its decade long tradition to honor the Negro Leagues, the Brewers pay tribute to two Negro League teams each year. This year, the Brewers will don the uniforms of the old Milwaukee Bears, while their opponents on Saturday; the Cincinnati Reds will wear the uniforms of the Cincinnati Reds.
The 6:10 p.m. baseball game will be preceded by a Legends and Legacy pre-game tailgate reception, featuring the honorees and several other prominent Negro Leaguers, at Helfaer Field, on the Miller Park parking lot.
The Negro Leagues began after the civil war and through the 1960s. Some of the most famous African American players, who were denied a chance to play in the major leagues because of their race, excelled in the Negro Leagues. The color line was finally broken when Negro Leaguer Jackie Robinson was recruited to the major leagues in 1947.
Negro League inductees will be escorted during their tribute weekend by local Negro League legend Dennis Biddle.
On Friday, July 8, from 12:30-2:30pm the Negro Leaguers will be the luncheon guests of CYD. The event will take place at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, 3020 West Vliet St.
Biddle, president of Yesterday’s Negro League Baseball Players Foundation, will be the keynote speaker.
The Foundation will also bring Negro League greats James Cobbin, Carl Long and Hank Presswood to the function.
The induction ceremony into the Yesterday’s Negro League Wall of Fame will take place at Mother Kathryn Daniels Conference Center on Sunday, July 10th at 1:30 p.m.
July 8th from 4:00pm-6:00pm Negro League Players will be at Satin Wave, 6446 W. Fond du Lac Ave, signing autographs and talking about the history of the Negro League.