The Milwaukee Brewers will host the franchise’s 11th annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game, presented by Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, at Miller Park on Saturday, June 25, when the team takes on the Washington Nationals at 3:10 p.m.
The Brewers will honor the significance of the Negro Leagues and their impact on the game by donning Milwaukee Bears uniforms, the city’s 1923 Negro Leagues representative. The Nationals will also honor the Negro Leagues by wearing uniforms from the Homestead Grays, who played home games in Washington, D.C. from 1940 to '42.
At this game, the Brewers will honor former players and baseball contributors Roosevelt Jackson, Ray Knox and William McCrary during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field, beginning at noon, 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 the honorees will take place during the first 45 minutes of the game on the Field Level Concourse near home plate.
Roosevelt Jackson, 98, is believed to be the oldest living member of the Negro Leagues. A pitcher and outfielder, Jackson played for teams such as the Miami Globetrotters, Florida Cuban Giants, Hollywood Redbirds and the Miami Red Sox, among others. Jackson, who also managed, later worked as a scout with Philadelphia Phillies. A native of Gay, Georgia, he was honored in 2010 with the unveiling of a postage stamp that featured his likeness.
Ray Knox, 83, played catcher for the Chicago American Giants and New Orleans Eagles from 1949-52. Born in McComb, Mississippi, Knox was scouted while playing semi-pro baseball in Aurora, Illinois. He started playing with the Chicago American Giants in 1949, and at the age of 17, he was one of the youngest Negro League players ever signed.
William McCrary, 86, grew up in Beloit, Wisconsin. He was a reserve shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs from 1946 to '47, where he was a teammate of Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. McCrary went on to spend the rest of his career with the semi-pro Omaha Rockets, and the New York Yankees’ and Chicago Cubs’ farm teams.
On Sunday, June 26, Jackson, Knox and McCrary 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 1:30 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 Gilbert Hernandez Black and catcher/third baseman James Beckum (2015); 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 at Helfaer Field prior to the game. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (414) 902-4479.