From Protoball
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Prominent Milestones

Misc BB Firsts
Add a Misc BB First

About the Chronology
Tom Altherr Dedication

Add a Chronology Entry
Open Queries
Open Numbers
Most Aged

Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported

Salience Noteworthy
Tags African Americans, Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage
Location Greater New York City
City/State/Country: NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

[A] The earliest known account of a ball game involving African Americans appeared in the New York Anglo-African on July 30, 1859.  In this Fourth of July contest, the venerable Joshua R. Giddings made the highest score, never missing the ball when it came to him.  Giddings was a sixty-four-year-old white Republican Congressman known for his passionate opposition to slavery. 

[B] "We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]). We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time." The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860.  The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth. 


[A] Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 34-35

[B] New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6. Cited in Dixon, Phil, and Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History [Amereon House, 1992], pp. 31-2



The four were the Unknown (Weeksville), Monitor (Brooklyn), Henson (Jamaica), and Union (Brooklyn). Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen.  Its population in the 1850s was about 500.

For a sample of a contemporary humorous treatment, see the account of the 1862 game between the Unknown and Monitor Clubs in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 17, 1862. 

Edit with form to add a comment
Query Edit with form to add a query


<comments voting="Plus" />