Hopefully you have heard something about baseball’s Negro Leagues, which flourished in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s in the United States.
But did you know the former Municipal Stadium off of McCreight Avenue in Springfield hosted Negro Leagues games?
That’s one of a several interesting facts presented earlier this month at the Talkin’ Baseball series conducted by the Springfield/Clark County Baseball Hall of Fame in conjunction with the National Trail Parks and Recreation District.
Springfield native Michael Carter, now vice president of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, led the discussion. Carter pointed out that he was born in 1960, so he had to research and learn about the Negro Leagues.
He has certainly made up for lost time, amassing an impressive collection of memorabilia, including a wall full of replica jerseys and jackets, which he displayed at the session.
Carter grew up on Lexington Avenue, and said his collection started when he spotted a Pittsburgh Crawfords Jersey at the Salem Mall. Over the years, that collection grew with the help of his brother, Darnell, who often bought him items as gifts.
While Springfield never had a Negro Leagues team, Carter told us some games were played here.
“The Cincinnati Clowns used Municipal Stadium as a neutral site for games,” he said.
Dayton did have a team, the Dayton Marcos, between 1910 and 1926. Cincinnati also had a team called the Tigers, while Columbus was home to the Giants, Blue Birds, Buckeyes and Elite Giants. Teams known as the Bears, Browns, Buckeyes, Cubs, Elites, Giants, Hornets, Red Sox, Stars, Tate Stars and Tigers were based in Cleveland over the years.
In addition to memorabilia, Carter has also gained a great deal of knowledge about the Negro Leagues over the years.
He points out the Marcos played home games at Westwood Field on Western Street (now James H. McGee Boulevard), Burkham Field on Broadway Street and later at North Side Field near Leo Street and Troy Pike.
The Marcos were a charter member of the Negro National League in 1920, and although they were dropped from the Negro Major Leagues, they survived as an independent club until World War II.
For more information on the Negro Leagues, Carter recommends the book “We Are The Ship.”
Have a question or comment? E-mail me at Darryl.Bauer@cmg.com or call 937-328-0341.