Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Museum Trip

Schenectady Daily Gazette
Adelbert John, a member of the Allegheny Reservation baseball team near Salamanca in New York’s Southern Tier, poses for the camera.

I'm going to make plans to see this show while I'm visiting Coach Mom in New York this summer.

NYTimes: The American Indians of America’s Pastime

Jacoby Ellsbury is beloved by Red Sox Nation.

He is also a member of Navajo Nation.

Ellsbury, whose mother is Navajo, is the first person from that tribe to reach the major leagues. He is among 47 American Indian baseball players whose contributions to the game, from its earliest innings, are chronicled in “Baseball’s League of Nations: A Tribute to Native Americans in Baseball,” an exhibit that opened April 1 and runs through Dec. 31 at the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, N.Y.

“Since this exhibit opened, we have had some of our largest crowds in recent years,” said Erynne Ansel-McCabe, the director of the 27-year-old museum. “People have been staying for hours, looking at artifacts and reading all about these players, many of whom suffered from the same kind of racial discrimination as American Negro league players.”

Pitchers Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees (Winnebago) and Kyle Lohse of the St. Louis Cardinals (Nomlaki) are the only other American Indians in the majors.

“I think it’s wonderful to have a place where people can go to see all the accomplishments made by these great players,” Chamberlain said Thursday while sitting at his locker at Yankee Stadium before a game against Toronto. “I can tell you that the three of us playing in the majors are all proud to be carrying on this great tradition.”

The exhibit’s roster includes Jim Thorpe (Sac/Fox), an outfielder for the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves (1913 to 1919); Ben Tincup (Cherokee), a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies (1914 to 1918) and the Chicago Cubs (1928); and Jim Bluejacket (Cherokee), who pitched for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League (1914-15) and the Cincinnati Reds (1916).

Moses Yellowhorse, a Pawnee, is considered by many historians to be the first full-blooded American Indian to play professional baseball. Yellowhorse, who was not-so-affectionately known as Chief, broke in with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1921. The next season, he hit Ty Cobb with a pitch between the eyes.

“This was probably as much a result of Cobb’s crowding the plate as it was a retaliation for his racist remarks,” is the explanation the museum provides from a Yellowhorse biography, “60 Feet Six Inches and Other Distances from Home” by Todd Fuller.

Voice of America News: American Indians' Untold Baseball Stories

IROQUOIS INDIAN MUSEUM: Calendar of Events for 2008

North Country Public Radio: Native Americans in baseball's past & present (audio)

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