Juneteenth and Baseball

Historian Lou Moore wrote an interesting post a few years ago about Juneteenth and the rise of Black baseball, citing a game that took place at a celebration in Bastrop, TX, 1883.

Baseball games were played at some of the earliest Juneteenth celebrations in Houston, too, including at the Freeman’s Demonstration in 1870. The next year, for the fifth anniversary of the observance of Juneteenth, local organizers held a two-day Emancipation Celebration at the Fair Grounds. According to an announcement in the Houston Union, from June 17, 1871, the second day would feature “a match game of Base Ball between the Galveston and Houston Base Ball Clubs for a prize at 10 o’clock A.M., and a Tournament to commence at half-past one o’clock.”

Both articles reference a game and a tournament, making me wonder how the latter was organized and if it also referred to baseball or something else. Either way, it’s fitting that Major League Baseball has been honoring the Negro Leagues this week with games at Rickwood Field. The association of Juneteenth with baseball goes way back, to the very beginning in the very places where the holiday began.

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W. Caleb McDaniel @wcaleb
© 2024 by W. Caleb McDaniel