2010 Civil Rights Baseball Game Cincinnati, Ohio
Civil Rights Weekend
Justin and I were fired up this past weekend. It was finally here, the Civil Rights Game which was a weekend of fun and a celebration of what this country is all about. It started Saturday with the Beacon Awards hosted at the Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati. This years recipients were Harry Belafonte, Billie Jean King and baseball legend Mr. Willie Mays. Also being honored was Mr. Chuck Harmon the Reds first black player. We arrived at the game around 5:45, making sure we got there early because the first 20,000 fans received a replica of Chuck's 1954 jersey. After making our way to our seats we settled in watching batting practice and anticipating the pregame ceremony . Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brenaman was to do the intros. He started by introducing singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, next was tennis great Billie Jean King and finally the guy that brought tears to my eyes baseball legend Willie Mays. If you've read my other hubs on baseball you know that when I was a kid my dad used to take me to the old ballpark (Crosley Field) to see Willie play and watching him play was the most fun I had at the ballpark. He was poetry in motion. Next up was someone we had no idea was attending, Hank Aaron, what a great surprise. Then, if it wasn't already good enough, the Negro League players were introduced. Don "Groundhog" Johnson, Thomas "High Pockets" Turner, Charles "Whip" Davis, Ron "Bunny" Warren and of course Chuck Harmon. After hearing a bit more about what civil rights mean to baseball and life it was time for some music compliments of Roberta Flack who did a fine version of John Lennon's Imagine. It was then just about game time and the ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by another of my and Justin's favorite players "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks. The Reds won and while that was great the real meaning of the day had nothing to do with it. The next day continuing with the celebration the Reds Hall of Fame were going to have all five of the Negro League players to do a signing, talk about exciting. Justin and I got the signatures and shook hands with each one (something no one else seemed to be doing). We bought a couple of copies of Chuck's book, The First Black Red, and had him sign them along with the jersey's we'd gotten the night before. Here are the photos that Justin took Sunday at the Hall, hope you enjoy them. Peace!!