1934 Chatham All-Stars Honored
Today, the 1934 Coloured Chatham All-Stars Baseball team was honored at Stirling Park, the very grounds in which they gave pitchers headaches and bewildered batters nearly 82 years ago.
As the sun shine glistened of the ball diamonds dewy grass, friends and family of former players swapped stories about a simpler time. The field had its own energy and for a brief moment it felt as though we were right back in 1934.
Myram Wright, Historical Department of the University of Windsor, told CKSN about the historical significance of this team.
“This will help bring to life to not just the team, but the individual stories of each man.”
The story of this team began when the Harding family began saving newspaper articles and other historical documents and placing them in scrapbooks. Once the ball was rolling, everything came together. They soon began scanning and placing the available information on-line.
They applied for the Ontario Trillium Grant, and received $75 000 towards spreading the message about the All-Stars via educational resources, updating websites, and spreading historical awareness throughout Chatham-Kent.
The 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars were able to capture the Ontario Baseball Association’s Championship in that year, bringing the first OBA title to Chatham.
Entering the competitive Chatham City League, the Chatham Colored All-Stars won their way to the 1934 Provincial ‘B’ Ontario Baseball Association title.
Their win however, wasn’t without adversity. In their final series, after defeating Sarnia, Welland, and Milton, the Colored All-Stars were up against a tough Penetang team, and other factors. After splitting the first two games, and with the game tied 2-2 in extra-innings of the deciding game, the umpire called the game due to darkness out of fear that the Colored All-Stars would win, even though it was light enough to play.
Eventually however, the Chatham Colored All-Stars defeated Penetang in the extra fourth and deciding game.
Not only were the Chatham Colored All-Stars the first Chatham team to win an OBA title, they were also the first ever team, comprised entirely of black athletes, to enter the OBA playoffs.