“Field Of Honour” Game An Event That Won’t Soon Be Forgotten
The diamond at Fergie Jenkins Field was filled and surrounded by smiling faces Saturday who were honouring the Chatham Coloured All-Stars.
The game, tagged as the “Field of Honour” game aimed to raise support for the team in a bid to have the All-Stars inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
But for the thirty ancestors participating, and the legacy of each family involved, Saturday’s game became so much more.
“Today was special,” said Frankie Parker, who played in the game. “The Chatham Coloured All-Stars did an amazing job bringing the community together throughout the 1930s and would be proud of how they brought our community together again today in 2021. I was honour to be able to represent Joesph “Happy” Parker and Percy Parker who played on the team throughout the 1930s including the 1934 championship team. The event staff and volunteers did an amazing putting the game together and allowing us to share this experience with our families and friends.”
“The day was amazing, such a great feeling to be surrounded by the relatives from the team,” said Zhahwun Shognosh, who was representing Wellington “Willie” Shognosh, the lone Indigenous player to join the team in 1935. “I felt the pride in everyone there today. That team would be so proud of how they were honoured today.”
The game ended in a 3-2 decision, which appropriately was the score the Chatham All-Stars should have won the 1934 Ontario championship by until the racism of the umpires caused the officials to call the game “on account of darkness” despite the sun shining brightly. The team had to wait until the following day to beat Penetang and capture the Ontario crown with new officials calling the game.
As Rebecca Smyth (Prince) said, to be able to play on Fergie Jenkins Field for this game, free of racism and prejudice, among the ancestors of this team, was a special moment.
“I certainly have taken my love for the game for granted. I am forever thankful to be able to play the game of baseball that I love so much, and feel privileged that there will no longer be a game called on the account of “darkness.””