Cape May Celebrates Negro League Baseball 100th Anniversary

Cape May Celebrates Negro League Baseball 100th Anniversary

The weekend of April 3rd, 4th, and 5th Cape May celebrates baseball. Another Mark Kulkowitz random celebration of a Met’s victory? Slight chance. Cape May will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the forming of the Negro League Baseball.

Celebrate Cape May’s Negro League baseball history with a weekend of presentations, book signings, trivia contests, and even a vintage baseball game. Imagine this, Mark Kulkowitz catching more fly balls than a Met’s outfielder, without a glove. Baseball, old-school.

Rube Foster courtesy of the Negro League Hall of Fame.

Rube Foster courtesy of the Negro League Hall of Fame.

Negro League Baseball was formed in 1920 with eight teams:  Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Kansas City Monarchs, Indianapolis ABCs and the St. Louis Giants.

Negro League Baseball got its start thanks to the meteoric rise of two things after the Civil War: baseball and segregation. Hall of Famers Cool Papa Bell, Martín Dihigo, Bill Foster, Judy Johnson, Satchel Paige, and Turkey Stearnes all flourished in the Negro National League, along with many others.

The league would also inspire rival organizations like the Southern Negro League and the Eastern Colored League, whose teams would square off against NNL squads in the annual Negro League World Series.

Without the Negro League Baseball, there might not be names like Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, barrier breakers of their day. Paving the way for greats like Mays, Aaron and Eugene Banks.

Play Ball

Mark Kulkowitz has an infectious enthusiasm. Brainstorming for an idea of this event takes teamwork. Assembling partnerships with Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities, Historic Cold Spring Village, Cape May Stage and the Center for Community Arts is an ambitious undertaking. Consequently, Mark is a team builder, motivator and passionate about baseball.

The weekend Cape May celebrates Negro League Baseball’s 100th Anniversary will be full of events at different venues. With a Philadelphia connection to Octavius Catto, who after the Civil War, formed the Philadelphia contingent of the Negro Baseball League. Catto would go on to be a principle of black youth in Philadelphia.

Dr. Jerrold Casway will hold a discussion on the life and untimely death of Octavius Catto on Friday night at 7 PM at the Mad Batter.

Another highlight of the weekend is sure to be the vintage style baseball game at 2 PM at Historic Cold Spring Village on Rt. 9 in Lower Township. The free event will put on several innings of baseball played by the same rules as the Negro League Baseball used 100 years ago. The event will be narrated and refreshments available.

Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, April 3
5 pm: Kick off the baseball weekend in Cape May with a meet & greet cocktail get-together at the Mad Batter Restaurant, 19 Jackson St., followed by baseball themed finger foods. $25. Cash Bar.
7 pm: Then, enjoy a discussion on Octavius Catto presented by Dr. Jerrold Casway with a Q & A.

Saturday, April 4
11 am: Book signing with Gaylon White, author of four baseball books, at Cape May Stage, 405 Lafayette St.
2 pm: It’s Batter Up! at Historic Cold Spring Village, 720 Rt 9N, for an old-fashioned, vintage baseball game. Hot dogs, popcorn & songs. Join the fun for this free event!
7 pm: a Panel discussion of Negro League Baseball in Middle Township & Lower Township in the 1960s, followed by Team Trivia! Do you think you know your sports statistics, teams, players, history and more? Compete for prizes in the Carriage House Tent on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. $10 to participate.

Sunday, April 5
11 am: Board the MAC Trolley for a guided tour of historic Cape May baseball sites. Limited seating. Call 609-884-5404 to reserve your seat. Tickets $15.

1 pm: Baseball themed film featuring Negro League Baseball at Cape May Stage, 405 Lafayette St. Free admission.
2:30 pm-5:30 pm: A weekend wrap-up and buffet at the Mad Batter Restaurant. Cash Bar.

For more information on events call 609-884-5404 Some events will require tickets due to venue size limitations. Tickets will also be available online at Cape May Mac Website

Banner photo courtesy of the Center for Community Arts.

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1 Comment

  1. David Greene
    February 27, 2020 / 3:20 pm

    Great event! Thank you for reporting and promoting this, John!