Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier - Buffalo Rising

Breaking Baseball’s Color Barrier – Buffalo Rising

Monday, May 24th at 7 p.m., Michael J. Billoni and James Overfield, publisher and editor, respectively Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020 (SOBB), will present a groundbreaking, virtual event inspired by December 2020 Major League Baseball decision to officially recognize the Negro Leagues as major league teams – 100 years after its creation. Talking Baseball Part II: “Breaking Baseball’s Color Barrier,” will be a free virtual event broadcast from Dave & Adams Card World, and according to Billoni it will tackle a topic that is not often considered in public discussion.

“When Major League Baseball announced that it would officially recognize the achievements of Negro League Teams and players, the significance of that moment in the history of baseball and our nation could not be denied,” said Billoni. Finally, after a century, all seven Negro leagues in the time of baseball before integration (1920-1948) will have their statistics and records added to Major League Baseball’s history and record books. What makes this even more compelling for Western New Yorkers is that many of these Negro League players are somehow connected to Buffalo Bison’s baseball. Therefore, Jim and I decided to focus our second virtual SOBB Talking Baseball event on the teams and players who wrote history in the Negro League and those who make sure the stories are told. ”

SOBB the event is free and open to the public, with registration is required via this link. Once a registration form has been submitted, a ZOOM link will be provided via return email. The evening will host Billoni and John Murphy, Buffalo Bills Play-by-Play Announcer and Buffalo Broadcaster Association’s Hall of Fame Member.

Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier - Buffalo Rising
Hank Aaron, who signed his first professional baseball contract in Buffalo, sits in the Bison excavation in 1985 during an old game here

Their guest series leads off with an all-star – Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM), located in Kansas City, Mo. Hendrick is joined by Jim Overfield, Editor, Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020; Brian Frank, assistant editor; Howard Henry Jr., author / founder, Friends of Buffalo Baseball History, Morris Madden, former Buffalo Bison Pitcher (1988-89) and unofficial “official” Buffalo Bison national anthem singer, Dorn Taylor, former Buffalo Bison Pitcher (1988-1990); Willie “Hutch” Jones, President, Willie “Hutch” Jones Education / Sports Program and Cedric Holloway, Director of the Omega Mentoring Program.

During the broadcast, $ 25 Dave & Adams Cards gift certificates and an autographed copy of The Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020 will be given to two lucky participants. For more information contact Mike Billoni at

See Facebook event.

Seasons of Buffalo Baseball 1857-2020 is available at the following stores: Dave & Adams Short World 8075 Sheridan Dr., Williamsville, NY 14221. Made in America Stores 1000 West Maple Ct., Elma, 6041 Transit Road, Depew, 3701 McKinley Mall, Hamburg. Tea BFLO stores130 Main St (in exploration and more Ralph C. Wilson Children’s Museum Lobby), Eastern Hills, McKinley, Galleria and Boulevard Malls, Buffalo History Museum, One Museum Ct., Buffalo. Bookworm & BW Gifts. 34 Elm St., East Aurora. Bases Loaded Sports Collectables, French Road 794, Cheektowaga. Riverside Men’s Shop and S&E jewels, 6470 Transit Road, Depew. Olde Editions bookstore and gallery, 954 Oliver St., Northern Tonawanda. Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo. Talking Leaves bookstore, 951 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo. Thin is, 719 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo. Niagara Frontier Publications 1859 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, also sells the book at $ 5.00 from each sale that goes toward the Joseph M. Overfield Memorial Mentoring Program. The book can be ordered online at Amazon through Buffalo bison and through the online store Buffalo News.

Lead image: A young Henry “Hank” Aaron who played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League in Buffalo signed his first contract here in 1952

Images courtesy of the Michael J. Billoni Collection

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