Black Heritage Night Was a Thing of Pride

Two Men of Appropriate Pride and Life-Leveling Humility: Charlie Pride (L) and Jimmy Wynn.

Men of Appropriate Pride and Life-Leveling Humility:                                                      the great Charlie Pride (L) and the great Jimmy Wynn.

And you can definitely take the headline of this column in the two ways it’s intended. The “Black Heritage Night” program of the Sugar Land Skeeters at Constellation Field that was offered as a pre-game feature on August 22, 2013 was both a night a pride in the unifying goal quality of black baseball players over the years and also a tribute to the program’s special guest, the great Charlie Pride, a country and western singing star who also spent his early years in pursuit of that same dream of the others as a  professional baseball player.

Bill McCurdy (#15) of The Pecan Park Eagle Press was on hand to covers things.

Bill McCurdy (#15) of The Pecan Park Eagle Press was on hand to cover things. – In this photo, the players read this way, left to right: BACK ROW: Kevin Bass, J.C. Hartman, Scipio Spinks, J.R. Richard, Cecil Cooper, Bob Watson, Trenidad Hubbard, Brian Williams, Anthony Young, and Chuck McElroy. FRONT ROW: Ralph Garr, Deacon Jones, Charlie Pride, Sylvester Cooper, Jimmy Wynn, and James Mouton. – This one terrific photo was contributed by good friend Darrell Pittman.

Charlie Pride & Company posed for a number of group photos this summer afternoon and beautiful summer evening.

Charlie Pride & Company posed for a number of group photos this summer afternoon and beautiful summer evening.

The guest list was long and celebrated. The crowd was first entertained by a concert performed by the “Ocean of Soul” band from Texas Southern University. Then, as a fun introduction at home plate, each of the former players arrived in his own personal chauffer-driven luxury car to be introduced and given his own named and numbered Sugar Land Skeeters jersey by Skeeters host Deacon Jones.

The home plate arrival scene at Constellation Field.

The home plate arrival scene at Constellation Field.

The group of former players on hand for the honor included Kevin Bass, Cecil Cooper, Ralph Garr, J.C. Hartman, Trenidad Hubbard, Chuck McEroy, James Mouton, Charlie Pride, J.R. Richard, Scipio Spinks, Bob Watson, Brian Williams, Jimmy Wynn, and Anthony Young, (If I somehow missed your name, please let me know by e-mail and I will make sure that it is included in this column. There was a lot to keep up with last night and I may have missed someone. –  houston.buff37@gmail.com

Charlie Pride took about 25-30 practice swings from the BP tosses of Scipio Spinks while he was on the field. He hit the ball hard, lining several for clean hits into the outfield gaps. - Pretty darn good for a man in mid to late 70's.

Charlie Pride took about 25-30 practice swings from the BP tosses of Scipio Spinks while he was on the field. He hit the ball hard, lining several for clean hits into the outfield gaps. – Pretty darn good for a man in his middle to late 70’s. Oh yeah, Charlie also threw out the first pitch prior to tonight’s Skeeters-Shellacking of the Camden Riversharks by a 10-1 mark.

Watching Charlie Pride pound the ball are: Michael Point, a writer for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Deacon Jones, Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti, and Skeeters Special Advisor Tal Smith. The hits just rang and rang and rang.

Watching Charlie Pride pound the ball are: Michael Point, a writer for the Corpus Christi Hooks, Deacon Jones, Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti, and Skeeters Special Advisor Tal Smith. The hits just rang and rang and rang.

One of the "Red Tails", that famed African-American group of fighter pilots from WWII was present too. Here we see him pictured with Marie Wynn. Now all we need is his name to give him the full credit he deserves.

One of the “Red Tails”, that famed African-American group of fighter pilots from WWII, was present also. Here we see him pictured with Marie Wynn. Now all we need is his name to give him the full credit he deserves.

Dick “Lefty” O’Neal and a large contingent of former Negro Leaguers were also present last night and I would be happy to also include their names here too, if someone could pass on an attendance roster to me. We would like to give everyone their personal nod for their participation in this beautiful evening.

The first 2,000 fans also got this handsome, welcoming bobble head of Deacon Jones to take home with them.

The first 2,000 fans also got this handsome, welcoming bobble head of Deacon Jones to take home with them.

The Deacon Bobber does one thing that the real Deacon NEVER does. He turns his back. The REAL Deacon never turns his back on justice, family, friends, or baseball - and that pretty well allows him to touch all the bases, 24/7.

The Deacon Bobber does one thing that the real Deacon NEVER does. He turns his back. The REAL Deacon never turns his back on the needs of justice, family, friends, or baseball – and that pretty well allows him to touch all the bases, 24/7.

Keep it up, Deacon Jones. Black Heritage Night needs to be thought of as the first offering of an annual event.

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2 Responses to “Black Heritage Night Was a Thing of Pride”

  1. Dick "Lefty" O'Neal Says:

    Thanks Bill for mentioning us. I wish we could find the pictures taken of us. There were a lot of cameras taking pictures. The guys with me were Cleveland Grant- Satchel Paige All-stars; A.D. Carpenter, Lefty Vaughn, Travis Dardon, Everett Turner and myself who played in the South Texas Negro Leagues and I also played in the Gulf-Coast Negro Leagues. Our new additional player who met us last night for the first time was Sylvester Cooper, brother of Cecil Cooper who player for the Indianapolis Clowns in 67-68. He lives in Houston. All of us from San Antonio went to the national negro league reunion this past memorial day week-end in Birmingham, Al, where 68 of us across the nation were recognized at Rickwood Field. Bryan Gumble on Real Sports on HBO recognized us on his show. My movie “Dreaming of the Majors” starts pre-production in January of 2014 with a hopeful release in the same year. Just go to http://www.dreamingofthemajors.com to be able to be a donor or investor.

    Again it was great seeing you again.
    Lefty O’Neal

  2. Marsha Franty Says:

    I was out of town and therefore unable to attend this special evening, so I hope they will make it an annual event!

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