The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame’s current exhibition is Chalk, Wheat & Diamonds: Saskatchewan ‘Ball. It’s on until Sept. 11, and it celebrates the sports of baseball, fastball and softball.
On Thursday June 18 the SSHF, in conjunction with Regina Public Library, is hosting an illustrated talk by Phil Dixon called Barnstorming Baseball on the Prairies. Dixon is a baseball historian, and a founding member of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum which is located in Kansas City.
Prior to 1947, African-American baseball players were denied the opportunity to play major league baseball. Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier that year when he suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers. For two years before that, following his discharge from the U.S. Army at the end of WWII, Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball League.
Virtually from the time the Civil War ended in 1865, African-Americans had played baseball either on stand-alone teams that used to barnstorm across the United States and Canada to play exhibition games or in organized leagues such as the NBL. As you can learn by clicking on the above link, Dixon’s talk will address barnstorming tours that the Monarchs conducted in Saskatchewan and the rest of Western Canada in the 1930s and ’40s.
In addition to Robinson, Satchel Paige and Ernie Banks (who later played for the Chicago Cubs from 1953-71) were other notables who played for the Monarchs. Dixon’s talk is on Thursday at RPL Film Theatre at 3 p.m.