Jacksonville celebrated the legacy of the Negro League baseball with two events including a meet and greet hosted by the Durkeeville Historical Society and autograph signing at the Jumbo Shrimp game.
The guest of honor was Otis “Crazy Boy,” Williams, a former Indianapolis Clowns Negro League player and relief pitcher for the legendary Satchel Paige and Jacksonville Red Caps Player James Sanders.
The Negro Baseball league was comprised of teams predominantly made up of African Americans and Latin Americans during the times of segregation.
Williams eloquently shared the history of the Negro Leagues background and their rise to prominence. Williams team, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s. The Negro American League of 1951 is considered the last major league season and the last professional club.
Jacksonville had its own Negro league team with the Jacksonville Red Caps who played from 1938 until 1942. from 1938 until 1942.
Afterwards attendees headed over to the Baseball Grounds to enjoy the Jumbo Shrimp Red Caps Tribute game for Red Caps Negro League Night. Former Negro League players were recognized before the game and greeted fans on the concourse. Fans also viewed Negro League memorabilia and learned more local and national Negro League baseball history on the video board throughout the evening. Red Caps road gray replica jerseys were distributed to the first 2,000 fans through the gates. Shown is Red Caps Player James Sanders signing an autograph for fan Judy Manuel.