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Indians to honor the history of Negro Leagues in Indianapolis

Negro Leagues Night

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Indians are gearing up for a big weekend at Victory Field. It will feature a range of family friendly events, from Friday’s post-game fireworks to yoga on Sunday, but Saturday is extra special because it’s Negro Leagues Night.

The night will pay tribute to the history of Negro Leagues in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis ABCs played their first game against the Chicago American Giants in 1920.

The Indians will wear Indianapolis Clowns jerseys to recognize the team and its players. Oscar Charleston, Indy native and Negro Leagues star, managed the team in the 1950s, according to the Indianapolis Indians website.

The Clowns got their start in Miami as the Ethiopian Clowns in the 1930s. In 1943, they moved to Cincinnati and joined the Negro Leagues. They split the 1944 and 1945 seasons between Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The Clowns moved to Indianapolis 1946 and spent most of the next two decades in the Circle City.

The most famous Clowns player was Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who was signed in November 1951 and spent three months in Indy before being acquired by the Boston Braves.

“We get to just elevate and use our platform to educate fans that come out,” Indianapolis Indians director of communications Cheyne Reiter said.

Reiter says the game will also feature a book signing from Vanessa Ivey Rose, granddaughter of Norman “Turkey” Stearnes, a Hall of Famer who played with Detroit Stars, Kansas City Monarchs and other Negro League teams.

Fans can purchase and bid on gear at the game with proceeds going to the Indianapolis Indians Charity.

The Negro Leagues Night game will be Saturday at Victory Field starting at 7:05 p.m.