The Milwaukee Bears played only one season nearly 100 years ago, but will be brought back to life on Saturday, August 12, complete with a special tailgate event and the chance to meet and get autographs from legendary players of ages past.
The Bears were the northernmost team in the Negro National League, one of the leagues that showcased the best African American baseball players until the major leagues integrated in the 1950s. They entered the league to take the place of the Cleveland Tate Stars, but couldn’t draw much of a crowd to Brochert Field (which was called Athletic Park back then) and only managed to win 12 games against 41 losses.
Still, the Bears are Milwaukee’s connection to a piece of baseball history, American history, the Negro Leagues, which managed to succeed and produce major-league quality baseball for black athletes long before other sports were able to do the same.
The current representative of Milwaukee in the baseball world, the Brewers, will honor that legacy on Saturday, August 12, by donning the uniforms of the Bears and playing against the Cincinatti Reds, who will wear the uniforms of the Cincinatti Tigers, who played from 1934-37.
“The Milwaukee Brewers, along with a number of MLB teams, are committed to honoring the history of the Negro Leagues and its heritage while celebrating the players who pioneered the pathway to acceptance and inclusion which represents diversity in major League Baseball today,” said Brewers Director of Multicultural Marketing Thad McGrew. “The Negro Leagues are an important part of baseball history, and we want to ensure that the tradition and impact of the teams in those leagues is not forgotten.”
Pregame ceremonies will honor Don Porter, a pitcher and outfielder for the New York Black Yankees in 1957 and Indianapolis Clowns in 1958, and Reggie Howard, who played Second Base for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1956-57.
A special tailgate will also be held at Helfaer Field just outside of Miller Park before the game. Special ticket packages including admission to the tailfate, complimentary food, music by DJO and the Kevin Hayden Trio, a pair of throwback hi-top socks, meet and greet with Negro League players and game admission start at $24. Tickets can be purchased by calling 414.902.4263.