By Tony McClean
Updated: November 19, 2007

Jonah Winters NEW HAVEN, CT.The history of Negro League baseball in the state of Maryland, most importantly the city of Baltimore, is as rich as its association with crabcakes and warm summers.

The current home of the Orioles once hosted two Negro League teams from the years of 1916 to 1950. The Baltimore Black Sox began play in 1916 and won American Negro League pennants in 1929 and 1932.

After the Black Sox folded in 1933, The Baltimore Elite Giants were formed in the Negro National League in 1938. They would later join the Negro American League in 1948.

Among some of the more notable players to pass through Baltimore along the way were Biz Mackey, Rap Dixon, Bert Simmons, and future Hall of Famer Roy Campanella.

On Saturday, June 5th, the Bowie Baysox (The O’s Eastern League affiliate) will hold their 3rd Annual Negro League Tribute Night to celebrate and honor the contributions made to the history of baseball by the Negro Leagues.

The Baysox, in conjunction with The Black Diamond Store, will giveaway replica Baltimore Black Sox caps courtesy of Penn Mar Shopping Center in Forestville, to the first 1,500 fans in attendance to help pay homage to the Negro Leagues.

Throughout the history of the event at Prince George’s Stadium, many of the Negro League’s top players that never played Major League Baseball have been featured.

Talented players like Mahlon Duckett, who played with the Philadelphia Stars from 1940-1949 and the Homestead Grays in 1950. Stanley Glenn, who also played for the Stars, between 1943-1950 has been featured, as have Simmons and the late Ernest Burke of the Baltimore Elite Giants.

James Tillman, who played for the Homestead Grays from 1941-1944 has visited Prince George’s Stadium for the festivities, also Jose Piloto of the Memphis Red Sox has appeared for the event.

In the past, Geraldine Day the wife of the late Leon Day, a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame has also helped pay tribute to the Negro Leagues.

This season Simmons and Piloto are expected to appear with a long list of other former Negro League players, including: Carl Long; Joe Durham, Henry Mason, Jimmy Bland, Sam Allen, Walt Lundy, Harold Gould, William “Sonny” Randall, Ed Hudson, Robert Scott, Al Burrows, Cliff Layton, Thomas Revell, Charlie Davis, and Larry LaGrande

Another feature of the Baysox Negro League Tribute Night are the uniforms adorned by the Baysox players. In 2002 the Baysox wore replica Baltimore Elite Giants Jerseys during the game.

In 2003, they wore replica Homestead Grays jerseys and in 2004, The Baysox will wear replica Baltimore Black Sox jerseys. The game-worn replica jerseys are auctioned off after the game to benefit the Negro League Players Association.

The Negro League legends attending will be available during the game on the stadium concourse and signing autographs for $5.00 each, which will go to charity. Fireworks will also follow the game.

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