Newark Bears To Acknowledge African American Umpiring Pioneer

By Off the BASN Newswire
Updated: August 30, 2012

More in than out!

More in than out!

NEWARK, NJ—As the Newark Bears’ season comes to a close, the club has announced that it will honor Osibee Jelks—one of baseball’s earliest African American umpires—prior to its season finale on September 3.

Jelks began his career in the minor leagues in the 1950′s, working in the Class D New York-Penn League and worked his way up to the Pacific Coast League, earning praise for his ability at every stop along the way.

Emmett Ashford was the 1st umpire in MLB

Emmett Ashford was the 1st umpire in MLB

While Emmett Ashford was the first black umpire to work a Major League Baseball game, Jelks was the only other African American umpire in organized baseball when Ashford worked his first game in the big leagues. Despite only being in his 30′s and just one step away from the major leagues at Triple-A in 1968, Jelks retired following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, after years of being overlooked by National League President Warren Giles.

The Bears will also welcome Pastor Ronald Slaughter and guests from the St. James AME Church in Newark, N.J. to Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium for the team’s final game.

Newark will take on the Worcester Tornadoes at 6:35 p.m. on September 3.