WVU Exhibit on Negro Leagues Baseball and Latin Culture Opens

The 'Negro Leagues Beisbol Exhibit' arrived at West Virginia University and I had the great honor of having my Minnie Minoso baseball glove artwork included and being there for the Opening Day festivities.

The exhibit depicts the lives of athletes of color during racial segregation in the United States, focusing on African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture 1860-1960. It began a two month-long stay at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The Opening Day event was highlighted by the keynote presentation from Pedro Sierra, a former pitcher in the Negro Baseball Leagues and friend of his fellow Cuban countryman, Minnie Minoso.

Pedro Sierra took a few minutes to tell me stories about his coach with the Washington Senators, Ted Williams.

Pedro Sierra took a few minutes to tell me stories about his coach with the Washington Senators, Ted Williams.

Minnie Minoso is the featured player in the exhibit, which highlights Spanish-speaking players in the Negro Leagues.

Glove art near exhibit entrance

Glove art near exhibit entrance

Minnie Minoso corner

Minnie Minoso corner

With Dr. Robert Waterson, Director of WVU CDCE

With Dr. Robert Waterson, Director of WVU CDCE

Dr. Robert A. Waterson, Director of the West Virginia University Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education within the College of Education and Human Services, brought the exhibit to Morgantown.

A mission of the exhibit is to make available to teachers and their students across West Virginia teaching materials, videos and visits to the exhibit with an aim to keep alive these aspects of history that are challenging and not always convenient to discuss, but necessary for growth and improvement as a society.

Awarding art prize to WV 6th Grader.

Awarding art prize to WV 6th Grader.

As part of the educational component of the exhibition, a state-wide art and essay contest was held for elementary school students to express their thoughts about baseball and civil rights.

I was asked to take part in awarding the winners, including this talented 6th grader, who created a wonderful drawing of Jackie Robinson. I only wish I had a photo of it.

With John Wakelin, friend and contributor to the exhibition

With John Wakelin, friend and contributor to the exhibition

Along with my Minnie Minoso baseball glove art, the exhibit includes important artifacts from my friend and Negro Leagues collector, John Wakelin.

These items include players’ personal letters and photos, memorabilia from Latin American teams, rare cards and game programs which add an important human touch to the exhibit.

 

Note my friend John's shirt, complete with Negro Leagues team logos!

Note my friend John's shirt, complete with Negro Leagues team logos!

Players from WVU's Mountaineers baseball team joined in the festivities and were great fun to talk with and were curious about the artifacts.

And a baseball art road trip wouldn't be complete without seeing some baseball, here provided by the Mountaineers at their scenic stadium. The ballpark is also home to the West Virginia Black Bears, in the Pirates' minor league system.

The weekend was full of opportunities to meet friendly WVU students, staff and administrators and fellow baseball fans.

Big thanks to WVU's CDCE and Dr. Waterson for hosting my visit.

Minnie Minoso Baseball Glove Art in WVU Exhibit

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Painted Glove artwork featuring Minnie Minoso is part of the “Negro Leagues Beisbol” exhibit at The WVU Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education.

The exhibit focuses on African American Baseball and Hispanic Culture from 1860-1960. The history of Negro League Baseball during this period includes links to Latin baseball leagues and players moving between them.

Minnie Minoso was one such player, playing in his native Cuba and for the New York Cubans Negro Leagues team.

Minoso then went on to play for the Cleveland Indians and star for the Chicago White Sox, where he was their first African American player.

This Minoso baseball glove art, on a vintage glove from his playing era, depicts Minnie as a New York Cuban, refers to his "Cuban Comet" nickname, and draws attention to a few of his baseball career milestones in Cuba, Negro Leagues and in Major League Baseball.

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The West Virginia University exhibit will be the third such public showcase for the Minoso glove art since 2014, continuing its’ journey around the country helping to spark memories and curiosity about the Negro Leagues era and this special player.

I encourage you to attend the exhibition, September 18 - October 28, 2016, at the WVU Alumni Center in Morgantown, WV, which will also include items from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and private collections.

There are many educational opportunities available for students and teachers as part of this exhibition. It's a unique lens through which to learn more about the challenges of past generations and relate it to today's world. More info here.

Thanks to Dr. Robert Waterson and the WVU Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education for inviting me to participate in this event with this work.