West Virginia Power to host Negro Leagues celebration event

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues will be celebrated and remembered in a special way Friday in Charleston.

The West Virginia Power, in partnership with the Josh Gibson Foundation and AARP-West Virginia, will be the first team across professional baseball in 2020 to host a special exhibit honoring the Negro Leagues centennial celebration.

The exhibit is scheduled to run from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, under the third-base concourse canopy at Appalachian Power Park.

“The Power is the one and the only team that kept a commitment to celebrate the centennial and also celebrate it with everything that is going on with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Sean Gibson, the Executive Director of the Josh Gibson Foundation told MetroNews affiliate 580-WCHS.

Gibson’s great-grandfather Josh Gibson was a star in the Negro Leagues and often considered the “Babe Ruth of the Negro Leagues” as a Baseball Hall of Famer and record-setting slugger for the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Josh Gibson plaque

Gibson said the exhibit features artifacts, photos, uniforms, and other memorabilia from his playing days with those teams and Veracruz of the Mexican League, along with visual displays and insights about the Negro Leagues and professional baseball during that era.

He also recommended for visitors to look into the history of Rube Foster, the founder of the Negro Leagues.

“Negro Leagues was founded February 13, 1920, and Rube Foster was the mastermind behind the title ‘If we can’t play with them, we will play against them,’ and he created his own league,” Gibson said.

The event is free and open to the public, but visitors must wear face coverings and adhere to proper social distancing requirements due to COVID-19.

The Power said that due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, health and safety rules will be strictly enforced so people can enjoy this unique opportunity safely individually or in small groups of family members and/or friends.

“We had arranged for this display to be a central part of our African American Heritage Night. Even though the pandemic forced the cancellation of the game and promotion, we believe this showcase of baseball’s history and history-making players is vital for us to host at our facility so we can honor the vibrant African American community in Charleston,” said Power Managing Partner Tim Wilcox in a statement.

Gibson said he appreciates the Power bringing to light the Negro Leagues and celebrating all the history that comes with it. He believes the current Black Lives Matter movement shown throughout baseball, including the Major Leagues, is something to be proud of.

“With everything that is going on, the one thing that I like is that it is not just the African-American players in this movement but it’s a lot of the white players and owners,” Gibson told 580-WCHS.

Reservations are recommended if you want to visit the exhibit before 2 p.m. or after 4 p.m. People and small groups without reservations will be admitted as space permits, in keeping with federal, state and local health and safety guidelines.





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