Fascinating Zoom Tonight: Kalamazoo Baseball And Color-1880-1920
No sports celebrates its past like baseball. And even then, there are historical topics that many people, especially younger fans, don't know, because these stories have slipped through the cracks or simply have been forgotten.
The Kalamazoo Public Library is doing a live Zoom presentation on "Baseball in Kalamazoo 1880-1920 — A Contrast in Colors". (The live presentation is tonight from 6:30 until 8pm. Registration is required, and the Zoom session is being recorded for KPL-TV.)
When you go to the KPL page for this presentation, it starts with the great Ernie Harwell's wonderful tradition of starting every Spring Training game with Scripture:
For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone
The flowers appear on the Earth
The time of the singing of birds is come
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. – Song of Solomon 2:11-12
The baseball season is underway and as this presentation is happening, Harwell's beloved Tigers will be playing a doubleheader in Chicago. The doubleheader. another long gone tradition except when necessitated by inclement weather.
The presentation is about early Kalamazoo baseball history, covering the period from 1880 to 1920. As the description explains,
"By the late 1800s, baseball had become America’s favorite pastime, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was fair play for everyone. For this session, we’ll take a look at Kalamazoo’s factory, college, and state league teams during the decades around the turn of the 20th century, as well as teams from Kalamazoo’s growing African American community. From the 1897 Michigan State League champion Kazoos and the nationally famous Ganzel brothers to the Kalamazoo Browns and the Colored Stars, we’ll explore the local baseball scene as it was during the decades before the Great Depression. - KPL
Kalamazoo has such a rich baseball history, but as with much of the history from over a century ago, much of this might not be known, or is simply fading away as the people who passed it on are dying, but certainly it deserves to be remembered.