This Memorial Day weekend, Black baseball fans across America will have another reason to visit the Mecca of baseball, Cooperstown, New York. 


The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum will celebrate the opening of its new exhibit ‘The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball’ by hosting the inaugural Hall of Fame East-West Classic: A Tribute to the Negro League All-Star Game on Saturday, May 25. Replacing the traditional Hall of Fame game, MLB has curated a collection of MLBbros who have made an impact on the game for decades to take part in this event.


President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Josh Rawitch didn’t hide his excitement when speaking about the event.


“We are thrilled to host many of the game’s biggest stars of the last two decades for the Hall of Fame East-West classic, a tribute to the heroes of Black baseball who showcased their talents for years in the annual Negro Leagues All-Star Game. The incredible enthusiasm from players participating in this legends game – players who faced their own challenges while helping to build on the diversity that has flowed through our National Pastime for more than a century – will make this a must-see event in Cooperstown.”


Hall of Fame Will Celebrate Black Baseball with East-West Classic Game Memorial Day Weekend


This modern-day iteration of the historic East/West All-Star Game, which took place from 1933 until 1982, will be coached by Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith. CC Sabathia, a Black Ace who will grace the HOF ballot for the first time in 2025, is the captain of the West Team, while former outfielder Chris Young will captain the East squad.


Sabathia, who works with Major League Baseball to continue growing its presence in the African American community, knows the importance of events like this to keep the legacy of Negro League legends alive.


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“As players, we are indebted to the pioneers who came before us, and recognizing the All-Stars of the Negro Leagues pays tribute not only to their playing ability but also to their courage and devotion to the game.”


The 26 players selected combined for 53 All-Star selections throughout their careers, with some notable names in Black baseball making an appearance. 


Ryan Howard


Howard has the most career home runs of any participant, hitting 382 bombs in his 13-year career in Philadelphia. The 2006 NL MVP and 2008 World Series champion finished his career with 1,475 hits, 277 doubles and 1194 RBI. Howard set the Phillies single-season home run record in 2006 when he hit 56 homers and lead the Majors twice. 


Dontrelle Willis


Dontrelle “D-Train” Willis burst onto the scene with the Florida Marlins in 2003 when he went 14-6 in 27 starts with a 3.30 ERA and 142 strikeouts. Willis earned an All-Star berth and Rookie of the Year honors en route to the first World Series championship in Marlins’ history. 


Dontrelle’s success started early, but his most dominant performance on the mound came in 2005. Willis punched his ticket into the Exclusive “Black Aces” club, going 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA and a league-leading seven complete games.


Curtis Granderson 


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The three-time All-Star Granderson is one of the best power hitters from the leadoff spot in MLB history. Curtis had 47 leadoff home runs in his career, enroute to 344 in his career. Granderson hit 20 or more homers 10 times in his career and topped 40 twice with the Yankees.


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