The essence of MLBbro.com is to make sure that baseball fans understand and not forget the contributions of black players in past history of the sport and how well they are flourishing in today’s game.
Decades before MLBbro icon Jackie Robinson accomplished the amazing feat of crossing the color barrier in Major League Baseball, he was one of many black baseball players in their own way going back to after the Civil War by traveling around the country taking on teams in the mid to late 1800s.
It was in 1920 when the National Negro League started that formed into seven different leagues of Negro League history over a 30-year period where the path to the major leagues really took shape. Sadly, this era is overlooked particularly in Philadelphia where the Philadelphia Stars had much success in the Negro Leagues starting in 1934 under the leadership of Ed Bolden.
Chuck D of the iconic Hip Hop group, Public Enemy took to social media to show the mural honoring the Philadelphia Stars located in West Philly on Belmont and Parkside Avenues. This is where the stadium they played in was located but back when the Stars played, it was known as 44th and Parkside. In 1943, the Stars began playing their Monday night home games in Shibe Park up in North Philly. This stadium was home to the Philadelphia Phillies and The Philadelphia A’s but neither of those teams played at home on Mondays.
Negro League tribute to Philadelphia Stars …on Parkside Belmont pic.twitter.com/tSzfmR9ZGx
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) August 11, 2022
The Oscar Charleston mentioned in the video managed the club from 1941 to 1942. He’s one of the four players in the Hall of Fame who are attached at some time of their career with the Stars. The others are Biz Mackey, who played from 1933-1935, Jud Wilson, who played from 1933-1939 and even managed the team in 1937. Satchel Paige who stands far and away the most famous player in that franchise and arguably the Negro Leagues played two stints with the Stars in 1946 and 1950.
However, none of these players is donning a Philadelphia Stars hat on their plaque which makes murals like the one Chuck D is showing all the more important. But that’s not the first time that this Negro League team was honored in the city of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Phillies honored the Stars on Jackie Robinson day on April 15th, 2021, with a Philadelphia Stars display at their home field, Citizens Bank Park in the Suite Level Lobby of the stadium.
The display shows graphics highlighting the Philadelphia Stars from the era with a special information panel providing the history called “The Story of the Philadelphia Stars.” The unveiling also honored Jackie Robinson on his special day celebrated throughout the majors. Along with Robinson, two other local players named Judy Johnson from the Hilldale club and Roy Campanella, who played for the Baltimore Elite Giants and Philadelphia Stars before becoming well known with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Sadly, when Robinson finally made it to the Major Leagues in 1952, more and more players followed him and started starring in the National and American Leagues. That left the Negro League franchises in financial turmoil including the Stars, who disbanded after the season the same year. In 1958, the Negro Leagues finally went under and folded.
The good news is that the city of Philadelphia will continue to keep the Stars legacy alive. The old stadium named Penmar Park where the Stars played now has a memorial celebrating the history of the franchise, which is amazing in the era where franchises are potentially moving to different cities and building stadiums.