The Columbia Fireflies are marking the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues with a throwback “shirsey,” a shirt designed in the style of the Newark Eagles jerseys the Fireflies would have worn on the field during Negro League Celebration weekend June 13-14.
The Eagles won the 1946 Negro League World Series and boasted seven future Hall of Famers on their roster, including Camden native Larry Doby. Doby, whose No. 14 is featured on the shirsey, broke the American League color barrier in 1947 when he made his debut with the Cleveland Indians, who retired his number in 1994.
“Although there isn’t baseball this weekend at Segra Park, the Fireflies will continue to honor the legacy of the Negro Leagues and the heroes that broke barriers in our sport and in our nation,” Fireflies team President John Katz said in a Friday news release. “From Rube Foster – the founder and president of the Negro National League in 1920 – to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947 – we will continue to honor their memories, celebrate their legacies and ensure that they will always be remembered in our community.”
The jersey presale began Friday and continues through July 12. Prices range from $22 to $25. Shirts can be ordered online at the Mason Jar team store.
One hundred percent of the profits will benefit the Columbia Urban League, according to the release. The affiliate of the 110-year-old National Urban League was established in 1967.
“In celebrating the Negro National League’s Centennial Anniversary, we recognize the leadership of Rube Foster, the ‘father of black baseball,’ who was a famous baseball pitcher, manager and owner,” James T. “J.T.” McLawhorn Jr., president and CEO of the Columbia Urban League, said in the release. “During this centennial anniversary, we salute Mr. Foster and other players who demonstrated the importance of perseverance in achieving your mission even in a climate of overt racism and hostility.”