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Negro League Baseball History Conference Planned in Cape May

By Press Release

CAPE MAY – A three-day conference on South Jersey and Philadelphia’s rich history of Negro League ball clubs and their impact on baseball heritage will be held next month, in Cape May.  

According to a release, the event features authors and historians who will present fascinating accounts of the Black ballplayers who starred on the region’s teams, including the Atlantic City Bacharachs, the Philadelphia Pythians and the Cape May Giants. It will include a discussion of the career of Phillies great Dick Allen and his eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame.  

“Out of the Shadows…Into the Light” will take place Oct. 26-28, at Cape May Convention Hall.  The conference is being presented by the Greater Cape May Historical Society, Cape May MAC, Congress Hall and the Mad Batter restaurant.  

“The rich history of Negro League ballplayers deserves to be remembered to understand their courage and their contribution to baseball and life in America,” stated Mark Kulkowitz, proprietor of the Mad Batter.  

The first-day program will feature a discussion by Jerrold Casway, a retired history professor, who specializes in 19th century baseball, about the origins and contributions of Negro League clubs, including the Pythians and the Giants. Sportswriter and author Gaylon H. White will discuss his book “Singles and Smiles,” about Artie Wilson, the Birmingham Black Barons star, who was the last pro ballplayer to bat over .400 and was a mentor to Hall of Famer Willie Mays. White will be joined by Sydnei SmithJordan, the artist who has created many portraits of Black baseball stars. Her works have been collected by Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg and Forest Whitaker, among others.  

The next day’s program will feature historian and lecturer Mike Everett, who will speak about John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. Lloyd played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues from 1906 to 1932, including two stints with the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City. Everett will also talk about Max Manning and Monte Irvin of the Newark Eagles, who were teammates on the Negro Leagues World Series 1946 championship team. Joining Everett in the discussion will be Manning’s daughter, Belinda. 

The second part of the evening will feature White speaking about “The Mystery of Eddie Locke,” the Negro Leagues pitcher and slugger. In 1953, Locke won 21 games in half a season in the West Texas League. Eight of those victories came when he pitched complete games in both ends of four double-headers. He ended his career in the Mexican League and disappeared from public view.  

Both will be followed by a “ballpark favorites” buffet dinner at historic Congress Hall, which will also cost $38.  

The event will conclude with a look at the career of Phillies great Dick Allen, and his pending eligibility for the Hall of Fame. 

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