Atlanta Black Crackers
|Atlanta Black Crackers
The Atlanta Black Crackers (originally known as the Atlanta Cubs) were a professional Negro league baseball team which played during the early-to-mid-20th century. They were primarily a minor Negro league team; however in the brief period they played as a major Negro league team, they won the second half of the 1938 split-season but lost the play-off for the Pennant.
The Atlanta Black Crackers were founded as the Atlanta Cubs following the start of the 20th century with a semiprofessional team of black college students. They began to play independently in 1919 and changed their name to the Black Crackers because fans had already begun to call them by that name. They were named after the local White league team, the Atlanta Crackers, of the Class A Southern Association. It was not unusual for White and Negro league teams to have similar names, but in this case "Cracker" ironically happened to be a colloquial and originally pejorative nickname for rural southern Whites.
Negro Southern League
The Black Crackers joined the minor league Negro Southern League in March 1920. Their uniforms, bats, baseballs, and other supplies were donated by their white Southern Association counterpart, the Atlanta Crackers.
The team played their home games at Ponce de Leon Park, along with the white Atlanta Crackers. However, the Black Crackers were not allowed to play at Ponce de Leon Park when the Crackers had a home game. The Black Crackers were then forced to play at either Morehouse College or Morris Brown College.
Negro American League
In 1938, the Black Crackers were purchased and invited to play in a newly formed major Negro league, the Negro American League. The team went on to win the second half pennant in 1938, but scheduling problems and umpire controversies caused their series with the Memphis Red Sox to be canceled. The team was moved to Indianapolis following the 1938 season, and played as the Indianapolis ABCs.
Decline and demise
The team returned to Atlanta in 1940 and rejoined the Negro Southern league. Following Jackie Robinson's breaking of Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, the Negro League as well as the Black Crackers continued to exist for only a short time thereafter, finally disbanding around 1952.
MLB throwback jerseys
On June 28, 1997, the Atlanta Braves wore 1938 Black Crackers home uniforms and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies wore 1938 Philadelphia Stars road uniforms. The teams wore these same uniforms again for their matchup on May 14, 2011. On April 27, 2013, the Braves sported Black Crackers throwbacks in a game against the Detroit Tigers. On May 3, 2014, the Braves wore the Black Crackers jerseys in a game against the San Francisco Giants. On June 20, 2015, the Braves again wore the Black Crackers uniform in a game against the New York Mets, who wore the uniform of the Brooklyn Royal Giants to honor the Negro League. On May 15, 2016, the Braves wore Black Crackers away jerseys while playing against the Kansas City Royals, who wore Kansas City Monarchs jerseys. All game-worn gear from this game was auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
- The Crackers: Early Days of Atlanta Baseball (Athens, GA: Hill Street Press, 2003) by Tim Darnell http://hillstreetpress.com/Crackers.html
- Zack, Bill (1997-06-29). "Braves pound Phillies 9-1". Augusta Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- "Braves beat Phillies 5-3". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 14 May 2011. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/kc/ticketing/negro_leagues.jsp. Accessed 15 May 2016.
- Atlanta Black Crackers, The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-06-27.