PARK HILL, Okla. – A new exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center is showcasing the impact American Indians had on Major League Baseball from 1897 to 1947.
“American Indians in Major League Baseball: The First Fifty Years” opens to the public on Sept. 28 and runs through March 28.
“A major myth about American Indians is that we are not competitive. However, when you look at team sports, we excel,” said Dr. Charles Gourd, executive director of the Cherokee Heritage Center. “In this exhibit, we honor these historic American Indian ballplayers and showcase their pioneer work to demonstrate the impact they had, not only on the sport, but also the teams and cities for whom they played.”
The exhibit showcases biographies of 28 American Indian ballplayers alongside a priceless collection of baseball cards on loan by Cherokee Nation citizen Rob Daugherty. The collection has gained national recognition as one of the most extensive and complete collection of cards and items directly related to American Indians. Additional display items include authentic and time-period equipment, photo galleries and more.
Of the 28 featured players, 18 were born and raised in Oklahoma, including six Cherokees: Paddy Mayes, John Vann, Jim Bluejacket, Ben Tincup, and brothers Bob and Roy Johnson.
Other notable players include Jim Thorpe, Sac and Fox Nation; Euel Moore, Chickasaw Nation; Allie Reynolds, Muscogee Creek Nation; and Albert Bender, White Earth Chippewa.
Media are invited to preview the exhibit during a private reception on Friday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill.