03/29/2006 3:36 PM ET
Brewers to honor Negro Leagues and Hispanic baseball with special events
Negro Leagues Tribute, Cerveceros Day announced as annual events
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers today announced details of two very special events that will pay tribute to legendary African American and Hispanic players who made great contributions to the game of baseball in Milwaukee and throughout the country in the 20th Century. The announcement was made at a press conference by Milwaukee Brewers Executive Vice President - Business Operations Rick Schlesinger in concert with Bishop Reverend Sedgwick Daniels, Bishop for Southeast Wisconsin Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and Maria Monreal-Cameron, President/CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
The first of these events is set for Friday, June 2 when the Brewers host the franchise's first ever "Negro Leagues Tribute" Night as they take on the Washington Nationals. Then on Sunday, July 29, Miller Park will take on a Latin-themed flair when the Brewers present "Cerveceros Day" when they face the Cincinnati Reds.
"Milwaukee is a very diverse city, and these annual events will honor the legacy of the great players and other individuals of Hispanic and African American descent who made significant contributions to the game of baseball," Schlesinger said.
When fans arrive at the ballpark on June 2, they will witness their favorite players in what may be unfamiliar Milwaukee uniforms. As part of the Negro Leagues Tribute, the Brewers will wear reproductions of uniforms worn by the Milwaukee Bears, the city's 1923 representative in the Negro National League. The team played only one season before disbanding but featured some of the game's most influential men, including Hall-of-Fame player/manager Preston "Pete" Hill.
The Washington Nationals will join in by donning the uniforms of the Negro National League's Homestead Grays, who called Washington, D.C. their home from 1937-48.
Also on this day, three men who have made monumental contributions to Negro Leagues baseball will be honored on the field in pre-game ceremonies. Buck O'Neil (player and manager, 1937-55), James Sanders (player 1956-58) and Dennis Biddle (player 1953, founder of "Yesterday's Negro League") will be on hand as they are placed on the Miller Park Wall of Honor. In future years, the honorees will instead be inducted into the Yesterday's Negro League Hall of Fame at Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer (COGIC). The Brewers are partnering with the church as a sponsor of the annual induction ceremonies, and the inductees will also be honored at each subsequent Negro Leagues Tribute at Miller Park. Additionally, the Brewers are planning a permanent Negro Leagues display that will be built on one of Miller Park's concourses in 2007.
"This is truly an historic partnership between the Milwaukee Brewers and Holy Redeemer Church," said Bishop Daniels. "We are all committed to honoring these great men and we now have two major events that will ensure that their legacy will only be strengthened through time."
As part of the Negro Leagues Tribute, the Brewers will auction their game-worn Milwaukee Bears uniforms on milwaukeebrewers.com. Proceeds will benefit Yesterday's Negro League Foundation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.
For Cerveceros Day, the Brewers will pay tribute to Hispanic baseball by once again wearing an alternate uniform. Instead of featuring the traditional "Brewers" script across their jerseys, the team's logo will read "Cerveceros" ("Brewers" in Spanish). Brewers great Ted Higuera and Milwaukee Braves infielder Felix Mantilla - both key players in Milwaukee's rich baseball tradition - will be honored by the Brewers and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in pre-game ceremonies that afternoon.
Cerveceros Day will take place in conjunction with the Fiesta Tailgate, which is being put on by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - Wisconsin. The Chamber is offering a special ticket package that includes pre-game entertainment and food at a tailgate party and a ticket to the game against the Reds. Fans may purchase packages by calling the Chamber at 414-643-6963.
"We are thrilled to be working with the Brewers in creating this very special and unique event," Monreal-Cameron said. "The Fiesta Tailgate has become a very popular event but we know that it will grow to new heights with the commitment to an annual Día de los Cerveceros ."
Throughout the ballpark, there will be a Latin-themed atmosphere, from bilingual announcements on the Public Address system and scoreboard to mariachi bands, a Jalapeno mascot and special scoreboard videos that feature the contributions of the game's great Hispanic players. In addition, there will be Spanish language interviews with players displayed on the Miller Park scoreboard.
The first 15,000 fans (ages 17-and older) through the turnstiles for the game will receive a free "Cerveceros" cap, courtesy of Culver's, sponsor of the event. Telemundo is serving as a media partner for Cerveceros Day.
As with the Negro Leagues Tribute, "Cerveceros" jerseys worn by the players for this game will be auctioned with proceeds going to the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Mexican Fiesta), the Phillip Arreola Scholarship Fund (Hispanic Chamber) and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee Scholarship Fund. There will also be a permanent display constructed on one of Miller Park's concourses in 2007 as a tribute to Hispanic baseball.