A salute to Native baseball players
ALBANY, N.Y. - The Iroquois Indian Museum will present ;'Baseball's League of Nations: A Tribute to Native American Baseball Players,'' opening April 1. An opening reception and benefit party for the museum will be held April 5 from 3 - 6 p.m. Baseball's League of Nations is a multicultural tribute to American Indian baseball players past and present.
Louis Sockalexis of the Penobscot Nation was the first Native to appear on the Major League Baseball scene in 1897 as an outfielder for the Cleveland Spiders. That was half a century before Jackie Robinson officially integrated ''America's National Pastime'' in 1947.
This historic exhibit also features American Indian barnstorming teams such as Green's Nebraska Indians. Other teams and players featured include Native educator and former Syracuse University pitcher Mike Tarbell as well as his uncle Joe Tarbell, who played with the legendary Jim Thorpe at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pa.
This exhibit also explores the use of activities such as baseball in the assimilation of Native children at boarding schools into mainstream American culture. The use of American Indian logos and mascots will also be addressed by this exhibit.
The Iroquois Indian Museum will host an All-Star celebration the weekend of July 12 and 13. The multicultural All-Star festival will include American Indian artists and baseball players, traditional Iroquois Social Dancing, Native speakers, and local talent and community theatre performances focused on ''America's favorite pastime.'' This All-Star weekend will be just one of the four traditional Iroquois Social Dance events scheduled at the Iroquois Indian Museum for the summer of 2008.
A Fall Gala party and museum fundraiser will be held Nov. 15 and is the final event in celebration of ''Baseball's League of Nations: A Tribute to Native American Baseball Players,'' running through Dec. 31.
The Iroquois Indian Museum is located 35 miles west of Albany near the intersection of Route 7 and Highway 145. For information and directions, call (518) 296-8949 or visit www.iroquoismuseum.org.