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They Played for the Love of the Game: Black baseball in Minnesota

Left to Right: John Cotton, Unidentified, Lloyd "Du Lov" Hogan
From the collection of Frank White

They Played for the Love of the Game is an exhibit that traces the Minnesota history of the Negro Baseball Leagues and local African-American players. Frank M. White, the historian and guiding force behind the exhibition says, “The exhibit that Ramsey County Historical Society has mounted is a tribute to everyday people who were also special athletes. They are some of the great baseball players who struggled to overcome racial indignities and the lack of recognition for their accomplishments. Their absence from baseball history until recently is communicated throughout the exhibit in their own words and in the words of those who knew them.”

Frank continues, “In putting this exhibit together…and doing the research for it, what continues to amaze me is that this untold story of Minnesota black baseball is only beginning to be shared. I took on this project without knowing how important it would be to our history, to the history of African Americans and to people of all races in the local community. As one reporter shared with me, ‘You’re bringing these guys back to life.’”

First exhibited in 2010, the exhibit has been expanded and updated, highlighting players in the Twin Cities in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, through the present day. Special events, (see below), will present why the Negro League was formed and how it impacted many facets of African American life and livelihood, the challenges many players faced, and some of the results of players eventually breaking the color barrier, including the famous Jackie Robinson.

This exhibit was made possible in part through a donation from the Minnesota Twins and is presented by the Ramsey County Historical Society. Full details are available at

February 3 – 28, 2014
Bloomington Civic Plaza Lobby – Free
1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431.

Related Events:
February 7: Special Baseball Themed Lunch, 11:15am –1:15pm
Creekside Community Center, 9801 Penn Ave. S., Bloomington, MN
Baseball historian, Frank M. White will share stories of Black baseball players in Minnesota and the Midwest. Enjoy a stadium-style meal.
Reservations required three days in advance -REQUIRED - Lunches are prepay only. Deadline: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at noon
Please contact the Creekside Community Center for pricing and seating details, 952-563-4944, TTY 952-563-4933 or

Coffee with the Curator
Join Mr. White for Coffee with the Curator at Bloomington Civic Plaza following the luncheon.
Bloomington Civic Plaza, 1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431.
Friday, February 7, 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 19, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 25, 10:00 a.m.

February 27: Community Event with the Minnesota Twins, 6:30 pm
Bloomington Civic Plaza Lobby and Schneider Theatre
1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431.
To make a reservation contact 952-563-4944, TTY 952-563-4933.
Door prizes including Minnesota Twins tickets and behind the scenes tour.
• Breaking the Color Barrier: Jackie Robinson (Warren C. Bowles) and Branch Rickey (Chuck Chalberg) will tell their stories and restage Robinson’s signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
• Minnesota Twins 1961-1981: Stew Thornley, baseball historian and author, will discuss the Met Stadium, Minneapolis Millers and the start of Twins baseball in Bloomington.
• “They Played for the Love of the Game, Adding to the Legacy of Minnesota Black Baseball”: Featured speaker and baseball historian, Frank M. White will share the untold story of African American baseball players denied locally to flourish and play the game of baseball.
• Special exhibits from the Ramsey County Historical Society, Minnesota Twins, Clyde Doepner MN Twins Curator, and the Society for American Baseball Research.

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