Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp And Tennessee Smokies

Buster Hair, Negro League player and Harold Craw, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp General Manager. (Photo by Frank M. Powell)

On Saturday, July 22, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp was scheduled to play the Tennessee Smokies at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Stadium.  Due to rain and inclement weather, the game was moved to Sunday, July 22.  The first 1,000 fans in attendance received a replica jersey, of the Jacksonville Red Caps, a local Negro Southern League, and American League team in the 1930s and 1940s.

On Sunday, the Shrimp and Smokies played a double hitter where Tennessee won the game with a two-run ninth inning. David Bote doubled with one out and came home on a triple by Andrew Ely. He later scored on an error by third baseman David Vidal in the first game, 2-0, Jumbo Shrimp won game two 3-1, to take the series from the Smokies. Regular individual tickets for Saturday’s game may be exchanged at the box office for a ticket of equal or lesser value to any remaining regular season home game.

It was a wonderful day with Jacksonville’s own Negro League player Harold “Buster” Hair, was on hand and meet fans. He told stories of his pants in baseball and his travels around the country to some grandchildren of players in the Negro League who came by for photograph, autograph, and selfies. Hair expressed that when he goes to the ballpark the first thing he does is to find a hot dog. After enjoying a slaw dog, he continues back to autographing and telling stories about his travels and how the black league played in all of the cities to a double standard back in the day.

After three hours of signing autographs, Hair retired for the day with a smile on his face saying that he really enjoys baseball and was really disappointed that African-Americans in the community stopped playing baseball. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp is on the road to open a series in Mississippi on Aug. 1, at 8 p.m.  The Shrimp return to Jacksonville to face the Birmingham Barons at 7:05 p.m. August 4.

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