Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Old-Timers Night to feature Kitty League legend

A number of baseball players from Crittenden County's past will be recognized along with one pioneer of the old Kitty League during a special event at a Bobcats game next month.
The July 6 game against Tradewater in Marion will double as Old-Timers Night,  inviting diamond legends of the county’s past back for recognition. Bobcats General Manager Gordon Guess, one of those to play ball beyond the high school level, said a comprehensive list of “old-timers” has been compiled and those individuals are being invited to attend the ceremonies.
A special guest who never played baseball in Marion, but broke the color barrier in the forerunner of the KIT League in which the Bobcats compete will be on hand. In 1952, Wilker Harrison Thelbert "Mickey" Stubblefield took the mound for the Mayfield Clothiers, becoming the first African-American to play in the original Kitty League. He also played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues.
His appearance came five years after Jackie Robinson became the first black to play Major League Baseball.
Stubblefield will throw out the first pitch on Old-Timers Night.
More on Stubblefield
Visual journalist Todd Spoth is currently working on a video project about Stubblefield called "The Good Loser." Spoth has two preview videos of his larger work which can be view by following the links below. Spoth also maintains a blog on Blogspot.com, the same site that allows for Marion Bobcat updates found on this page. His blog can be found at toddspoth.blogspot.com.
  • Clip No. 1: This is simply a raw clip from a piece Im currently editing called "The Good Loser" about the life of Mickey Stubblefield, the first African-American baseball player in the Kitty Leagues. More information on Spoth's work related to this clip can be found by clicking here.
  • Clip No. 2: Wilker Harrison "Mickey" Stubblefield, 82, signed a 1947 contract making him the first African-American ever to play Kitty League Baseball. But his greatest accomplishment has been raising two young girls on his own while their mother serves time in a nearby prison.