While the Bobcats will host only two days of KIT League action through the first 10 days of July, both days will be packed with excitement on and off the field.
On July 5, the first home date after Independence Day, the Bobcats will honor the nation’s defenders of freedom during a special ceremony between games of a double header. The following evening, local diamond legends will be recognized on a night that will see the original Kitty League’s first black player throw out the first pitch.
Tradewater comes to town July 5 for the first two games of a three-game set against rival Marion. Game 1 of two seven-inning contests begins at 5 p.m., and at the conclusion, before the second game of the twi-night double header, a special flag-raising and veterans recognition will take place.
Marion Mayor Mickey Alexander will present to Crittenden County Park Board and the Bobcats a a U.S. flag flown over the American embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The banner is one of six – one for each KIT League franchise – donated by Sikeston Bulls owner John Crocker, who recently returned from the war in Iraq. The U.S. Army major is currently stationed in California.
The new, larger flag than is currently flown behind center field at Gordon B. Guess Field will be raised above the park during the ceremony, which will include participation from Marion’s VFW and American Legion posts. Also, all veterans present will be recognized, and World War II veteran and loyal Bobcat fan Ronald “Tink” Hicklin will throw out the first pitch of the second game.
All veterans will be allowed free entry to either or both games on July 5.
Then, on July 6, the final game of the three-game series with the Pirates 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 have played 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 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 in the Kitty League 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.
July home schedule
- July 5, TRADEWATER, 5pm (DH): Veterans Night (All veterans enter either game of the double header for free. A ceremony between games will honor veterans in attendance.)
- July 6, TRADEWATER, 7:05pm: Old-Timers Night (Sponsored by the Crittenden County Bar Association)
- July 11, TRADEWATER, 7:05pm: Rogers Group Night
- July 16, UNION CITY, 7:05pm: Farmers Bank & Trust Co. Night
- July 17, UNION CITY, 7:05pm: Safetran Systems Night
- July 18, UNION CITY, 7:05pm: Salem Night (businesses from the community have joined to purchase tickets for fans from Salem)
- July 20, FULTON, 7:05pm: The Peoples Bank Night
- July 21, FULTON, 7:05pm: Food Giant and Chamber Night (Food Giant and Piggly Wiggly stores have combined with the Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce to offer tickets to employees and area businesses)
- July 22, FULTON, 7:05pm: Marion Baptist Church Night (The church’s choir will be singing the national anthem)