The village of Cooperstown will celebrate Bud Fowler this weekend to honor his contributions to baseball and fight for racial equality.
Fowler, a former Cooperstown resident, is a 19th-century baseball player regarded by baseball historians as the first African-American player in professional baseball.
The village of Cooperstown’s Board of Trustees has voted to honor its own trailblazer on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death. The ceremony will take place in coordination with the 2013 Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th-Century Base Ball Conference held by the Society for American Baseball Research on April 19 and 20 in Cooperstown. In addition, Mayor Jeff Katz has designated April 20 as “Bud Fowler Day.”
The street sign “Fowler Way” will be unveiled at the entrance to Doubleday Field at 4 p.m. Saturday. From there, the celebration will continue with a short walk down “Fowler Way” to the courtyard between the grandstand and first-base bleachers in Doubleday Field. The speakers will include Katz, who will unveil a permanent plaque installed in the brick wall of the first-base bleachers honoring Fowler; Elsie Rhodes, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Cooperstown; Jim Gates, library director at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; and Gretchen Sorin, director of Cooperstown Graduate Program and distinguished professor, who will introduce the graduate students who created an exhibit that will be on display in the Doubleday Field kiosk.
Congressman Chris Gibson and Official Major League Baseball Historian John Thorn will conclude the event. More speakers may take part.
On Sunday, the village of Cooperstown will host programming on Bud Fowler beginning at 10 a.m. in the Bullpen Theater at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Cooperstown Graduate Program students Ashley Bowden and Ryan Leichenauer will discuss their research. Tbere may be other speakers as well.
For more information, call the village of Cooperstown office at 547-2411 or visit our website at http://www.cooperstownny.org/