Bears down Black Crackers (or Brewers beat Braves)

 The Brewers offense finally matched up with Yovani Gallardo’s stellar pitcher performance Sunday night at Miller Park — but the pitcher supplied it himself. 

The Crew wore jerseys as an homage to the Milwaukee Bears, a Negro National League team that played in town in 1923. I had a T-shirt with that date and the team name when I was in high school. Most people are shocked that Milwaukee — deep in Green Bay Packer Nation — could be associated with anything “Bears.”

The Braves wore the jerseys of their town’s team, the Atlanta Black Crackers. These tribute nights help to honor the great players who played in the Negro Leagues, and as an added bonus, help to highlight the absurdity of segregation, thanks to the teams ridiculous nicknames. 

For example, there was a team called the New York Black Yankees. It’s like, “Yeah, we’re just like the Yankees… but we’re black. Get it? Yeah, I know it’s awful.” 

One other bit about the Negro Leagues: I still can’t believe they didn’t induct Buck O’Neill into the Hall of Fame before he died. Especially because it’s baseball writers who are voting? Where’s your sense of narrative? Read this story about Satchel Paige pitching to Josh Gibson in the World Series, told by O’Neill himself, and you’d vote him in just for that. 

Gallardo also notched the winning RBI last night, breaking a scoreless game by showing bunt and slapping a single on the next pitch. With his 7.3 innings pitched — for hits and no runs — it was enough for the win. It’s not the first time he’s supplied all the offense needed for a win. I’m off to the game right now, to see if Braden Looper, who has been in a groove, can get the Brewers their first series win since the break.


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