JSU and the Mississippi Braves to host inaugural family and friends’ night
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson State University is partnering with the Mississippi Braves for the first time as the two organizations will host a family and friends’ night Saturday, August 20, at 6:05 p.m. at Trustmark Park.
The “long overdue” collaboration will also honor the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues.
“We are very excited that we are finally in a place where we can actually see this project to fruition. We’ve been working on it since 2020,” said Yolanda Owens, assistant vice president for the Division of Institutional Advancement at JSU. “The pandemic paused our plans, but we are excited that in 2022 we can bring this partnership together.”
According to the press release, the 100th anniversary was in 2020 as “initial plans were stalled.” However, the event will come to fruition on Saturday as the M-Braves are set to take on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
During the game, several tributes are set to be made in memory of the league established for Black baseball teams in the early 20th century.
A silent auction will also be held, and all proceeds will go to JSU’s GAP program.
“There’s going to be a number of historic videos, script material, and a variety of things talking about the history of the Negro Leagues. We probably have more of a focus on Cool Papa Bell, who had Mississippi ties, and [we’re] just celebrating the history, nostalgia, and importance of the Negro Leagues,” explained Tim Mueller, assistant general manager of the Mississippi Braves.
Former Minority Mississippi Braves player and now starting second baseman for the Atlanta Braves Vaughn Grissom and Minority Mississippi Braves player Justyn-Henry Malloy have since praised the M-Braves efforts to recognize the Negro League, noting its contributions to their opportunity to play professional baseball.
“I wouldn’t be able to play our sport now without the people who took the first step. The league is being flooded with more African-American talent, and it’s fun to see,” said Grissom. “Even like 15 to 10 years ago, the league was like predominately white, and now you get to see a lot more color. We have an opportunity to make tons of money now [and] that wasn’t available back then, even if you were the best of the best.”
According to the release, Left Fielder Malloy was drafted by the Braves organization in 2021. He too has admired the passion of the Negro League.
“Being able to know the history of what those guys have done before us and the amount of struggling they really had to go through too, it kind of put things in perspective with us playing such a difficult game,” Henry shared. “Those guys were super tough. They were hungry; they really loved the game for them to do what they had to do to play out here, so I think it’s important for us to know and recognize that.”
Tickets for the event this weekend can be purchased from Ticketmaster or in-person at the Department of Alumni and Constituency Relations located at 101 W. Capitol Street in downtown Jackson.
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