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Marlins wear throwbacks for Negro Leagues

@JoeFrisaro
August 16, 2020

The Marlins were “Giants” on Sunday in their series finale with the Braves at Marlins Park. As part of MLB honoring the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, the Marlins wore throwback Miami Giants uniforms, paying tribute to the semipro team that played in South Florida in the 1930s. •

The Marlins were “Giants” on Sunday in their series finale with the Braves at Marlins Park.

As part of MLB honoring the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, the Marlins wore throwback Miami Giants uniforms, paying tribute to the semipro team that played in South Florida in the 1930s.

The Negro Leagues: Complete coverage

Select jerseys from Sunday's game will be available for auction through the Marlins' Home Run Rewards program, with the proceeds going to the Marlins Foundation. Fans can sign up for more information at marlins.com/rewards.

Although the Miami Giants technically weren’t part of the Negro Leagues, they did frequently face teams that were in barnstorming games.

As part of the pregame celebration, Robert Paige, son of legendary pitcher Satchel Paige, threw out the virtual ceremonial first pitch. Julian Syphax, a 93-year-old American hero and South Florida resident, made the ceremonial "Play ball!" announcement.

“It’s nice that we are bringing this to light,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously, the museum is in Kansas City, and this day brings to light how many great players there were.”

Hall of Famer Paige played the Miami Giants. In his 50s, the rangy right-hander pitched for the old Miami Marlins, the former Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies, from 1956-59.

During his Minor League playing days, Mattingly once spotted Paige in a restaurant and got his autograph.

“I knew the name of Satchel Paige when I was a kid,” Mattingly said. “I didn’t know anything about the Negro Leagues or how it got started or anything about it. But I actually got to meet Satchel Paige when I was at the South Atlantic League.

“I went in [a restaurant] after to get a burger or something, and Satchel was sitting there all by himself. We ran back and got a couple of balls, and I still to this day have a Satchel Paige-signed baseball.”

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is located in Kansas City, Mo., and current and former players have been raising awareness of the Negro Leagues for months.

Marlins rookie outfielder Monte Harrison, a Kansas City native, grew up about a five-minute walk from a baseball field named after Paige.

“Every time we would drive past that I was like, ‘I don’t know why there’s a baseball stadium in our neighborhood, but for some reason, I want to play there,’" Harrison said. “Actually, I never got to play in the stadium. But the older I got, the more I got to understand the Negro Leagues and baseball.”

Harrison, one of the Marlins' top prospects, hit his first big league homer in a 2-1 loss to the Braves on Saturday night.

“I just want to take my game, the Black history of baseball and bring it to Major League Baseball, and combine it, and make Major League Baseball even greater,” Harrison said.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.