'Other Boys of Summer' tour resumes with September dates

August 29th, 2023

The stories of Josh Gibson, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and other Negro League legends have come into better focus in recent years. But there’s still a deep, rich history of Negro League baseball that is mostly untold and nearly lost to time.

“The Other Boys of Summer,” a 42-minute documentary narrated by the late Cicely Tyson, aims to preserve some of that history by allowing the players who navigated life in the Negro Leagues to tell their own stories. Lauren Meyer, the film’s director, began interviewing Negro League players in 2007 before putting the full documentary together for release a decade later.

As a way to provide fans with a unique opportunity to soak up the history and lessons within the documentary, Meyer has followed the path of many Negro League clubs with a barnstorming tour. In partnership with Minor League Baseball and Tumbleweed Pictures, Meyer is screening the film at different Minor League cities -- both at the ballpark and in the local community -- throughout the season.

So far, the tour has reached seven cities. Each celebration has also featured a panel discussion that’s been personalized for the local audience.

“The experience has been pretty phenomenal so far,” Meyer told MiLB's The Show Before the Show podcast. “The people who attend our programs, what they love about it is that they get to hear from the players themselves.”

By season's end, The Other Boys of Summer Barnstorming Tour is slated to visit 12 Minor League parks.Montgomery Biscuits/Greenville Drive

The tour started in June at High-A Greenville, where the documentary was shown on the outfield big screen at Fluor Field. Meyer then hosted a Q&A with John Whiteside, who played baseball at the formerly all-Black Sterling HS in Greenville, and local historian Luther Norman. After the festivities, the Drive took the field in specialty uniforms as the Greenville Black Spinners, who were a Black semi-pro team that played in the area between 1921-69.

The jaunt continued through six more Minor League cities across the South, finishing up at Double-A Bowie’s Prince George’s Stadium and High-A Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium before a brief hiatus.

Meyer opened another leg of the tour on Aug. 27 at Triple-A Norfolk’s Harbor Park, joining a panel discussion moderated by Brian Smith, a local TV station's sports director. Claudell Clark, a former Minor Leaguer who has worn many different hats at the historically Black Norfolk State University, was also part of the panel. The Tides invited the Norfolk State baseball team, the local Boys and Girls Club and the Norfolk Tides Kids Club for both the screening and the Tides' game against Durham.

The tour continued at Double-A Richmond the following night, as the Flying Squirrels hosted an event at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The date of the program, Aug. 28, coincided with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and the 78th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first meeting with Branch Rickey.

Three more Minor League parks will welcome The Other Boys of Summer Barnstorming Tour in September.

On Sept. 6, the Single-A Columbia Fireflies will host an event at Segra Park.

The Triple-A Charlotte Knights will screen the film at Truist Field during the team's HBCU Night on Sept. 8.

On Sept. 19, the tour arrives at 121 Financial Field, home of the Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.