Pirates to present Pittsburgh Negro League Baseball centennial commemoration event at Heinz History Center

Pirates to celebrate Black History Month with special event and traveling educational program

February 12th, 2020

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 13, the Pittsburgh Pirates proudly present the “Pittsburgh Negro League Baseball Centennial Commemoration” event, a special night at the Senator John Heinz History Center. The Pirates and partners such as the Josh Gibson Foundation, the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Teenie Harris Archives and the Senator John Heinz History Center will host the free event that includes an engaging panel discussion with special emcee, Pirates play-by-play broadcaster Joe Block.  

The event celebrates the centennial of the historic formation of Negro League Baseball in America. On February 13, 1920, Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League, an association of black teams modeled after Major League Baseball. This Thursday, Block will emcee a meaningful discussion with former Pirates outfielder Al Oliver; Sean Gibson, grandson of the legendary Negro League slugger, Josh Gibson; Rob Ruck, professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and author of “Raceball”; Samuel W. Black, director of the African American Program at the Heinz History Center; and Charlene Foggie-Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Specialist, Carnegie Museum of Art.  

The two-hour event, which begins at 6:00 p.m., is free and includes access to all six floors of the History Center exhibits. For more information and to register, please visit heinzhistorycenter.org/negroleagues100. 

In addition, in celebration of February’s Black History Month, the Pittsburgh Pirates launched the “Long Live Their Legacy” program, an organizational initiative promoting the history of the Negro Leagues and its many stars. The program is a traveling presentation made available to Pittsburgh area schools and community groups throughout the month.  

Below is the schedule of events for the “Long Live Their Legacy” programs. All programs are open to the media, but closed to the public, unless noted.

Thursday, February 13 -- 10 a.m.- Noon: Heinz History Center

Friday, February 14 -- 11 a.m.- Noon: Propel Schools - Pitcairn

Tuesday, February 18 -- 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: Carlow University

Thursday, February 20 -- 5 p.m.- 6 p.m.: The Pittsburgh Project

Friday, February 21 -- 9:20 a.m.- 10:20 a.m.: Evergreen Elementary School

Saturday, February 22 -- Noon- 1 p.m.: Community College of Allegheny County, Northside

Tuesday, February 25 -- 4 p.m.- 5 p.m.: Robert Morris University

Thursday, February 27 -- 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.: East End United Community Center

The “Long Live Their Legacy” initiative is designed to help educate young people in surrounding communities about Negro League baseball, its ties to Pittsburgh, and the significant influence it has had - and still has - on the game of baseball. The roughly 60-minute presentation aims to create an awareness of Pittsburgh as a hub for Negro League baseball during the first half of the 20th century, and the fact it was the only city in the country to host two Negro League teams - the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords. Those teams were two of the most historic Negro League teams of all time and featured stars such as Josh Gibson, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell and Buck Leonard.