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Fort Payne

Negro League tribute, ‘Pre-Game Kickback’ highlight Trash Pandas weekend slate

MADISON – The last principal Negro League in baseball ceased operations in 1960, but the legacy left behind by players from those alliances not only remain but are strong as ever.

Saturday night at Toyota Field, four players from that era will be honored, throw out first pitches and sign autographs prior to the Southern League Double-A game between the Rocket City Trash Pandas and the Chattanooga Lookouts.

The Negro League Tribute, part of the Juneteenth celebration, will feature Joseph Marbury, Morris Marbury, Ferdinand “Chico” Rutledge and James Gray.

(Rocket city Trash Pandas/Facebook)

Marbury played for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1957-58. Marbury and Rutledge were both members of the Birmingham Black Barons in 1962. Gray joined the Black Barons in 1958 before spending time with both the Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs.

Additionally, a display from the Negro Southern League Museum will be set up on the concourse as fans can learn more about both the museum and the league’s history.

Tickets start at $8 and are available at TPTix.com.

Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. with a special presentation from “Dad’s Night Out” in the SportsMED Stadium Club discussing mental health, self-care, and fatherhood.

Pepsi gates will open at 5 p.m. for a Pre-Game Kickback at the Inline Electric Rock Porch. The celebration includes happy hours specials until 6:30 p.m., DJ Keith Rocca from WEUP-FM spinning until 6:35 p.m., whiskey tasting from Uncle Nearest, Big John’s Food Truck, and balloon twisting.

The Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama will be highlighted as the Community Spotlight of the Game. Divine 9 will have information available on the Bill Penney Toyota Concourse. 

Tonight, the Trash Pandas (28-26) seek their second straight win over the Lookouts (15-39) as the home club holds Friday Night Fireworks sponsored by Axient. Probable starters are Caden Dana (Rocket City, 3-3, 2.62) vs. Kevin Abel (Chattanooga).

In other news, the Los Angeles Angels assigned left-handed pitcher CD Pelham to Rocket City. In 2018, Pelham played in 10 games with the Texas Rangers. He’s one of four Trash Pandas on the active roster with Major League experience, joining pitcher Victor Mederos and catchers Tyler Payne and Caleb Hamilton. 

Weekend schedule:

  • Tonight
    Gates Open: All gates will open at 5:30 p.m. VIP Gates open at 5 p.m. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
    Friday Night Fireworks: Stick around after the game for a fireworks show that will light up the night, presented by Axient.
  • Saturday
    Gates Open: All gates will open at 5:30 p.m. VIP Gates open at 4:30 p.m. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
    Saturday Night Fireworks: Fans of all ages can enjoy a post-game firework show, presented by Bill Penney Toyota.
    Pre-Game Kickback: Featuring a Dad’s Night Out presentation at SportsMED Stadium Club to discuss mental health, self-care and fatherhood from 4:30-5:00. Beginning at 5 p.m, enjoy happy hour at the Inline Electric Rock Porch (5 Uncle Nearest Bourbon Lemonade until 6:30 p.m.) with a DJ, food truck, whisky tasting and a local artist who will showcase artwork and finish a painting on site.
    Negro League Tribute Night: Fans will have the opportunity to meet and receive autographs former Negro League players during the game!
  • Sunday
    Gates Open: All gates will open at 3:00 p.m. VIP Gates open at 2:30 p.m. First pitch is at 4:05 p.m.
    Pickleball Night: Arrive early to play pickleball in the outfield experience! Fans will be able to purchase pickleball paddles to play, learn the game rules, meet local players and learn more about upcoming events in the area.
    Kids Run the Bases: All kids are invited to run the bases after the game, presented by Listerhill Credit Union.

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