Schenectady

Schenectady scoreboard will acknowledge Negro Leagues great; Plaque to also go up, 40 years after honor

The plaque that will go up at the field, with the field and the scoreboard as it appeared earlier in March. File Photos and Provided (plaque)

The plaque that will go up at the field, with the field and the scoreboard as it appeared earlier in March. File Photos and Provided (plaque)

When a Daily Gazette reader saw a photograph of the new scoreboard at Central Park’s A-Diamond on March 19, his attention was drawn to a piece of African American history that wasn’t in the picture.

In a letter to the editor, and a subsequent interview, former councilman Vince Riggi wanted to know why the scoreboard didn’t contain an acknowledgment of the venue as “Buck Ewing Field,” as it was officially renamed by the city in 1983 for the accomplished catcher of the Mohawk Colored Giants, a Black baseball team in Schenectady.

Riggi also wanted to know about the location of a large plaque that was supposed to have been placed at the field at about the same time for William H. “Buck” Ewing.

Ewing — who also played for the Homestead Grays, a top Negro League team that competed in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C — remained in Schenectady after his playing days were over. He died in 1979 at age 76.

A plaque sponsored by the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association commemorates Ewing as “one of the best in semiprofessional baseball” and “a great humanitarian.”

It turns out the plaque was likely never mounted to the field, nearly 40 years after it was supposed to have been; No one contacted by this newspaper knows why.

Bill Macejka, a retired longtime parks maintenance supervisor who now works for the city part-time as a parks scheduler, said the arrival of the plaque predates his time with the city. Macejka said it may have been forgotten about by “the powers that be” at that time.

Macejka said city maintenance workers found the plaque in storage in 2019. Macejka said he brought the oversight to the attention of the city commissioner of general services and the mayor.

“Plans were, when the renovations were finished up at the field, they were going to put this thing up, which is going to happen,” Macejka said. “We’re in the process of doing the last of the renovations.”

Also, the city Engineering Department confirmed that the oversight of Ewing not being mentioned on the scoreboard will be fixed, Macejka said.

Riggi said he’s happy about the scoreboard and plaque.

“My concern was, that’s part of history,” Riggi said.

The field is used for a variety of tournaments and by several area programs, Macejka said, including Bryant and Stratton College, Union College, the Schenectady Monarchs, Capital District Renegades, four divisions of the Capital District men’s league, and the Albany Athletics.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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