The Milwaukee Brewers will host the franchise's ninth annual Negro Leagues Tribute at Miller Park on Saturday, July 26. Former Negro League players Ted Toles Jr. and Nathan "Sonny" Weston will be honored during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field, beginning at 3 p.m., along with a special pre-game ceremony at Miller Park. An autograph session with both honorees will take place during the first 45 minutes of the game on the Field Level Concourse near home plate.
Toles Jr., 88, began his playing career in the Negro Leagues as a pitcher/outfielder with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1946, going 18-7 as a pitcher while batting .350. Later that season, he earned an invitation to tour with the Jackie Robinson All-Stars, where he played on the west coast portion of the tour. He also played for the Newark Eagles and was a member of the Cleveland Buckeyes' Winter League traveling team in 1947. Toles Jr. was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1950 and played in their minor-league system, along with the Philadelphia Athletics' farm system. Additionally, he excelled as a boxer and track star.
Weston, 83, was an outfielder and first baseman with the Chicago American Giants in 1951. Following a season in the Negro Leagues, Weston was invited to spring training with the Chicago White Sox, but was the team's final cut in the spring of 1952. He tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but once again, was the final cut on a team that featured Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider, among other baseball greats. A native of East Chicago, Weston graduated from Bloom Township High School and worked at the Ford Motor Company Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois for 42 years.
On Sunday, July 27, Toles Jr. and Weston will be inducted into the Yesterday's Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center located at 3500 W. Mother Daniels Way on the grounds of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church (COGIC), beginning at 1:45 p.m. The Brewers are once again partnering with the MKDC and the church as a sponsor of the annual induction ceremonies and other initiatives. This event is open to the public.
In previous years, the Brewers honored outfielders George Altman and Lonnie Harris (2013); pitcher/utility player Mamie "Peanut" Johnson and outfielder Porter Reed (2012); pitchers Charlie "Whip" Davis and Johnny Washington (2011); pitcher Ollie Brantley and first baseman/outfielder Clinton "Butch" McCord (2010); infielder Harold "Buster" Hair Jr. and catcher James "Jim P" Tillman Sr. (2009); pitcher Eugene 'Dick' Scruggs and first baseman James 'Red' Moore (2008); and outfielder W. James 'Jim' Cobbin and catcher Arthur Hamilton (2007) as they were inducted into the Yesterday's Negro League Hall of Fame. During the Brewers' first Negro Leagues Tribute in 2006, Buck O'Neil, James Sanders and Dennis Biddle were each honored.
The Milwaukee Bears, the city's 1923 representative in the Negro National League, played only one season before disbanding but featured some of the game's most influential men, including Hall-of-Fame player/manager John Preston "Pete" Hill.