Royal Weddings And Baseball History [VIDEO]

Royal Weddings And Baseball History [VIDEO]

Royal Weddings And Baseball History [VIDEO]

Yes, I watched the wedding yesterday. I like weddings. I like pretty dresses and happy endings and fairy tales. I am also grateful to be American, and I laughed yesterday when my daughter watched the wedding audience sing “God Save The Queen” and realized that we totally ripped off the melody and rewrote it as “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee.” I also love baseball, so this story of how the royal wedding is connected to great baseball history was just the icing on the wedding cake.

If you don’t know the history of the Negro Leagues, you are missing out on a huge part of the history of baseball. There is a museum dedicated to them, located in Kansas City, home of Victory Girl Kim’s beloved Royals (and no, that is NOT the “royal” connection).

Players today go to the museum to learn and be inspired.

Of course, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, the press went digging through her family history (and of course uncovered her entirely crazy half-siblings and their fame-seeking ways) and actually found an honest-to-goodness connection between the newest member of the British royal family and the great American pastime.

William Demont ‘Happy’ Evans Jr – Meghan’s great-great uncle – played for the prestigious Homestead Grays in the American Negro League, the Negro National League, and independent leagues for black players when US baseball was segregated.

Known for having one of the strongest throwing arms in baseball, Evans helped the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Grays win eastern championships in 1930 and 1931 – the equivalent, say historians of winning the Negro World Series, as none took place in those years.

Evans’ other nickname was ‘The Gray Ghost’, because of his foot-speed and good play as an outfielder.

Evans, a Kentucky native, played in the segregated Negro Leagues between 1920 and 1937, a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for African-American players in Major League Baseball.

He played alongside some of the most famous players in the Negro Leagues, including Hall of Famers Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston with the Grays.

Evans went on to marry Meghan’s great-great aunt Lillie, becoming a relative by marriage, but one certainly worth claiming as family!

Meghan’s great-great uncle died she she was five but she knew his wife, Lillie Evans, who died when she was 22.

Her great-great aunt was a pioneering figure in her own right, working as a maid and a cook when she was forced by financial hardship to drop out of college in Tennessee, but then forging a successful career in Los Angeles as a realtor which saw her endow her local community with a swimming pool.

Evans left her Los Angeles home to her nephew Alvin when he died, and in turn he left it to Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mom, and she continues to live there.

Call me nuts, but I love these kinds of stories. And I would love it if next year in June, when the Yankees and the Red Sox play in London Stadium, Meghan and Harry decide to bring George and Charlotte to a game, and Aunt Meghan tells a few stories to her nephew and niece about baseball between stuffing the kids with hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy – and then dropping them back off at their Kensington Palace apartments with William and Kate, completely sugared up.

After all, the British royal family just became a little bit American yesterday. Now it’s time to share baseball with them. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine once predicted that London would have its own MLB team someday. If life imitates art someday, it might just be because the Duchess of Sussex carried a little family history across the Atlantic and shared it with a future king.

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1 Comment
  • GWB says:

    stuffing the kids with hot dogs, popcorn, and cotton candy – and then dropping them back off at their Kensington Palace apartments with William and Kate, completely sugared up.
    Ummm, there’s a LOOOOOONG plane ride between the one and the other. And I, for one, would not like to be on the plane with those sugared-up kids. Yikes.

    The Negro Leagues are a great example of striving to overcome real racism. Those folks were real believers in the sport, and played like it. Truly inspiring.

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