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Thu, 02.28.1946

The Indianapolis Clowns, a special Black Baseball team

*This date in 1946 celebrates the start of the Indianapolis Clowns baseball organization. They were one of the many teams that played in the Negro Baseball League.

Over 30 communities located primarily in the Midwest, northeast, and south were home to franchises organized into 6 different leagues. Though better known for their colorful antics, the Clowns were also a sound baseball team. In 1952, they won the Negro American League championship with a young cross-handed slugger from Mobile, AL., named Hank Aaron. The Clowns fielded such stars as Buster Haywood, DeWitt "Woody" Smallwood, showman "Goose" Tatum, and future Major Leaguers John Wyatt (As), Paul Cassanova (Senators), and "Choo-Choo" Coleman (Mets).

The Indianapolis Clowns changed nicknames in their history with one such classic as the Ethiopian Clowns. They often marched on the field with a dancing spectacle derived from the African cultures to entertain the crowds back in 1930, but they eventually went back to the Indianapolis domain. The team folded in 1962.

Reference:
The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History
By Phil Dixon with Patrick J. Hannigan
Copyright 1992, Jed Clauss and Joanna Paulsen
Ameron House Publishing
ISBN 0-88488-0425-2

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