Brewers to honor Toles, Negro League

Ted Toles has been to many baseball stadiums of all levels over his storied career. On Saturday, he will now add Milwaukee’s Miller Park to his list – but instead of playing, the 88-year old will be honored for the ball he played in the past.

The Brewers are hosting the franchise’s ninth annual Negro League Tribute and will honor Toles as well as Nathan “Sonny” Weston during a tailgate reception at Helfaer Field. There also will be a special pregame ceremony at Miller Park.

On Sunday, Toles and Weston will be inducted into the Yesterday’s Negro League Hall of Fame at the Mother Kathryn Daniels Center on the grounds of Milwaukee’s Holy Redeemer Church.

“They just called me up and said they were doing this and shipped me a plane ticket,” Toles said. “I’ve never been there before.”

Toles’ story begins back in 1946 when he was a pitcher/outfielder with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the Negro Leagues. That year the Braceville native went 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 was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1950 and played in their minor-league system, along with the Philadelphia Athletics’ farm system.

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.