Colored Giants

In July of 1925, Skaneateles hosted the Penn Yan (N.Y.) Cuban Colored Giants baseball team who took on the Skaneateles Men’s Club. Our sports reporter noted:

“The crack Cuban Giants of Penn Yan lived up to their reputation as a very fast team in their game with the Men’s Club nine Wednesday afternoon, being strong both in fielding and at the bat.”

The Skaneateles team included the legendary Garrett “Panny” Stearns, to whom the Austin Park baseball fields are dedicated, but even with his help the locals came up short, losing to the visiting Giants 6-2. Apparently, the loss would have been less painful had the Cuban Colored Giants treated the fans to some shadow baseball or other clever stunts. Instead, the disappointed reporter said:

“They were rather quiet for a bunch of colored boys, the catcher seeming to be only one having much conversational ‘pep.’”

If the Cuban Colored Giants were not as entertaining as we’d hoped, it might have been due to what was going on at home base in Penn Yan. In June, 8,000 people gathered at the Fair Grounds for the “K.K.K. Klonverse.” The gathering included ceremonial degree work (private) and a Saturday parade of 500 knights of the Ku Klux Klan in full regalia. Music was provided by the Klan Band of Elmira, with addresses by the Ontario and Yates County Kleagle. Crosses were burned, triggering fire alarms, but the firemen were stopped at the gate by Klan security. Afterwards the Klansmen donated a giant American flag and flag staff to the Yates County Fair Association, “with the compliments of the Klan.”

It was a strange time in America.

* * *

“Cuban Colored Giants Game,” Skaneateles Free Press, July 17, 1925; “K.K.K. Klonverse” Penn Yan Democrat, June 19, 1925

The Lineups:

Penn Yan Cuban Colored Giants: Johnson, Howard, Jackson, Ford, Woods, Wella, Kemp, Gillespie, pitcher “Chick” Grady

Mens’ Club: McDonald, E. Horsington, Vic Hanson, H. Horsington, Allyn, Clark, Arthur, Ernie Ryan, Garrett “Panny” Stearns, “Skinny” Dear

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