Staunton’s first African-American baseball team recognized

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 10:40 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton is recognizing the city’s first African American baseball team, the Wild Cats.

The team was formed in the late 1940s during segregation. They went on to become district champions in 1949 and 1950.

On Wednesday, December 22, two surviving Wild Cats, James Becks, and Frank White, got their picture taken at Moxie Stadium. Both men say they didn’t think the day would come that the Wild Cats would be recognized.

“I never thought it would happen,” 91-year old Frank White said.

“No, I didn’t either. I really didn’t,” 94-year old James Becks said. “It was a great baseball team. We played all over the state of Virginia, played teams from out of Washington, and everywhere.”

Staunton Parks and Recreation is working on a plaque to honor the Wild Cats that will be mounted at Moxie Stadium.

Becks, a former Wild Cats pitcher, will throw out the first pitch of the Braves baseball season next spring.

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