February is Black History Month, and to honor the contributions of Black players to the history of Minnesota sports, the Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to feature one of its newest Acquisitions – a 16 x 20 photograph of the Minneapolis Colored Keystones from 1908. At the time, baseball teams were segregated, and the Negro National League had not yet formed. The Keystones played teams around Minnesota from approximately 1908-1911, including the St. Paul Colored Gophers. The Keystones’ manager, Kidd Mitchell and his wife, Mamie, ran the Keystone Saloon at 1313 Washington Avenue South in Minneapolis.
This particular image, labeled 1908, likely dates to the early part of the season based on the lineup of players. It was not uncommon for players to switch teams, and many players had ties to Chicago and Chicago-area teams. The names and positions are annotated on mat and identified as follows.
Back row, left to right: Fred “Pop” Roberts (2nd Base), Dick “Noisy” Wallace (Right Field), Eugene “Cherry” Barton (Left Field), Charles Jessup (Pitcher), “Topeka” Jack Johnson (1st Base), Bobby Marshall (Captain, Utility), George Hopkins (Center Field), Bill Binga (3rd Base). Middle row, left to right: Walter Ball (Pitcher), Edward “Kidd” “K.F” Mitchell (Pres. Manager/Owner), Mamie Lacey Mitchell, Eddie Davis (Secretary), Andrew Campbell (Catcher).
The Keystones appear in some books in the Historical Society’s Collections. They Played for the Love of the Game: Untold Stories of Black Baseball in Minnesota by Frank White and Swinging for the Fences: Black Baseball in Minnesota edited by Steve Hoffbeck provide rich histories of Black baseball in Minnesota.
Jennifer Huebscher, Curator of Photography and Moving Images