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'I'm going to miss thinking about them' Windsor author publishes book on Chatham Coloured All-Stars

For the last six years, Heidi Jacobs has been researching and writing about the historic team from 1934.

“They were the first Black team to win an Ontario baseball amateur Association Championship in 1934,” but Jacobs says that’s only half the story. “They really made a difference not only in terms of sports in the region, but also life and opportunities for people of colour in this region.”

The idea to memorialize the team started as a website, at work, where Jacobs is a librarian for the University of Windsor.

”We honestly thought we could finish this up in six months. It's been six years, and I fell more and more in love with this team,” says Jacobs. “It's been a really long thing, but I'm going to miss thinking about them. They've really occupied a huge part of my mind.”

Jacobs couldn’t find a lot of published works about the team, but lots of old newspaper clippings and genealogical records to sift through.

“I didn't have any inkling (about) how amazing it would be and I just kept digging deeper and deeper and deeper and I got to a point where I realized this is a story that needs to go out there,” says Jacobs.

The Chatham All-Stars are shown in this photo (Source: Brock Greenhalgh)

Enter Dan Wells, owner of Biblioasis bookstore and publishing house.

“This book for me is personal in a way most of our other regional books haven't been,” he said.

Wells is originally from Chatham and a life-long baseball fan.

But more importantly, his grandfather was friends with some of the team members of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars.

“I knew about their connection to baseball, but at the time as a kid I didn't care, right? I mean, I didn't understand the Negro League because I didn't understand amateur baseball. It was MLB (Major League baseball) or bust,” said Wells. “I regret the fact that when I knew these men I didn't care enough.”

Together, they have published ‘1934: The Chatham Coloured All-Stars’ Barrier-Breaking Year’ on sale now at Biblioasis 1520 Wyandotte Street East.

They are also planning a book launch for Tuesday, June 6 at 7 p.m. at the book store and Wednesday June 7 at 7 p.m. at Sons of Kent brewery in Chatham.

“There are these undiscovered incredible stories everywhere if we only know where to look and what she has done is she's uncovered this story that we all should know a lot more about,” says Wells. Top Stories

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