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JETHAWKS NOTEBOOK: JETHAWKS TO HONOR NEGRO LEAGUES.

Byline: Aaron Levine Staff Writer

LANCASTER - The 1920 Detroit Stars. The 1946 Cleveland Buckeyes. The 1949 Memphis Red Sox.

These are just a few of the old Negro League teams the JetHawks will pay tribute to Sunday at Lancaster Municipal Stadium.

The JetHawks and Lake Elsinore will compete in old-style uniforms, similar to those worn in the historic league.

``I definitely feel honored to pay tribute to guys that really not a lot of people know about,'' first-year player Jason Williams said. ``It's one of those great traditions to honor those players of the past who don't get recognized as much as those who played in the major leagues.''

Most Negro League teams will be represented on the uniforms, and in order to distinguish Lancaster from Lake Elsinore, the JetHawks will wear white uniforms and The Storm will sport gray ones.

``They're awesome - I like the old-school styles,'' Williams said.

Throughout the game, public-address announcer Larry Thornhill will read information about the Negro League to the crowd, including a tidbit about a certain 15-year old center fielder for the 1947 Birmingham Black Barons named Willie Mays.

``It's neat to pay tribute and really to educate the fans about the Negro Leagues - about the players, some of the stars, some of the main things that happened back then,'' JetHawks general manager Kevin Younkin said. ``There are some incredible players who played in the league and it's something that we can do to tie in what really brought about baseball as we know it today.''

The 7:15 p.m. game is not the only way the league will be honored. A softball game will precede the main contest, as dignitaries including Lancaster mayor Frank Roberts and vice mayor Henry Hearns will don old- style jerseys and caps as they play in the exhibition. Following softball, a barbecue will be open to everyone in attendance.

One ticket will allow fans entry into the softball and baseball games, along with the barbecue. According to Younkin, tickets are still available.

Burt Perry, a season-ticket holder and baseball history buff who works for the city of Lancaster, along with former professional baseball player Ellis Valentine, came up with the idea for the event two years ago. Younkin said the JetHawks' connection with AIS, the manufacturer of the normal JetHawks uniforms, enabled the organization to get a hold of the old-style clothing.

Of course, for a team that is rapidly approaching the end of the season with little room for error if it wants to make the playoffs, Williams was quick to

say the team's focus can't veer too far because of the festivities.

``The game is still the most important thing,'' Williams said.

--Dodgers appearance: Former Dodgers Tommy Davis and Rudy Law attended Friday's game at the Hangar. Fans met and got autographs from the two players, who were promoting a program that allows fans to speak with former professionals over the phone called the ``Call of Fame.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 28, 2001
Words:493
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