NILES, Ohio (WKBN) — There’s a new display at Eastwood Field in Niles dedicated to old-time baseball players with ties to the Mahoning Valley.
Before Monday night’s Scrappers game, the wall called Days Gone By was dedicated.
Six players were among the players honored including Bud Fowler who in the late 1800s was the first black to play pro baseball. Fowler played for a while for a team in Niles.
Here’s a full list and more information on the players highlighted on the wall:
Bud Fowler: The first black professional baseball player. He first signed with the New Castle Neshannocks in 1872, and in 1883 played with the Niles Grays. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022.
Jimmy McAleer: Born in Youngstown in 1864, he first played with Youngstown in the Class D Western Interstate Association in 1883. He later played from 1889-1903 for the Cleveland Spiders.
Elmer Fick: Fick’s professional debut was in 1896 with the Youngstown Giants, and then started with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1898. He led the American League in batting in 1905. Fick was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.
Red Ames: Born in Warren in 1882, he made his major league debut as a pitcher in 1903 with the New York Giants, where he played for 17 seasons. He won 24 games in 1905.
Billy Evans: He moved to the Mahoning Valley as a boy and was a star center fielder for Rayen High School. He later became the youngest Major League umpire at age 22 and umpired for 23 seasons. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
George H. Burns: Born in Niles in 1893, he would later play with three World Series champions: Cleveland Indians (1920), New York Yankees (1928), and Philadephia A’s (1929).
The idea for the wall was that of local baseball historian P.M. Kovach.
“These were the ones you have to start with. These were the pioneer players. There were other players. Simply longevity, how long did they play. What they did. Every one of these guys really had a marvelous career,” said Kovach.
It’s possible that more names could be added in the future. The Days Gone By wall is located behind the stands along the third baseline at Eastwood Field.