The Chatham Coloured All-Stars

Brief History on the Chatham Coloured All-Stars

A group of Black men began playing baseball together in 1932 at Stirling Park in the east-side of Chatham and in later years had players join from Walpole Island First Nations and the local white community. In 1933, Archie Stirling, a Chatham business man in Chatham’s east-side and local representative for the OBAA noticed the skills and talent of the team and helped get them into the city’s baseball league where they played against the white teams of the city.

The Chatham Coloured All-Stars rapidly gained popularity and the attention of local newspaper reports, who found the team to be highly skilled, dedicated and thrilling to watch. In 1934, during the All-Stars’ second year in the league, they won the provincial championship in the Intermediate B Division. They played the Penetang Shipbuilders from Penetanguishene, Ontario in the final series and beat them 13 to 7 making them the first all-Black team to win an OBAA title.

The road to victory wasn’t one that was easy for the team. After all this was the 1930’s in Canada and segregation and racism was a part of the daily life of Canada’s Black citizens. The men on this team regularly had to eat at out of the way spots, often being served food out the back door of restaurants and were regularly denied accommodations . Those in attendance at games were also known to hurl racial slurs at the team.

Throughout the years players, coaches and managers came and went but one thing was for certain, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars were a team to watch for in the Ontario baseball scene.

The team continued to play together until 1940. After the war many of these players were seen playing on other teams throughout the area including the Taylor A.C.’s and Kent Panthers.

In 2000 the 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars Team was inducted into Chatham’s Sports Hall of Fame‘s team category. Click here to learn more.

In 2018 the Chatham Coloured All-Stars were inducted into Baseball Ontario Hall of Fame as a team. Click here to learn more.

In 2022 the Chatham Coloured All-Stars received the Order of Sport when they were inducted in to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In a newly introduced category, “Trailblazers” the team received the highest sporting honour in our nation. Click here to learn more.

What can you do to help further the recognition of the Chatham Coloured All-Stars?

1. Help us get the team inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
– in 2017 the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame with support of family members and community groups nominated the Chatham Coloured All-Stars for induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
– the team has been on the ballot and will remain on the ballot for up to 9 years
– family members, community members, baseball and history enthusiast have continued to encourage the induction throughout the years of the team in the hall through: letters, petitions, social media movements, videos, declarations and projects
– the push continues to encourage the induction of this beyond deserving group of men and you can take any of the above steps mentioned to help the team’s induction

2. Nominate the Chatham Coloured All-Stars for a Canada Postage Stamp
– started in 2019 by our museums Executive Director-Curator the encouragement of submitting nominations for the team to be on a Canada Post Stamp began
– find out about the nomination process for a Canada Post Stamp, where to send your nomination and potential prompts for your letter in the downloadable file below

3. Wear your Chatham Coloured All-Star merchandise proudly. You can find it in the museum gift shop here.

4. … and don’t forget to continue to share their story, any chance you get!

Be sure to also check out the other menu options on the Chatham Coloured All-Stars including: The Field of Honour Charity Baseball Game, Breaking the Colour Barrier Digital Database and Chatham Plays On Project.