May 23, 2004

May 23, 2004

NLBPA Board Member Artie Wilson honored with first pitch on Negro League Tribute Night...
Source: The Oregonian

After watching 83-year-old Artie Wilson lace his trademark opposite-field line drives in batting practice, the Portland Beavers couldn't help but follow suit.

On Negro Leagues tribute night at PGE Park, the Beavers had 13 hits in an 8-6 victory over the Iowa Cubs.

A steady drizzle kept many fans away, despite a T-shirt giveaway. Each player wore a replica uniform of a Negro League team -- All-Star fashion, with different uniforms all over the field.

The 4,986 fans had plenty of time to admire the uniforms. It was the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Beavers -- 3 hours, 27 minutes -- thanks to the offense and the repeated use of the tongue depressor on the muddy pitcher's mound.

J.J. Furmaniak, wearing the red and cream of the New York Cubans, scored in his first three at-bats -- including a long home run that hit the Carl Buddig sign in left-center on Carl Buddig T-shirt giveaway night.

Xavier Nady, like manager Craig Colbert, was dressed in the home whites of the Homestead Grays. Nady went 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI.

Matt Bruback (1-5), wearing the famed uniform of the Kansas City Monarchs, won his first game in nine starts.

David Kelton, in a Cleveland Buckeyes uniform, drove in five runs for the Cubs.

And Wilson, wearing the colors of the Birmingham Black Barons, threw out the first pitch and coached first base.

Wilson is the last .400 hitter in major professional baseball. He hit .402 for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948 -- seven years after Ted Williams hit .406. He joined the Pacific Coast League in 1949, where he would win four batting titles, and played for the Beavers in 1955-56.