Trailblazing, all-Black Ontario baseball team gets the video game treatment

How it happens6:36Ontario’s groundbreaking all-black baseball team gets the video game treatment

It’s all a bit surreal for Ferguson (Fergie) Jenkins Jr. to see his father faithfully recreated in the Major League Baseball video game MLB The Show ’22.

From their lively features to their quick movements, the champions of the 1934 Chatham Colored All-Stars, including Fergie Jenkins Sr., have been brought back to life and are ready to play ball.

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The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) has partnered with the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society and Major League Baseball (MLB) to replicate the team in-game.

The All-Stars became the first all-black team to win a provincial championship, breaking color barriers in sports.

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“People once disregarded them as good athletes, but then they proved themselves,” said Jenkins Jr., 79 How it happens Host Nil Koksal. “They really were a team to be reckoned with.”

Ferguson Holmes Jenkins, also known as Ferguson ‘Fergie’ Jenkins Sr., was an outfielder for the Chatham Colored All-Stars. (OLG)

Jenkins Jr. was a legendary professional baseball player himself. He was the first Canadian to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1991 and had the most wins of any black pitcher in MLB history.

But he says the legacy of Fergie Jenkins Sr. and the Chatham Colored All-Stars, after enduring taunts and attacks on the field, is now being honored after nearly 90 years.

“They ran into barns, they were boycotted by various groups of people, allegedly stoned and spat on, and they didn’t want them to play. You mentioned curfews, things like that. They wanted to protest games because all the players were players of color,” Jenkins Jr. recalled. “They were able to get through that situation and were strong enough to understand that they were going to stay together to win as an organization – as a team .”

“I think it was proven that they would win in the end. I’m pretty proud of that.”

Ferguson ‘Fergie’ Jenkins Jr. played in Major League Baseball from 1965 to 1983 for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. (Rex Arbogast/The Associated Press)

Everything needed to play as an All-Star – including its star players and the original team logo – was created with MLB The Show‘s in-game creation tools.

But it’s not quite as easy as selecting the Toronto Blue Jays or any other active MLB team in the standard menus.

A page on OLG’s website provides instructions on how players can download the logo and player profiles to build the team themselves.

The show Games are jointly published by MLB and Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by Sony’s San Diego Studio. Neither Sony nor San Diego Studio are quoted in the joint OLG-MLB press release. How it happens has asked both companies for comments.

While Jenkins Jr. has yet to log into the game with his newest characters, he’s excited to select other players to compete against the All-Stars.

“You have the opportunity to pick different players and then make a team out of them,” he said. “But if you don’t come out with the right players, a lot of times you won’t beat them because they had athletes who could play multiple positions as catchers, infielders and outfielders.”

Jenkins Sr. was a star team member who only played a midfield position. He died in 1996.

“My father would be amazed because [of] the fact that all the technology these days, these games, look so real,” laughed Jenkins Jr. “I can’t imagine my dad even thinking about things that would happen to electronics today.”

Hometown heroes

In its press release, the Higher Regional Court described the honoring of the champion team as a way to give back to Ontario.

“OLG is extremely proud to be part of this effort with our MLB partners to shine a spotlight on historical figures in our province who have broken down barriers and helped improve our communities,” said its President and CRO, Duncan Hannay.

The Provincial Society also gave $25,000 to the Chatham Kent Black Historical Society for their assistance in creating the characters.

“There’s a whole new generation of kids who are gamers, and they may not have been exposed to history in any other way, but now they’re being exposed to it in a whole new realm of play,” said Society Curator Samantha Meredith the Chatham Daily News.

The city of Chatham, Ontario has plans to pay tribute to the historic baseball team. Relatives and descendants of the All-Stars play in the second at Fergie Jenkins Field on Saturday Field of Honor charity baseball game.

“Everyone kind of salutes the hometown heroes for what they were,” Jenkins Jr. said.

“They were athletes and fathers and sons who played at Chatham and got to show their talent on a baseball field.”

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