Knights Honor and Celebrate Negro League Living Legends

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Charlotte Knights held it’s annual celebration of the accomplishments and achievements of the Negro Leagues baseball players at Truist field on Friday night.

The event is an opportunity for fans to learn about the important role the Negro Leagues played in American history and meet some living legends.

“The team I played for was the Joe Black National League All stars,” explained Wali Cathcart, a former Negro League player.

A lot has changed since Cathcart jogged out onto the diamond.

“I’m happy I got a chance to play, with that it made me do my homework with the Negro League and its a rich history of great ball players,” said Cathcart.

Cathcart is a Rock Hill native. He moved to the Northeast in the early 1950’s to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. He was picked up by several Negro League teams. And remembers all the good times.

“Those were great teams and there were many many players that could have easily made it to the Major Leagues,” said Cathcart.

The Knights honored the lives, accomplishments and legacies, of several former Negro League players, on Jackie Robinson Day. The tribute also serves as an educational tool for fans of the game.

“It means so much because they were the reason that so many kids now can play baseball. You know, they opened the door,” explained Mary LeGrande.

She’s the wife of Larry LeGrande, a former Satchel Paige All Stars player.

She watcher her husband work his way to the top of the Negro Leagues. He was the leading home run hitter in Florida during his peak. LeGrande was later signed, and ultimately let go by the New York Yankees.

“Then they decided or at that time, we don’t want no more Negroes in the league, so they let him go,” explained LeGrande.

LeGrande says even through these difficult times, she never lost her love of baseball. She says it’s important to keep this part of history alive. So that people can see how far baseball has come and what more need to be done.

“To know that you had a hand in seeing to it that kids of all color can play now. It makes you feel good,” said LeGrande.