Hate strikes out: 95 years ago, Negro Leagues team defeated KKK squad in Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the smallest exhibits at Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum never fails to fascinate the museum’s president, Bob Kendrick.

“It falls into the category of, ‘You can’t make this up. It’s too good,'” Kendrick said.

This Sunday marks the 95th anniversary of what’s been described as the most famous baseball game most people have never heard of.

On June 21, 1925, the Wichita Monrovians played an exhibition game against Wichita Klan Number 6.

“It was a semi pro black baseball team called the Wichita Monrovians versus Ku Klux Klan Number 6 that took place at Island Park in 1925, with no incident,” Kendrick said.

Thankfully, violence never erupted during this surreal showdown, but organizers certainly took extra steps to ensure that was the case. An article promoting the game in the Wichita Beacon begins with this line:

“Strangle holds, razors, horsewhips and other violent implements of argument will be barred at the baseball game at Island Park this afternoon when the baseball club of Wichita Klan Number 6 goes up against the Wichita Monrovians, Wichita’s crack colored team.”

Other details in the same write-up are even more bizarre.

“The umpires have been instructed to rule any player out of the game who tries to bat with a cross,” the article said. 

The Klan’s influence was fading in Kansas at the time, and the exhibition was seen as an opportunity for the group to garner some positive publicity.

Playing in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees, the Monrovians outlasted the Klan, winning the game 10-8.

Kendrick said it’s a final score that still resonates today.

“By winning that game against the Ku Klux Klan, it was almost, I would say, this kind of victory for equality,” Kendrick said.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum reopened for the first time since the pandemic this week. Kendrick is excited about many new exhibits.

If you plan to visit, you are encouraged to wear a mask and book your reservation time online before arriving.

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