Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of John W. Jackson, also known as “Bud” Fowler — the first black professional baseball player ever.
Fowler played for a time with the Stillwater Club in the Northwestern League in 1884 and led the Stillwater Club — one of the worst in the league —in pitching, batting and stolen bases, Brent Peterson, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society said. At that time, local newspapers called Fowler “Stillwater’s Colored Bonanza.”
The anniversary of Fowler’s death is Feb. 26.
“He was the first black professional baseball player ever back in the 1870s,” Peterson said. “He travelled around the country wherever he could play that white teams would accept him.”
Fowler gained his national coming out when he joined the Stillwater team, Peterson said; unfortunately, he never made it to the major leagues where six other players from that team did.
A native of Cooperstown, N.Y., Fowler became the first professional black baseball player when he played in Massachusetts in 1870.
The Stillwater City Council and the Washington County Board of Commissioners both named Tuesday, Feb. 26 “Bud” Fowler Day to commemorate his pioneer spirit and determination.
The city of Stillwater will send the proclamation to the mayor of Cooperstown, N.Y., where the entrance of Doubleday Field will be named Fowler Way on April 20.