• All Wichita Public Library locations will be closed Sunday, July 4 and Monday, July 5.
  • COVID-19 update: All locations are offering in-building grab and go services. Read more...

Wichita's Diverse History of Baseball

In celebration of baseball's return to Wichita, the Wichita Public Library is partnering with Humanities Kansas, The Kansas African American Museum, Urban Professionals and other organizations to present "Wichita’s Diverse History of Baseball," a Candid Conversations series that explores Wichita’s storied history of minority baseball, from the Negro Leagues to the Mexican American teams.

A Brief History

On Sunday, June 21, 1925, a baseball game was played at the ballpark on Ackerman Island in Wichita, Kansas that did not receive much news coverage. The Ku Klux Klan played an exhibition game against the all-black Monrovians. This was three decades before Brown v. Board of Education, and nearly two decades before the color barrier was broken in Major League Baseball. According to the Wichita Beacon, "Strangle holds, rasors [sic], horsewhips, and other violent implements of argument" were barred, and the "rooting was enthusiastic." The game drew a large crowd at Island Park, and there was no violence or any other problems at the game.

This momentous game is the basis for the "Wichita's Diverse History of Baseball" Candid Conversations series this summer.

Learn more about the diverse history of baseball in Wichita and America by exploring the following links:

Upcoming Library Events

View All Events

Search Events

More Baseball

Time at Bat: Negro Baseball in Wichita
June 1-July 3; The Kansas African American Museum (exhibition)
"Time at Bat" is a free exhibition that chronicles the sportsmanship, trials and triumphs of Negro Baseball players in Wichita from the late 1800s to the 1950s. The exhibition will travel to different locations throughout the summer.
Jim Crow Strikes Out! An Exhibition Game
Sunday, July 11; 6 p.m.; McAdams Park Robert Thurman Field
Organized by the Urban Professionals, this softball game will celebrate Wichita's history of baseball and the longstanding impact of the McAdams urban park.

Baseball in Wichita Public Library Archives

  • Aerial view of the Wichita Western League Baseball Park on Ackerman Island, date unknown.
  • The Western League Association ballpark on Ackerman Island, 1925.
  • Two articles from the Wichita Beacon in 1925. The article on the left announces the game between the Wichita Monrovians and the Ku Klux Klan, while the article on the right summarizes the game.
  • Lawrence Stadium under construction, circa 1934.
  • Lawrence Stadium scoreboard, September 15, 1937.
  • Aerial view of Lawrence Stadium, date unknown.
  • A view from the grandstands of baseball in play at Lawrence Stadium, 1942.
  • A view showing Lawrence Stadium's playing area, scoreboard, bleachers, and light poles, summer 1946.
  • A close-up view of children sitting in the bleachers during a night game at Lawrence Stadium, September 1948.
  • Night picture of Lawrence Stadium during game, looking toward home plate along the first base line, August 24, 1952.
  • A view from behind home plate of a baseball team practicing at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, late 1950s.
© Wichita Public Library. All rights reserved.