Hudson Valley Renegades Celebrate Black History Month

WAPPINGERS FALLS – In celebration of Black History Month, the Hudson Valley Renegades, the High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, have announced two month-long initiatives to highlight and celebrate local organizations and black baseball pioneers.

The initiatives are part of the Renegades’ participation in Minor League Baseball’s “The Nine” initiative. Launched in 2022, The Nine is a Black-community focused outreach platform specifically designed to honor and celebrate the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport, provide new opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation, further diversify the business of baseball, and embrace millions of passionate fans throughout MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide.

Throughout the month of February, the Renegades plan to highlight Black-owned businesses and community organizations throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley in a bi-weekly feature on social media and on a dedicated page on the team’s website, The team is also providing these organizations with tickets for use during the 2023 season.

Additionally, a series of articles will be published by the Renegades, telling the stories of Black baseball pioneers with ties to New York baseball and the Hudson Valley in general.
“Our goal is to serve and have a positive impact on our entire community, and we are excited to be kicking off these initiatives to tell the stories of those doing great work in our local community and in the baseball world,” said Marcella Costello, Manager of Community Relations for the Renegades.

See below for a list of organizations and players slated to be a part of the Renegades’ Black History Month Celebration, with both lists subject to expand.

Organizations Highlighted:
– Essie’s Restaurant – Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
* Rated as one of the top restaurants in the Hudson Valley, Essie’s features a Modern American menu inspired by global flavors and Executive Chef Brandon Walker’s family roots from the Caribbean and American South.
– Beacon Fade & Shave – Beacon, N.Y.
* One of the top-rated barber shops in the Hudson Valley, Beacon Fade & Shave is located right in the heart of Main Street in Beacon.
– Black Excellence Community – Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
* A grassroots organization aiming to unify, celebrate, and enrich people of color and foster a positive renewal of the City of Poughkeepsie’s image.
Black Baseball Pioneers:
– Frank Grant
* Considered the best black player of the 19th century, Grant played for several New York-based barnstorming teams and white minor league teams.
– Bill Holland
* Named as one of the greatest pitchers in Negro League history, Holland was a prolific pitcher for the New York Black Yankees.
– Elston Howard
* The first black New York Yankees player and first black coach in American League history. Credited with inventing the batting donut and other baseball innovations.
– Bud Fowler
* Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the first-known black professional baseball player. A New York native, Fowler played 10 seasons in Organized White Baseball leagues, a record for a Black player until broken by Jackie Robinson in his final season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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