Chatham Coloured All-Stars

This photo shows the famous baseball player Earl 'Flat' Chase outside his home in Chatham. An all-Black group of men began playing baseball together in 1932 at Stirling Park in the east-side of Chatham and in later years had players even join from Walpole Island First Nations.
In 1933, Archie Stirling, a Chatham business man in Chatham's east-side and local representative for the OBAA noticed the skills and talent of the team and helped get them into the city's baseball league where they played against the white teams of the city.

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The Chatham Coloured All-Stars rapidly gained popularity and the attention of local newspaper reports, who found the team to be highly skilled, dedicated and thrilling to watch. In 1934, during the All-Stars' second year in the league, they won the provincial championship in the Intermediate B Division. They played the Penetang Shipbuilders from Penetanguishene, Ontario in the final series and beat them 13 to 7 making them the first all-Black team to win an OBAA title.
The road to victory wasn't one that was easy for the team. After all this was the 1930s in Canada and segregation and racism was a part of the daily life of Canada's Black citizens. The men on this team regularly had to eat at out of the way spots, often being served food out the back door of restaurants and were regularly denied accommodations. Those in attendance at games were also known to hurl racial slurs at the team.
Throughout the years players, coaches and managers came and went but one thing was for sure the Chatham Coloured All-Stars were a team to watch for in the Ontario baseball scene.
The team continued to play together until 1939 when they had another chance at winning the OBAA Championship title but that final game was never played.
Earl 'Flat' Chase, one of the well-known players on the team, should have been playing in the major leagues but in the 1930s the league still had a colour barrier in place. One of his fellow teammates Don Tabron said that "every park we played in he had the record for the longest ball hit." Those parks included ball diamonds in Strathroy, Sarnia, Aylmer, Welland and Milton. Flat was also best known for his pitching abilities, ranging in speeds from 80-100 miles an hour – he not only pitched but he could also play in the infield and even catcher when needed.
Another well-known player on the team Wilfred "Boomer" Harding joined the Chatham Coloured All-Stars when he was still just a teenager, making him one of the youngest players on the team. But baseball wasn’t all he excelled at; Boomer was known for his hockey skills as well. He even had a tryout with the International Amateur Hockey League and earned a spot with the Windsor Staffords, a Detroit Red Wings farm team making him the first Black-player in that league. He even was the first Black-player to skate at the Red Wings arena at that time, the Olympia.