New York Cuban Giants
Induction Year: 2019
The Cuban Giants were the first African-American professional baseball club.
They are the first “Historic Recognition” inductee of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. Their induction plaque was presented to the Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino and Babylon Village Historian Jackie Marsden by Executive Director Chris R. Vaccaro on June 7, 2019 at the exact location where the Cuban Giants played more than 130 years ago.
The team was originally formed in 1885 at the Argyle Hotel, a summer resort in Babylon. The team was so skilled in the game, and achieved victory over so many of the nearby amateur “white” teams that they attracted the attention of a promoter, Walter Cook. To appeal to a broader audience, Cook styled them the “Cuban Giants”, although there were rarely (if ever) any Cubans on the Cuban Giants. The team remained one of the premier Negro league teams for nearly 20 years.
The team went on to become the “world colored champions” of 1887 and 1888, and spawned imitators.
Though there were no actual Cuban men on the Cuban Giants, the team had played in Cuba in the fall or winter of 1885–1886 and again in the winter of 1886–1887.
In 1896 ownership issues would lead to a new offshoot team being created, calling themselves “Cuban X-Giants”. The older owner’s team was then referred to as Genuine Cuban Giants or Original Cuban Giants.