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Hall of Famers

Hall of Famer

Chatham Coloured All-Stars

Inducted in 2022

Member Details

Sport: Baseball
Member Category: Trailblazer

Career Highlights

First Black team to win an Ontario Baseball Amateur Association championship
Inducted into the Chatham Sports Hall of Fame
Inducted into the Baseball Ontario Hall of Fame
Hall of Famer Chatham Coloured All-Stars


More than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars were barnstorming their way through southern Ontario and challenging discriminatory perceptions of what black athletes could accomplish in white-dominated leagues. Formed in 1932, by a group of friends who gathered to play baseball in the east end of Chatham, Ontario, the team spent several years staging exhibition games to showcase their skills before catching the attention of Archie Stirling, a local business owner and representative for the Ontario Baseball Amateur Association (OBAA). Stirling brought the All-Stars into the Chatham City League to compete against white teams and they quickly became a local sports sensation, acquiring a dedicated fan base and drawing in-depth coverage from newspaper reporters. In 1934 the Chatham Coloured All-Stars won the City Championship after losing only one regular season game and proceeded to make history as the first black team to win a provincial baseball championship in Ontario, defeating Penetanguishene to claim the OBAA Intermediate B division title.

Despite their championship calibre, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars regularly faced discrimination on and off the field, playing through racial taunts and threats of violence, injuries deliberately perpetrated by opposing teams, and questionable officiating calls. They also encountered difficulties travelling to games at a time when Black people were often barred from restaurants and hotels in southern Ontario, and financial resources were much more difficult for coloured athletes to secure than their white counterparts. Undeterred, the team gave rise to many star players including first baseman Wilfred “Boomer” Harding and his brothers Andy and Len, pitcher Earl “Flat” Chase who set home run records across southern Ontario, right fielder Cliff Olby and centre-fielder Ferguson Jenkins Sr., as well as Indigenous pitcher Willie Shaugnosh, who joined the team in 1935. That year the All-Stars also reclaimed the City Championship title as well as the Western Counties Baseball Association Championship, and despite roster changes, managed to reach the OBAA Championship again in 1935 and 1939. The team disbanded during the Second World War when several members signed up for military service, including coach Lou Pryor, Wilfred “Boomer” Harding and his brother Andy.

Formed in a city that was once a stop on the famed Underground Railroad, the Chatham Coloured All-Stars showed tremendous courage, fortitude and dignity as they left their indelible mark on a sport that was often unkind to them. In 2002 the Toronto Blue Jays wore replica All-Stars jerseys in a moving tribute that featured the last two surviving team members, Sagasta Harding and Don Tabron, throwing a ceremonial first pitch. It was a potent reminder that the Chatham Coloured All-Stars had opened doors for generations of skilled athletes previously denied opportunities to play baseball because of the colour of their skin, leaving the game immeasurably enriched by all they had overcome.

Team Members: Wilfrid 'Boomer' Harding, Len Harding, Andy Harding, King Terrell, Clifford Olbey, Gouy Ladd, Ross Talbot, Don Tabron, Stanton Robbins, Hyle Robbins, Sagasta Harding, Earl 'Flat' Chase, Ferguson Jenkins Sr., Don Washington, Wellington 'Willie' Shaugnosh