Pioneering Black Baseball Team From 1934 Is Now Playable in MLB The Show
The 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars, a pioneering amateur baseball club from Canada, take a high-tech turn at bat as the latest playable squad added to Sony's popular video game MLB The Show 22.
Eighty-eight years ago, the All-Stars became the first Black team to win an Ontario Baseball Association championship. Now, their legacy steps back to the plate thanks to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), Major League Baseball, creative agency the Hive and the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society.
The Hive created 13 detailed player avatars based on historical records, allowing the '34 lineup—led by outfielder Ferguson Jenkins Sr., father of MLB Hall of Fame hurler Fergie Jenkins—to compete against modern and vintage versions of juggernauts like the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.
This four-minute film, directed by LeSean Harris, provides a roadmap to that digital field of dreams:
"The team had been in the news in recent years, largely around their unsuccessful attempts to get inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame," Hive CCO Simon Creet tells Muse. "In the town of Chatham, everybody knows the story of the Coloured All-Stars, but their impressive accomplishments are largely unknown in the rest of Ontario. We could think of no better way to leverage OLG's partnership with MLB than to help the story of this team spread wide and live on."
With that mission in mind, the agency scoured physical and online sources for photos, statistics and artifacts that would help them create avatars. Once enough data was gathered about how the All-Stars swung their bats, fielded and ran the bases, the Hive designed digitized personnel that gamers can download, customize and play in Franchise mode.
"We wanted to keep this team's memory alive in a fresh new way that people haven't seen before, even those who were closest to the team and remember them well," says agency ACD Mike Albrecht. "We felt the weight of how important this team is to the community and their family members. It added an extra layer of focus to make sure we were doing it right. It felt like there was a lot at stake. We wanted to make sure we told a historic story in the right way."
He adds: "The first time we saw the 1934 Chatham Coloured All-Stars running onto the field in MLB The Show 22, we all got chills."
On Sept. 24, descendants of the All-Stars played a charity game at Chatham's Fergie Jenkins Field, and OLG donated $25,000 to support the Historical Society.
Last month, Amazon's Prime Video rekindled interest in women's baseball from the 1940s—and made a statement of empowerment on behalf of all female athletes—through a multifaceted promotion touting its series A League of Their Own.
Title: Chatham Plays On
Director, Marketing Communications: Yvonne Leung
Manager, Marketing Communications: Kate Perkins-McVey
Director, Enterprise Brand Experience and Marketing: Greg Dermer
Director Enterprise Media & Commercial Sponsorship: Lou Pagnotta
Manager, Enterprise Brand Experience and Marketing: Atefeh Zare
Manager, Commercial Sponsorships and Media: Andreia Goncalves
Director, Social Media: Lisa Bassett
Manager, Social Media: Klaudia Las
Director, Media Relations: Tony Bitonti
Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Tyjondah Kerr
VP, Communications: Jenna LeBlanc
VP, Brand and Marketing Officer: Maxine Chapman
Partner Client: MLB
Senior Manager, International Partnership Activation: Andres Zapatas
Director, International Corporate Partnerships: Khalid Basyuni
Senior Coordinator, Partnership Activation • Sponsorship: Tyler Hart
Creative Agency: The Hive
Chief Creative Officer: Simon Creet
Chief Strategy Officer: Dustin Rideout
VP Client Services: Shawna Hayman
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter: Mike Albrecht
Associate Creative Director / Art Director: Ryan Speziale
Account Director: Lauren Smith
Project Director: Tracy Chang
Production Company: Fela
Director: LeSean Harris
Director of Photography: Shady Hanna
Producer: Jeff So
Executive Producer / Founder: Taj Critchlow
Executive Producer: Fuliane Petikyan
Chief Operating Officer: Dean Rosen
Head of Production: Amir Karimi
Integrated Producer: Mikayla Fasullo
Executive Producer: Roma Ahi
Producer: Sam Hall
Play Tester: Michael Narimalla
Editorial: Married to Giants
Offline & Online Editor: Nick Yumul
Assistant: Parnika Raj
Producer: Airees Angellakis
Colourist: Clinton Homuth
Assistant: Austin Tang
Creative Director: Harry Knazan
Creative Director: Daenen Bramberger
Producer: Kristine Lippett
VFX: Daniel Pianezza
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