Keynote Speakers

Kevin Kane

Thursday Evening Dinner
Guest Artist

Kevin Kane

Kevin Kane has made the better part of his living as a songwriter, musician, and playwright. “Breaking the Line with the Mudville Nine” was written for and first performed at the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame, where he did a program with Frank DeFord, who read the original "Casey at the Bat" before introducing Kevin's performance.  Since then Kane has done readings of his poem at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, at the SABR annual conference in Philadelphia in 2016, and at many libraries and local venues in New Jersey and New York.  His play entitled A Love of the Game was first performed in 1995 at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, directed by Lloyd Richards.  Kane has had many plays produced in New York City and in regional theaters, performs often as a singer/songwriter, was a performance representative for August Wilson, taught theater at Wagner College on Staten Island for a number of years, and has received several significant grants for his writing, both fiction and nonfiction.  He is currently teaching music and performance art at a school in the South Bronx, just blocks from Yankee Stadium.


Dr. Lawrence Hogan

Thursday Evening Dinner
Guest Speaker

Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Hogan

Dr. Lawrence Hogan is professor emeritus of history from Union County College in New Jersey. Along with other books on Black culture and history, he is the author of The Forgotten History of African American Baseball. Hogan was executive producer and historian of the documentary, Before You Can Say Jackie Robinson: Black Baseball in America during the Era of the Color Line. His travel exhibit of the same title has been shown at sites across the country. Hogan served as a member of the committee which in 2006 elected 17 Black baseball figures to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


Emily Rutter

Friday Morning
Keynote Speaker

Emily Rutter

Emily Ruth Rutter is an Associate Professor of English and a Ball Brothers Honors College Faculty Fellow at Ball State University. She is the author of Invisible Ball of Dreams: Literary Representations of Baseball behind the Color Line (University Press of Mississippi, 2018) and The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press, 2018), as well as a co-editor of Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge, 2019). Her numerous essays have been published in African American Review, Aethlon, and MELUS, among other journals. Her book chapter on African American women poets appears in A Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century American Women’s Poetry, and a book chapter on Amiri Baraka and sports is forthcoming in Some Other Blues: New Perspectives on Amiri Baraka (Ohio State UP, 2021).


Pedro Sierra

Friday Afternoon

Guest Speaker

Pedro Sierra

Born in 1938 in Havana, Cuba, Pedro Sierra signed his first contract to play baseball with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League in 1954.  He was just 16 years old.  In 1955 Sierra joined the lineup of the Detroit Stars, for whom he pitched until 1959.  During the four years that he played for the Stars, Sierra was chosen to pitch in the East-West All-Star Game each year, attracting the notice of major league scouts and earning him a tryout with the Washington Senators in the spring of 1959.

Sierra was drafted into the U.S. Army that same year, and when his tour of duty ended in 1962 he signed with the Minnesota Twins. He played in the Twins’ organization from 1962 until 1966 before jumping to the Provinciale League in Canada, where he pitched from 1967 to 1969.  Sierra ended his playing career after a brief stint with the Washington Senators in 1970.

Since his playing days Sierra has been involved in various kinds of social work: assisting troubled youth and their families in delinquency prevention programs, helping Cuban refugees enter the United States during the 1980 Cuban Refugee Crisis, developing drug prevention programs for youth in Montgomery County, Maryland, and acting as a mediator to ease cross-cultural conflicts in the Montgomery County public school system.