In the presence of Giants

Author: Carrie Gates

Decades before Jackie Robinson became the first Black man to play in the major leagues, the Foundry Giants—a team of Black players working in the Studebaker factory’s foundry—were making a name for themselves as one of the strongest independent baseball teams in the Midwest.

The South Bend team played in Studebaker’s otherwise all-white industrial league in the 1920s and 1930s and saw about a half dozen of its players go on to play in the Negro Leagues.

Now, nearly a century after John “Big Pitch” Williams faced down his last batter and Dusty Riddle and Alonzo Poindexter cracked their last singles and doubles, the Giants are inspiring a new generation of ballplayers at Foundry Field.

Scheduled to open this summer, Foundry Field is a new public-access baseball field in Southeast Park and a collaborative community project led by the Sappy Moffitt Field Foundation, the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center, and South Bend Venues Parks and Arts.

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Originally published by Carrie Gates at on February 14, 2024.