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Exhibition Baseball Americana

T. E. Townsend. The Cuban Giants Schottische. Sheet music. Brooklyn: Spalding & Kornder, 1888. Music Division, Library of Congress (051.01.00)

The Cuban Giants

In 1885, Frank Thompson, headwaiter at Long Island’s Argyle Hotel, organized the Cuban Giants—whose players were neither—using a few fellow waiters and players from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., teams. The first salaried black ball club in the United States, it was known for a high caliber of play, on-field antics, and taking on everyone, from college nines to white major league teams. Dr. T. E. Townsend composed this polka in honor of the team hailed as the “world colored champions.”