We partnered with our friends at Big Fly Gear to tell the story of Louis Sockalexis, hoping to capture the essence of an extremely talented and complicated man who broke barriers for the sport.
He was the first Native American to play in the National League, making his professional debut in 1897. You may or may not have heard his name, but his impact on the sport certainly remains.
To honor Sockalexis' legacy, we created this special edition set signed by owner Ian Kinsler to raise funds for Native American youth in sports. Profits from this collection will work to make quality equipment, facilities, instruction and education in stic sports more accessible to Native American youth by easing the financial burden associated with specialized select sports today.
Click HERE to shop the collection.
Only 24 available of his WSIK58 Signature Maple Bat signed by Ian Kinsler and featuring a custom engraved "Battle" Louis Sockalexis emblem, engraved Warstripes on the handle and a high gloss half dip barrel. Each bat purchase also includes our screen printed poster and shirt shown below.
The Big Fly Gear X Warstic Battle shirt can also be purchased individually. A portion of each sales goes to benefit native youth in sports.
This special edition Battle Poster is screen printed in black and a Warstic Metallic gold ink also benefits the fund.
THE STORY OF LOUIS SOCKALEXIS
Louis Sockalexis was about as complex an individual/baseball player as the game has ever seen. Born on the Penobscot reservation in Old Town, Maine in 1871, Sockalexis played in only 94 major league games, but will forever be remembered as the first Native American, and first recognized minority, to play in the National League.
A prime athlete growing up, Sockalexis participated in various sports, usually winning footraces and throwing competitions, but he always had a natural ability for baseball.
In 1894, Sockalexis was playing summer ball at a seaside resort in Maine with a fella named Mike Powers recruited him to play at Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
Sockalexis hit .436 his first season and followed that with.444 the next all while also playing running back for the school's first football team.
His skills and abilities on the diamond began to attract the attention of major league teams at the time. After a quick stint playing at Notre Dame, he was kicked out of the school for an alcohol related incident but was immediately signed with the Cleveland Spiders and reported to spring training.
On April 22, 1897, Sockalexis made his major league debut, and he excelled along the way. After twenty games, he was hitting .372 and becoming a sensation. The following season Sockalexis played in 66 games in 1897 and hit .338 with 3 home runs and 42 runs batted in.
However, his struggles off the field with alcohol ended up cutting his career prematurely short. However, his outsized talent and natural ability awed anyone who saw him play.
Sockalexis was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006 and has a plaque in his honor in Heritage Park, beyond centerfield at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Louis Francis Sockalexis passed away on December 24, 1913 at the young age of 42.
We honor his ground breaking legacy and hope to aid a new generation of athletes gain access to the sport.