AUSTIN, Texas - The Round Rock Express is set to pay homage to the Austin Black Senators, one of the earliest professional baseball teams to call Central Texas home, on Saturday, July 31 at 6:05 p.m. as the Oklahoma City Dodgers, a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate, visit Dell Diamond.
The Austin Black Senators were a Texas Negro League baseball team based in Austin mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. Although very little was recorded or captured by local media at the time, the club was reported to have rostered and competed against some of the most exceptional talents to ever play the game.
One of the team’s brightest stars was native Austinite, Willie Wells. As an infielder, Wells became a legend in the Negro Leagues as well as in professional leagues across Canada, Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. During his time in Mexico, Wells became affectionately known as "El Diablo" because of his acrobatic play at shortstop.
He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1997.
Wells’ daughter Stella, who accepted his nomination into the National Baseball Hall of Fame prior to her passing, created the Willie Wells Memorial Scholarship at Huston-Tillotson University that the Nolan Ryan Foundation and Round Rock Express will re-establish for the 2022 academic school year.
Round Rock’s Austin Black Senators tribute caught the attention of local rapper, producer, and singer-songwriter Kydd Jones, who collaborated with the Express on a unique Austin Black Senators and Willie Wells line of merchandise that will be sold both online and at the Railyard Team Store at Dell Diamond.
A portion of proceeds from sales will benefit the Round Rock Black History Organization, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating the citizens of Round Rock and Williamson County about the contributions of African Americans to the culture of Central Texas and the United States.
Thanks to the Round Rock Black History Organization and Chisholm Properties, the Express will transform into the Black Senators on July 31. The team’s jerseys will be auctioned off during the game, with all proceeds benefiting the Willie Wells Memorial Scholarship endowed by the Nolan Ryan Foundation.
After the game, Jones will perform a live concert as part of the St. David’s Summer Concert Series, presented by Dell Technologies. Once all uniformed players and coaches clear the field, fans will be invited onto the outfield to enjoy the show up close.
In the days leading up to July 31, the Round Rock Express will also unveil a mural at Dell Diamond featuring Willie Wells and the Austin Black Senators. Tickets for Austin Black Senators Night at Dell Diamond are available here.