Black History-UW Athletics
African-American Badger Pioneers
African-American Pioneers by Sport 1900-1970
Articles on UW Aftrican-American Athletic History
Documents on Aftrican-American UW Athletic History
UW Athletes Record Historic Moments
UW Black History Bios
UW's Black History Photo Gallery
Big Ten Black History Celebration
Celebrating Black History
Baseball was the first inter-collegiate sport at the University of Wisconsin. It was also the first varsity sport to field African-American players. Julian V. Ware and Adelbert R. Matthews became the University of Wisconsin's first black athletes when they suited up for the Badger baseball team in the spring of 1900. Matthews played for two more seasons, and Ware was on the team until 1903. They helped Wisconsin win its first Big Ten baseball title in 1902. Ware made Big Ten history that year when his teammates selected him to be the team captain. He was the first black man in the Big Ten to be so honored.
After Julian Ware's last season on the team in 1903, no African-Americans played baseball at Wisconsin until infielder Frank Burks made the varsity in 1960. After Burks, black players appeared regularly on the team.