By Meg Haskell
The event targeted the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the magazine Sports Illustrated, and the Cleveland Indians baseball team for failing to appropriately recognize the two athletes.
Louis Sockalexis played for the Cleveland Spiders—later renamed the Cleveland Indians—from 1897 to 1899. He is often cited as the first American Indian to play in the major leagues, breaking the color barrier 50 years before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was born on Indian Island in 1871 and died in 1913.
Long-distance runner Andrew Sockalexis finished in second place during the 1912 and 1913 Boston Marathons and in fourth place at the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden. He was born on Indian Island in 1891 and died in 1919.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Rep. Wayne Mitchell, who represents the Penobscot Nation in the Maine Legislature, charged that Louis and Andrew Sockalexis have been “continuously and blatantly overlooked for their achievements”—the impetus for his sponsorship of two legislative resolves in their honor, which were approved during the last legislative session.
Below: "James Neptune makes a tobacco offering at the tombstone of Louis Sockalexis on Indian Island on Tuesday before a press conference. Neptune explained that the tobacco 'goes to where he is. Probably no one has given him [Sockalexis] tobacco in a while.' Last month the Maine Legislature passed two resolutions calling on the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Indians and Sports Illustrated to respect and honor the athletic achievements of Louis Sockalexis and his cousin Andrew Sockalexis." (Bangor Daily News photo by Kevin Bennett)