South Texas Negro League baseball featured local talent who created legacy on East Side

Original players revisit Pittman-Sullivan field where games were originally played in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the start of National League Baseball, which began in 1920.

In 1949, nearly two decades after that sports milestone, the South Texas Negro League was created and much of the talent played on teams in San Antonio at Pittman-Sullivan Park.

KSAT-TV EXTRA: Extended interviews with the players featured in the story above

For Nelson Swain, being back at Pittman-Sullivan Park on Iowa Street makes him nostalgic. It’s the exact field where Swain played the position of third baseman for the South Texas Negro League team, known as the San Antonio Yankees, starting back in 1964.

“We didn’t have the beautiful grass and the smooth surfaces to play on and everything,” Swain said.

But between using the field for practice and games, the rough terrain gave Swain and his Yankees teammate Rufus Miller the toughness they needed to persevere, and play against white teams that had better resources.

“I was an all-star… I was from the West Side and it gave us another insight as far as we got to travel to the East Side every Tuesday and Thursday for practice,” Miller said.