Skip to content


Brantford's Black History

The Story of Jimmy Wilkes



James E. (Jimmy) Wilkes was a talented baseball player who made a significant impact on the Brantford Red Sox team and the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL). Born and raised in Philadelphia, he moved to Brantford in 1953 when he was scouted by the Red Sox due to his astonishing speed as an outfielder. He played with the Brantford Red Sox for ten years (1953-1963), leading them to 5 titles during this time. 


This decade was also the first time integration was introduced into the baseball leagues (think Jackie Robinson). Many Black athletes from the then-called "Negro Leagues" were signed to the IBL as a result. At this time, Black baseball players had to be better than their white counterparts in order to get similar opportunities. They in fact would have likely been talented enough for the MLB, but systemic oppression prevented this from happening until more recently.


Jimmy Wilkes also held a position with the City of Brantford for 30 years, and after his retirement from playing baseball, he worked as an umpire for the IBL for 23 years. 


To learn more about the racism Jimmy Wilkes faced during his career, visit this website:




Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Shopping Cart