Nikko, son of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, to Perform National Anthem at East-West Classic

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The Hall of Fame East-West Classic will celebrate the game’s unmatched history on May 25 at Doubleday Field.

Nikko Smith has already made history at Cooperstown’s iconic ballpark, making him a perfect choice to start the Memorial Day Weekend on-field festivities.

Smith, the award-winning singer/songwriter and son of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” prior to the Hall of Fame East-West Classic, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. It will be a return visit to Doubleday Field for Nikko Smith, who sang the national anthem at the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown on July 29, 2002 – the day after his father was inducted into the Hall of Fame. A Top 10 finalist on Season Four of American Idol, Nikko Smith is the lead singer of the band The Dirty Muggs.

Nikko Smith’s appearance will be part of a fun-filled day in Cooperstown that will include food and beverage options, music, giveaways, including a commemorative program magazine, and a special appearance by Chicago Cubs voice Jeremiah Paprocki, the team’s first Black public address announcer, who will serve as the guest PA announcer for the Hall of Fame East-West Classic. The first 5,000 fans entering Doubleday Field will also be treated to a free bag of Cracker Jack in honor of the Museum’s new “Cracker Jack at the Ballpark” exhibit.

A wide variety of food options will be available at the Hall of Fame East-West Classic, including World Series champion Mookie Wilson’s Legacy catering, which features barbeque, sausage and chicken and will be one of several choices available, along with local favorites Brewery Ommegang, Gilligan’s Ice Cream, Sarchioto’s Concessions and Ty’s Taco-ria.

The Hall of Fame East-West Classic: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues All-Star Game will feature Hall of Famers Harold BainesRollie FingersKen Griffey Jr.Fergie JenkinsJim KaatFred McGriffEddie MurrayJim RiceLee SmithOzzie Smith, Joe Torre and Dave Winfield as coaches.

Presented by Boeing and fueled by assistance from Major League Baseball, the East-West Classic rosters will consist of more than two dozen former big leaguers, including team captains CC Sabathia and Chris Young along with players Josh BarfieldTim BeckhamJosé ContrerasIan DesmondPrince FielderDexter FowlerDoug GlanvilleCurtis GrandersonTony Gwynn Jr.Jerry HairstonScott HairstonLaTroy HawkinsRyan HowardEdwin JacksonJeremy JeffressAdam JonesMatt KempRussell MartinDarrell MillerMelvin MoraDavid PriceTyson RossTony SippDee Strange-GordonB.J. Upton and Justin Upton.

Little League World Series hero Mo’ne Davis will also play in the East-West Classic, and two-time All-Star Harold Reynolds of MLB Network will join Mookie Wilson as honorary team members. Former Negro Leagues stars Sam Allen and Pedro Sierra will also attend the Hall of Fame East-West Classic.

The game will be part of a weekend celebration of Black baseball history as the Museum opens its new exhibit, The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball. The weekend will also include a special unveiling of a Hank Aaron statue at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The bronze representation of Aaron will be installed on the first floor of the Museum.

In celebration of Black baseball, the Hall of Fame East-West Classic and the opening of The Souls of the Game exhibit, Museum admission will be FREE on Saturday, May 25, courtesy of The Players Alliance. As part of the fan experience at the Hall of Fame East-West Classic, The Players Alliance will bring their Level Up Lab to the concourse outside the front gates of Doubleday Field. The Level Up Lab is a retail-style pop-up experience offering one on one tips from current and former pro players ensuring access and engagement of urban and rural players. Players learn proper sizing for bats, gloves and more.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame East-West Classic are on sale now at or at 1-888-325-0470 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has teamed up with Sports Travel and Tours to offer baseball fans a one-stop opportunity to purchase Classic Weekend travel packages. For more information or to plan a trip to Cooperstown, please call 1-888-310-HALL (4255). Membership participants receive a 5% discount on all their baseball travel packages.

Located on the Museum’s second floor in the Yawkey Gallery, The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball will cover stories of early Black baseball, the Negro Leagues era, the complexities of reintegration, Jackie Robinson, post-reintegration progress and retrogress, and calls for change in today’s game while celebrating the newest superstars of the era. Meaningful stories from Black baseball are also being added to other exhibits throughout the Museum.

The exhibit is part of the Hall of Fame’s Black Baseball Initiative that includes additional outreach programs, educational materials and virtual programming and is made possible by the Yawkey Foundation with additional support from Bill Janetschek in honor of his siblings Robert and Ann, the Anthony A. Yoseloff Foundation and the Bisignano Family.

The Souls of the Game, a title that pays tribute to W.E.B. Du Bois’s seminal 1903 book “The Souls of Black Folk”, will explore the Black baseball experience of those men, women and children who were and are an integral part of our National Pastime.

Subtitled “Voices of Black Baseball”, the exhibit will highlight first-person accounts by the many individuals whose experiences shaped them, their community, baseball and America at large. Featuring historically significant artifacts, documents and photographs, and utilizing audio, video, and interactive elements, the exhibit will tell a more inclusive story of baseball, shine a light on and correct misconceptions about Black baseball.

Click here for more information about the Museum's Black Baseball Initiative.