Essie’s is an elegant yet casual dining American restaurant located in the heart of the Little Italy section of Poughkeepsie, NY under the direction of Executive Chef Brandon Walker a CIA graduate from Brooklyn, New York. Chef Walker's Modern American menu is inspired by global flavors and his family roots from the Caribbean and American South. Chef Walker uses modern cooking techniques and local seasonal ingredients when available to support the local food economy and to show case the best ingredients that the Hudson Valley offers. The Dining room pays homage to the things of old with vintage, industrial, and reclaimed wood features to create a cozy, warm and inviting environment.
In 2022, Minor League Baseball announced the launch of “The Nine,” a Black-community focused outreach platform specifically designed to honor and celebrate the historic impact numerous Black baseball pioneers made on the sport, provide new opportunities for youth baseball and softball participation, further diversify the business of baseball, and embrace millions of passionate fans throughout MiLB’s 120 communities nationwide.
Named for the number Jackie Robinson wore during his only season playing in MiLB with the Triple-A Montreal Royals in 1946, The Nine will connect MiLB teams’ existing, Black-community focused development efforts with new national programming and future special events in a coordinated and centralized campaign.
The Nine recognizes and honors numerous Black pioneers and trailblazing civil rights leaders in all 120 MiLB communities, ensuring the heroes of the past and their contributions continue to be celebrated through ceremonies and events at MiLB ballparks and in the community.
In addition to player- and team-related content, The Nine will focus heavily on creating new opportunities for youth participation among young Black boys and girls, particularly in communities where youth baseball and softball programming is either nonexistent or difficult to access.
Throughout the month of February, the Renegades plan to highlight Black-owned businesses and community organizations throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley in a bi-weekly feature on social media and on this page. The team is also providing these organizations with tickets for use during the 2023 season.
Additionally, a series of articles will be published by the Renegades, telling the stories of Black baseball pioneers with ties to New York baseball and the Hudson Valley in general.
Those who saw Frank Grant play knew he was one of the finest ballplayers of baseball’s formative years during the 19th century. He was quick and agile defensively, and was a strong hitter. He played for white professional teams across the state of New York before the color line was firmly entrenched in the 1880s, and continued playing for all-black teams into the early 20th century. Grant was one of only five known Black players to suit up in for White minor league teams in the era before Jackie Robinson broke into the minors with Montreal in 1946.
Cited by Cool Papa Bell as one of the four best pitchers in the history of the Negro Leagues, Bill Holland was the ace of the New York Black Yankees. Beyond that, his place in history as the first black pitcher to pitch at Yankee Stadium gives him an important place in baseball history.
Elston Howard was the first African-American player on the New York Yankees, and represented the pinstripes with grace and class throughout his playing and coaching career.
New York state native John "Bud" Fowler was the first African-American professional baseball player, with an amazing career spanning over 30 years.