We don't expect Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs fans to be particularly cordial to each other as they prep for Game 1 of the World Series, but tonight's first pitch will be a milestone we should all be celebrating.
Dexter Fowler, will be not only be the first African-American batter for the Chicago Cubs in World Series history, but the moment also marks him as the the first Black Cub player to play in a World Series ever.
In 1945 — the last time the Chicago Cubs competed in the World Series — we were still two years out from Jackie Robinson integrating the major leagues, as a Chicago sports writer first noted on Twitter.
Fowler, the Cubs center left fielder who's batting first, was apparently unaware of the significance of his role in tonight's game until Rany Jazayerli mentioned it, Slate reported.
Darya Aliya Fowler, his wife, later posted a touching note on Instagram below a photo of the couple with their 2-year-old daughter, Naya.
"On Tuesday, my husband should be standing at the plate, the first African American Chicago Cub to bat in baseball's World Series," Darya wrote. "My heart is full, and my throat holding back crying with humble gratefulness. God is allowing my husband to honor Him in such an incredible way."
"Thank you God, thank you @Cubs, thank you Chicago," she concluded.
According to Slate, Robinson and his teammate Dan Bankhead were the first black players to compete in the World Series in 1947.
The late Ernie Banks, the first black man to ever play for the Chicago Cubs, joined the team in 1953. He later set an all-time record for "the most games played in the majors without ever seeing the field in the postseason," Slate reported.
The first pitch to Fowler of Game 1 is set for 7:08 p.m. Central Time in Cleveland.