Friday, August 03, 2012

Negro Leagues Baseball Players Coming To RPL

 Next Friday, August 10th at 4:30 p.m., former baseball players from the Negro Leagues will be at the Main Library to talk about their experience in the league and Civil Rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. Surviving members who will participate in an interview questionnaire are Henry Mason, Joe Durham, Mamie Johnson-Goodman, and Pedro Sierra. This program is “FREE” and is open to the public.

About The Negro Leagues

Negro League Baseball was established February 13, 1920 at a YMCA in Kansas City, Missouri. The person who was a key figure in getting the league established was Andre "Rube" Foster and he served as the president. There was close to 3,000 men and three women who played baseball for a Negro League team and fewer than 175 Negro Leagues members are still alive today.

 About the visiting players 

Born in Marshall, MO, in 1931, Henry “Pistol” Mason was offered a position on the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team at 19 years old. On opening day in 1952, Mason pitched sixteen innings to defeat the Philadelphia Stars. In 1955, Mason broke barriers by becoming the first African American to play for the Schenectady Blue Jays, a Philadelphia Phillies farm team. After two seasons, with records of 12-4 (1955) and 14-7 (1956), leading the league with seven shutouts and placing second in the league with 176 strikeouts, Mason joined the Phillies in 1958 and played until 1962. After retiring from baseball, Mason became a pastor in Kansas City. He moved to Richmond, VA, in 2001.

Joe “Pop” Durham, a native of Newport News, VA, began his professional baseball career as an outfielder in 1952 with the Chicago American Giants. The St. Louis Browns signed him in 1953. The following season, Durham reached the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, the second African American to play for that franchise. On September 12, 1954, he became the first African American to record a home run for the Orioles. In his major league career, Durham spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals, served as a scout for amateur free agents, and as the Orioles Community Coordinator. He became coach of an Orioles minor league team in 1990 and retired from coaching in 1996. He currently lives in Maryland and serves as an Orioles Baseball Club representative.

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson was born in 1935 in Ridgeway, SC. At 18 years old, she was recruited as a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns and reported to training camp in Portsmouth, VA. Johnson played professional baseball from 1953 to 1955 winning 33 games, losing eight, and having a batting average from .262 to .284. Johnson was one of only three women to play in the Negro Leagues. After her baseball career, Johnson worked as a nurse for thirty years. Prior to the 2008 MLB First Year Draft, Johnson and other living players from the Negro League were drafted by Major League franchises. Johnson was selected by the Washington Nationals, the team closest to her current residence of DC.

Born in Cuba in 1938, Pedro Sierra’s baseball career began in 1954 when, at 16 years old, he went to pitch for the Indianapolis Clowns. He played for the Clowns from 1954 to 1955, and then for the Detroit Stars from 1956 to 1958. After two-and-a-half-years in the U.S. Army, Sierra played with the Minnesota Twins (1962-1966). While in the Canadian Provincial League (1967-69), Sierra led that league in wins and shutouts and was named team MVP. In 1970 he played for Washington Senators farm teams and from 1971 to 1975 Sierra joined Mexican teams. After a distinguished 22-year baseball career, in 1976 Sierra began working for the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Recreation, a job he held for 25 years. Sierra currently resides in Maryland.

We also have a wonderful display of books based on African American baseball players during that era. Come by the Main Library and check out some of these titles.

This program is presented by The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc. and the Urban League of Greater Richmond.

Information about the players is provided by The Center for African American Genealogical Research, Inc.


Knowlegde on a Mission said...

Mr. Samuel "Bay" Taylor, Sr.
Kansas City Monarch 1952-1954
Indianapolis Clowns 1954

Born January 27, 1929, Charleston, MS
Ht. 5'6" Wt. 195 Batted and Threw Right

Samuel T. Taylor is a black living legend of The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. He was inducted August 11-13, 1999. The banquet was entitled, "For the Love of the Game: Reunion-Recognition-Celebration of the Negro League Players. The sponsors were Edward W. Stack (Pres. of the Nat'l Baseball Hall of Fame and Muser, INC.), Francis T. Vincent, Jr. (Commissioner with Major League Baseball), Walter W. Sessoms (Senior Vice President with SBT- Regulatory and External Affairs), Hank Aaron, Joe Black, Pamela Pryor Fuller, Joe Garagiola, Bill Builfoile, Rich Levin, Hon. John Lewis, Hon. Zell Miller and Delores Gallego with Delta Air Lines. Few people had heard of Samuel T. Taylor, Sr. before he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame.

In His Own Words

"I started my career in baseball as a back catcher with the East St. Louis White Sox under the management of Marion Stallings". "I was scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1951 and would have been signed to a contract, but because I was a black man, the players refused to let me dress out and take practice." "The players would not enter onto the field." "Also, the Milwauke Braves promised me a contract until I asked for a bonus." Black players did not get bonuses." "So, I was denied." "I played in the Negro League with such teams as The Kansas City Monarchs (1952, 1953, and1954) and The Indianapolis Clowns in 1954." "I played with The East St. Louis teams such as the Sixth Street Stars, Giants, Colts, Midgets and The Metropolitan All Stars." " I also played with the Brooklyn Robins and the St. Louis Rams." "When I played on the East St. Louis teams each year, I was voted as the MVP of The All Star Classic."

"I had the privilege of playing with players that went on to the Major League." "Those players were Ted Savage, Hank Aaron, Erine Banks, Marshall Bridgetts and Franceco Herrea." "I met and made acquaintance with Satchel, Paige, Oscar Charleston, Hank Thomas and Lou Brock." "I also played with the first lady to play professional baseball, Mrs. Tony Stone." "She was a black lady." "The main player of all was Mr. John (Buck) O'Neal, the manager of the Kansas City Monarchs." "Before his death on October 6, 2006, he was the Chairman of The Negro League Museum in Kansas City, MO."

"I traveled and played in the Eastern and Mid-American States." "My most memorable game was played in Clinton, Iowa." "During that game I was playing center field and was running to catch a hard hit ball that seem to be going out of the park." "As I ran to catch this ball, I tripped over what I thought was a large stick or a baseball bat." "However, I got up and continued chasing the ball." " Later, when checking to see what I stumbled over, I was amazed to see it was a large snake (8 inches in circumference and 7 ft long)." "I was lucky and thankful that I was not bitten. Law officers were called and two huge snakes were found on the field." "I definitely learn to look before I leap."

"In recent times since my retirement, I have had the privilege to meet with Major League players like Lee Smith, Ozzie Smith, Craig Wilson, Ray Langford, Bryant Jordan and Tom Perrinozzi." In 1992, I threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game, I signed autographs during the 2009 All-Star Baseball Weekend and most recently at the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals Care Warm Up Weekend."

"My desire is for all young people to be thankful to the people that suffered to make it possible for them to be able to make their own decisions on what they choose as their careers. You can make a difference."

RPL Librarian said...

Thank you for sharing this information.