Just a quick post or two today. I hope to have something bigger tomorrow.
In this one, I want to congratulate Herb Simpson, a lifelong New Orleans resident (in the Algiers neighborhood, to be precise) and former Negro League player who, this past weekend, became, as far as I can tell, the first pre-integration African-American figure inducted into the New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
Here are a couple shots of Mr. Simpson, “then and now”:
The NOPBHOF is sponsored by the New Orleans Zephyrs, the local Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. For years, the institution had committed a grave injustice by overlooking Negro Leaguers like Herb. Hopefully more will follow, especially Dave Malarcher, Oliver Marcell, Allen Page, Wesley Barrow, Peanuts Davis, etc. …
I’ve spoken with Mr. Simpson several times, and aside from being a bit hard of hearing, he’s a great interviewee and great person. Last year, the 93-year-old (!!!!) was honored by the Seattle Mariners as the last known surviving player from the Seattle Steelheads, a member of the short-lived West Coast Negro Baseball League in 1946. He got to meet Ken Griffey Jr., who was being inducted into the Mariners’ hall of fame on the same night. Here is a Mariners press release from that night. In addition, here is a post by Mariners club blogger Lorrie Ericson.
I also interviewed Mr. Simpson for an article last year in Seattle Magazine.