I’m very sorry for not posting more about the Malloy conference as it happened, and for not writing since then. I was supposed to make a presentation at the conference Saturday on William Binga and his family tree in Detroit, but my disability/illness got the better of me and I was unable to give my talk. I was extremely disappointed and very badly affected by it all, so I needed a couple days to get back into the swing of things.
Aaaaaaannnnnd … now I’ve come down with a cold type of deal — sore throat, foggy head, achy — thanks to a freezing McDonald’s that must have had the AC stuck on the “meat locker” setting. Plus I’m working on a really long, challenging story in which I’m elbow-deep in St. Paul Colored Gophers.
So I’m not sure how much in-depth, research-based posting I’ll be able to do, but what I will be doing is posting a lot of links to other cool stuff I’m coming across. I’ll hopefully get back into the full swing of things this weekend.
For now, here’s a shot from the second players’ panel held Saturday at the Malloy conference in Detroit. The scheduled guest, Robert Paige (Satchel’s son) couldn’t make it because of family emergencies, but the organizers of the conference did a great job of improvising for the time slot.
They had Minnie Forbes, the last surviving female owner of a big-time Negro League team — she owned the Detroit Stars when her uncle, Ted Raspberry, had to divest his interest in the team for a season — herself moderated an impromptu second players’ panel with Pedro Sierra and Ernie Nimmons. Mr. Nimmons is a very quiet, unassuming man, while Mr. Sierra is quite the storyteller. It doesn’t take much to get him spinning fascinating tales about his playing days.
Probably the most interesting nugget that came out of the second panel was when an audience member asked if the players minded that their team, the Stars, was owned by a woman. Pedro quite matter-of-factly by humorously said that at the time (I think this was 1958, during the death throes of the Negro American League) the players didn’t even know Ms. Forbes was the owner. They thought she was just the secretary, because she was the one who signed and handed out their paychecks, and as long as they got paid, the players didn’t ask any questions.
Hey, Negro League baseball was a rough-and-tumble business, and by the late 1950s many teams were having trouble meeting payroll. So the Stars probably felt lucky that they more or less got paid on time. It also shows how good an owner and manager Mrs. Forbes was that she did a better job of running her team than many of her male peers ran theirs.
Plus, even at her age, Ms. Forbes is still a stone-cold fox. Beautiful woman. If I wasn’t involved, I might have asked her out. 🙂