New Orleans Negro Leaguer feted by friends and fans

The Xavier University of Louisiana baseball team visited former Negro Leaguer Gerald Sazon for his birthday recently. (Photo courtesy Amy Sprout.)

Editor’s note: This post is an expansion of an article I previously wrote for The Louisiana Weekly. The original version ran in the newspaper’s May 16, 2022 edition.

The sounds of baseball are part of what makes America’s pastime so unique, and for those who love the game, the sounds become indelibly seared into one’s memories.

The crack of the bat on a home run. The roar of the crowd when a team scores in the bottom of the ninth inning. The guy walking up and down and through the stands, hawking hot dogs and popcorn and beer.

For Gerald Sazon of New Orleans, the auditory stimulus came when his fastball’s arrival at home plate.

“I used to love to hear that sound of the ball hitting the mitt – pow!” Sazon said.

And Sazon’s fastball, he’s proud to say, had enough zip to it to vex hitters and battery mates alike.

“I used to throw it so hard, you wouldn’t see it until it hit the catcher’s mitt,” Sazon said. “Catchers had to put extra rubber in their mitts” to protect their hands.

Although Sazon celebrated his 86th birthday recently, such memories linger clearly in his mind for the man who played in the segregated Negro Leagues in the 1940s and ’50s. As a member of local pro outfits like the New Orleans Black Pelicans and the New Orleans Creoles, as well as the national touring team, the famed Indianapolis Clowns, who in the 1950s launched the careers of players who made the jump from Black baseball to the Majors, particularly the legendary Henry Aaron.

On April 28, Sazon was feted with a 86th birthday party at St. Margaret’s at Mercy nursing home, where the ex-pitcher now lives in his golden years. Dozens of fellow residents joined St. Margaret’s staff, members of Sazon’s family, other loved ones and other baseball enthusiasts attended the party.

The bash included short talks by people who know Sazon, as well as a group rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Nursing home staff also presented Sazon with a baseball signed by the members of the Tulane University varsity team.

Prior to the event, the members of the Xavier University baseball team personally visited the ex-Negro Leaguer and gave Sazon a signed ball, bat and shirt, a gesture that carried extra significance because of Xavier’s status as an HBCU

“It was overwhelming,” Sazon later said of the party and the support he received. “They didn’t tell me that all those people would come.”

Amy Sprout, central intake coordinator for St. Margaret’s, helped organize the bash, the plans for which got rolling because the St. Margaret’s staff knew how important Sazon’s trips to Birmingham for a reunion with his fellow players at the Negro Southern League Museum

However, such a trip wasn’t possible this year, Sprout said, so “our team thought it would be a great idea to instead bring the celebration to him.” She added that the party exceeded everyone’s expectation, as was the overwhelmingly positive response from the community.

Gerald Sazon with friends and neighbors at his party. Photo courtesy Amy Sprout.

Sprout said Sazon has become a vital part of the St. Margaret’s community, making throwing a celebration in his honor easy.

“Mr. Sazon has kind of been a ‘silent star’ within our community for the past couple of years,” she said. “A few of our staff members were aware that he had a history as a baseball player, but it was not until recently that the extent of his impact in the baseball world was really brought to light.”

Sprout said every elderly resident of the home has a fascinating, intricate life story to tell, and for Sazon, that story is the national pastime.

“We often hear stories about different trailblazers throughout history on TV and in newspapers, but to have one of these trailblazers living in our home is truly an honor,” she said. “We are grateful to be in a position to help share his story and create connections with today’s generations, particularly today’s athletes, who are directly benefiting from the efforts of Mr. Sazon and his likes.“

Gerald Sazon was born in 1936 to Irby and Louise Sazon and lived on Law Street — located in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, a historically African-American community that has struggled economically and development-wise for decades, especially following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — with his family. His life in baseball began when he joined an age 12-14 youth league in New Orleans.

He also took in as many pro games as he could at Pelican Stadium, where he’d enjoy “knothole” nights. You went around the fence, and you had a hole you could look through.”

Although he attended a private school that had no formal baseball team – “Education was the thing for my parents,” he said – the promise of the diamonds had him itching to get through the school year.

“I couldn’t wait ‘til summer,” he said.

His formative, teenage years playing baseball were an experience that sharpened his skills and whetted his appetite for a life of baseball, and, he said, “by the time I got to 16, I was well groomed.”

His developing talents as a twirler attracted the attention of some of the established local pro players – more on that in a little bit – and soon he was snatched up to the big time, or at least as big as it got in New Orleans, in Louisiana and in the Deep South.

As a young man, Sazon, as did his father Irby, toiled as a longshoreman along the Mississippi River, keeping him in shape while restricting his diamond dreams to the weekends. During his playing career, some of his teammates and peers traveled to Cuba for winter ball, but Sazon was kept home by his parents, who felt their son was too young for adventures in the far away Caribbean. 

When starring on the mound, Sazon complemented his sizzling fastball with a sneaky curveball – “and it wasn’t no little curve,” he said. The sharp veering of the pitch caused some batters to duck in fear of getting beaned, and prompted other hitters to step into the batter’s box wearing football helmets.

“I’d aim it at you, but when it crossed the plate, it would cut way down,” he said. “They [the batters] would freeze, and the ball would just drop in there for a strike.

Sazon said his teammates just had to produce a run or two on offense, and he could take it from there and get the win. The key for a good pitcher is control, he said; “once you get zeroed and on where you want it,” it’s all over for an opponent.

“I didn’t think nothin’ of it,” he said. “I just wanted you to hit the ball and get me a run or two,” he said.

Like countless other segregation-era Black ballplayers, Sazon and his teammates endured grueling road trips, squeezed onto buses, rolling by night through towns in the Deep South that employed “sundown” rules – formal or informal rules order people of color off the streets and in their homes as the sun set – and other draconian measures to enforce white supremacy.

“They were rough,” Sazon said of the treks. “You’d go to a little town, and there wouldn’t be any colored boarding houses, so you’d have to sleep on the bus. We’d open up the sides so we could sleep.”

He added, “We’d sleep on the bus all night, then we’d get out there on the field, and we’d be stiff as a board.” And even if a town did have accommodations for African-American visitors, such as a boarding house or “colored” motel, the players would have to squeeze three or more players in each room.

Sazon recalled one particular Mississippi town where the white sheriff, irate that Sazon’s club had beaten the local town team, met them at a bridge out of town to warn them to walk across the span and never come back.

Sazon being interviewed by a local journalist. Photo courtesy Amy Sprout

(Of course, often the games themselves presented perilous hazards, such as opponents sharpening the spikes on their cleats to slash up an intrepid infielder trying to tag someone out.)

But despite the arduous, exhausting realities of the road, there were many highlights and shining moments that made the labors of the job more than worth it.

What became “the proudest game I ever pitched” took place in the city of New Roads, La., a burg in Pointe Coupee Parish, located 110 miles northwest of New Orleans, when he recorded a shutout. Sazon lived for a period in New Roads.

Other highlights included shutting down a Navy team, taking part in an integrated game at Pelican Stadium, and playing a contest in Yankee Stadium.

“You talk about scary,” he said of competing at the House That Ruth Built. “Just to walk in there and walk around was frightening.”

Sazon’s baseball career in the South was interrupted in the early 1950s when he was drafted into the Army, where he pitched for the troops as part of his service assignment and advanced to the rank of corporal.

After leaving the service, Sazon temporarily settled in the Washington, D.C., area, where he caught on with teams in the southern Maryland League. That effectively ended his time as a star in the Southern Negro Leagues.

Unfortunately, the number of African-American players of Sazon’s generation continues to dwindle, much like the fortunes of Negro League baseball following Jackie Robinson’s barrier-shattering debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

Over the past few years, several prominent New Orleans Negro Leaguers have passed away; in 2019, former Black Pelican Paul Lewis Jr. died at the age of 92, and before that the city in 2015 said farewell to 94-year-old Herb Simpson, who played on several local teams before stints with national-level Negro Leagues teams and in the integrated Minor Leagues.

Because of this inevitable, bittersweet march of time, those who played the game and those acolytes who study the Negro Leagues and work to preserve and enrich the legacy segregation-era Black players and managers are constantly working to cherish the few remaining survivors and burnish their memories.

“We have come to a point in our history where many players from the ‘heyday’ of the Negro Leagues are gone, and now we are seeing those who played near the end of the Negro Leagues leave us as well,” said Dr. Ray Doswell, vice president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. “Seeing these men ‘going home,’ in many spiritual traditions, is a time to rejoice, but bittersweet for those of us racing to preserve these stories and histories.”

Doswell added that Sazon remains a bright light in the legacy of the Negro Leagues.

“I am happy to know Mr. Sazon can celebrate one more year with folks recognizing his unique place in history,” he said. “It is also good to know he still loves baseball.”

Many of those New Orleans legends who have passed were friends, teammates and opponents of Sazon.

Simpson used to playfully call Sazon “Junior” because of the latter’s relative youth. In one anecdote, Sazon recalled running into Herb at the VA hospital, much to each of their delight and surprise.

“Herb looked up and saw me and said,’ Is that you, Junior?’” Sazon said.

Herb Simpson, one of Sazon’s friends and fellow New Orleans Negro Leaguer. Photo by Ryan Whirty.

Sazon also knew well the slugging Bissant brothers – Bob and John, who played with the great Chicago American Giants and garnered the nickname, “Champ.”

“Both of them could hit that ball,” Sazon said of the Bissants.

While he was with the New Orleans Creoles – who at the time were owned and run by the great local hotelier, sports promoter and baseball entrepreneur Allen Page – Sazon played with the trailblazing second baseman Toni Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball. Stone became a sensation, first in New Orleans, then with the Indianapolis Clowns.

“She was a star at second base,” Sazon said.

Sazon also rubbed elbows and took the field with shortstop Billy Horne, another Crescent City native. Horne spent several years with the Chicago American Giants, including one season with John Bissant who also played with the American Giants off and on through the late 1930s and early ’40s. A few other New Orleans lads donned spikes to play with Chicago during this period, including outfielder Lloyd “Ducky” Davenport (who also garnered another nickname in his hometown, “Bearman”) and catcher Ziggy Marcell, son of the irascible third baseman Oliver Marcell. The CAGs of this time also had the “Rocking Chair Catcher,” Pepper Bassett, a Baton Rouge native.

Arguably the most enigmatic, colorful figure and teammate recalled by Sazon was pitcher Robert “Black Diamond” Pipkins, a native of Mississippi who spent much of his adult life based in New Orleans, including stints with several southeast Louisiana Black teams.

Pipkins’ outsized legend has reached near mythic proportions, his flamboyance and brashness making him a must see attraction whenever he took the mound. Sazon remembered what was perhaps the Diamond’s most eccentric trait – gold teeth that would glint in the sun and vex opposing batters with the shine.

“He had all that gold in his mouth,” Sazon said with a wide smile. “He would get up there [on the mound] with the sun shining and flash those teeth. Batters would complain to the ump.”

In fact, it was Pipkins who persuaded a 16-year-old Sazon to pursue his baseball dreams. Sazon said Pipkins at one point lived on the same block as him and asked permission from Sazon’s parents to set out on the road as a professional ballplayer.

Guiding many of these players in their careers, especially in New Orleans, was the Skipper, Wesley Barrow, the crusty, gruff, endlessly experienced manager who piloted many teams, including the Creoles, with unmatched passion and skill.

Wesley Barrow Stadium. Photo by Ryan Whirty.

Sazon said Barrow – after whom the historic stadium in Pontchartrain Park, New Orleans’ first planned neighborhood for middle-class African Americans, is now named – was a strict taskmaster who shaped the career, life and character of countless young Black men and women.

“He was something else,” Sazon said of Barrow, “and he’d cuss you out, too. Wesley was a card.”

Sazon’s baseball career, as do the careers of most other men and women who swing the wood and flash the leather, eventually came to an end. As Sazon reached early middle age and was still living in the DC area after playing in the Mid-Atlantic states, he realized his team in the athletic spotlight was winding down. In addition, he missed his hometown, and his mother passed away.

“I’d been away so long,” he said. “I’d gotten sort of homesick.”

So, after more than 20 years in the Maryland-DC area, Sazon decided to come home to the Crescent City in the early 1970s. But he wasn’t going home a stranger; the former teammates with whom he kept in touch informed him that his friends and colleagues at him still remembered from his sprightlier days on the ballfields of New Orleans.

“They’d say, ‘Don’t you know they still talk about you?’,” Sazon said.

As a result of his lingering renown in his hometown, Sazon still played on a semipro basis once a month or so while he paid the bills by working at a power plant. At one point he’d saved up enough money to purchase a limousine and launched his own chauffeuring service. In his later years, Sazon worked as an administrator in a private school in Westwego, a suburb of New Orleans across the Mississippi River.

But he still remained active and visible among the graying men of the old New Orleans Negro Leagues. He played in a few reunion games put on by the local Old Timer’s Baseball Club, which was founded in 1959 by Walter Wright, a native New Orleanian and a star pitcher in 1930s and ’40s Louisiana Negro Leagues.

Gerald Sazon. Photo courtesy Amy Sprout.

For many years the Old Timers threw an annual banquet and awards dinner, followed by a game at Pontchartrain Park (now Wesley Barrow Stadium) that was preceded by a Little League all-star game. The Old Timer’s Club and its annual celebrations became so popular that they regularly attracted living legends, including National Baseball Hall of Famers Bill Foster and the one and only Satchel Paige

Sazon also attended several of the Negro League reunions that took place annually in Birmingham, Ala. These reunions, most of them organized by Dr. Layton Revel, a passionate Negro Leagues historian and founder of the new Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham, often included a day at Rickwood Field, the oldest functioning baseball stadium in the country. The stadium was the site of the annual Rickwood Classic, an official Double-A game hosted by the Birmingham Barons.

“I think about going to Birmingham,” Sazon said. “All the fellows would meet, and we’d be up all night talking.”

During our conversation, Sazon also mentioned the names of several star Black players would excelled in the Majors following integration, singling out one-time Negro Leaguer Dan Bankhead, one of the five ballplaying Bankhead brothers who became the first African-American pitcher in the Majors while slinging for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-51; ex-Baltimore Elite Giant Joe Black, a key part of the Dodgers starting rotation in the 1950s who went on to a successful career in the corporate world; and Dominican Juan Marichal, who was a 10-time All Star for while with the San Francisco Giants from 1960-73 who eventually made it into Cooperstown.

These days, Sazon stays close to the game by following the various college teams in New Orleans, especially Tulane. He also catches major league games on TV, and like many “old timers,” he’s flabbergasted by the massive salaries, but, he adds, “the talent is there.”

He also finds the domination these days of pitch count limits for pitchers, which he feels are a little ridiculous, especially if a pitcher is doing well on the mound.

“As long as they don’t start hitting him,” he said, “they should just leave him out there.”

Plus he has the memories of his own career and experiences. As one of a rapidly dwindling number of living Negro Leaguers, making the stories he unspools and the wisdom he dispenses more vital than ever in preserving the histories and legacies of Black baseball.

And on that note, one more sound, one more story that remains crystal clear in his memory …

When his team traveled to Alabama to play the Prichard Athletics, Sazon and his mates faced Tommie Aaron, the younger brother of home run king Henry.

Tommie had similar power at bat as his brother, and during this particular game, Tommie crushed a long drive that smacked against the outfield wall, which was made of galvanized aluminum. The impact produced a thunderous “Bang!”

Sazon’s birthday cake. Photo courtesy Amy Sprout.

Not a bad memory to have, all these years – and fastballs – later. As he sits outside in the nursing home’s back courtyard recently, a gentle breeze swaying the landscaped bushes and trees and a bright blue sky overhead, Sazon – who began playing professionally at the age of 16 – recounts that and other tales that made his life exhilarating, rewarding and satisfying.

“I think about [his career] all time,” he said.

Despite all the challenges and rigors he and his teammates faced almost daily – racist police in small Southern towns, having to scrape up food whenever they could, sleeping in flea bag hotels or on the bus all night as they plunged toward their next game – Sazon recalls it as the thrill of his life.

“Hell,” he said with a sly grin, “I was young. That was all fun to me.”

The Malloy Conference returns in a big way

Clinton “Tiny” Forge of the Detroit Stars. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)

It had been five years since SABR held its last in-person Jerry Malloy Negro Leagues Conference. Way back then, in 2017 in Harrisburg, we never could have anticipated all the dramatic developments that lay ahead. Our community was brought together in 2019 in Detroit, where a committed group of organizers put together a fantastic conference for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Detroit Stars.

But despite how educational and rewarding the Detroit gathering had been, we in the Negro Leagues fandom missed the annual Malloy conference, the first of which was held in 1998 in Harrisburg. The Malloy conference was born from the brilliance and hard work of Negro Leagues Committee co-founders Dick Clark and Larry Lester, and from those humble beginnings, the Malloy — and correspondingly, SABR’s Negro Leagues Research Committee itself — became institutions that attracted the attention and respect of baseball historians, scholars and fans, many of whom, me included, would attend the Malloy conferences, some on a regular basis.

But Dick’s untimely, tragic passing disrupted the flow of the committee, then the COVID-19 pandemic put the kibosh on in-person gatherings for two solid years. So when we finally, at long last, came back together under the Malloy banner June 2-4 in Birmingham, it was a homecoming and in many ways a catharsis for all the challenges and barriers that hindered us.

Earlier this month in Birmingham, Larry said it best: “We are a family.”

And Birmingham was a reunion for the ages, and hopefully the start of many more. In this post, I won’t delve too much in depth about the conference proceedings, and I’ll save giving each presentation, discussion and other conference events in more detail in a week or two.

For now, I’ll tell the story of the 2022 Jerry Malloy Conference in photos. Many thanks to Sherman Jenkins and Signe Knutson for contribition pictures to this endeavor, and if anyone else has some photos they’d like to share, definitely let me know at

Scenes from the start of Friday’s conference proceedings.

Donald Spivey, James Brunson and Negro Leagues Committee Co-Chair Larry Lester. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Lamar Smith, board member of the SABR Rickwood Field Chapter in Birmingham, welcomes attendees to the conference. At the closing banquet, Smith received the prestigious Fay Vincent Most Valuable Partner Award, which is named after former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, who has a steadfast, influential advocate for the Negro Leagues and their legacy. “I am overwhelmed by your knowledge, passion and love for the players, and for your commitment to the research,” Smith told attendees. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Larry Lester and Dr. Kimberly White-Glenn, a professor at Alabama A&M, who made a presented comparing and contrasting Toni Stone and Effa Manley, two women who blazed trails in the Negro Leagues. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Author Rich Bogovich presented a paper about overlooked Negro Leaguers from rural Bullock County, Ala. Rich’s latest book is a biography of 19th-century great and National Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Grant. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Larry Lester and Alabama State Sen. Sheila Tyson, who presented a proclamation by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in honor of the Malloy Conference. Coleman-Madison also donated a state flag of Alabama that had flown over the State Capitol. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Larry Lester with statistical guru Todd Peterson, whose presentation ranked the top 102 Negro League players of all-time through rigorous statistical analysis. Peterson’s working in quantifying Negro League stats played a large role in the Negro Leagues finally receiving major league status in 2020. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Conference attendees received two sweet new books. (Photos by Ryan Whirty.)

The first stop on the bus tour of Birmingham landmarks was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The following photos are of artifacts and installations at the Institute. All photos by Ryan Whirty.

Skip Nipper checks out a bus display.

Across the street from the BCRI sits the 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of a KKK bombing that murder four little girls in 1963. Photos by Ryan Whirty.

The next stop on the bus tour was the Negro Southern League Museum. Photos by Ryan Whirty.

“This is something unique that we have that no one else has,” said State Sen. Sheila Tyson of the museum. Added Alicia Johnson-Williams, who works in Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office as director of the NLSM: ““We don’t say that it’s [the city’s] museum. We say it’s your museum. It’s all of our museum’s, because we are celebrating that history together.”
Dr. Layton Revel, the founder and primary memorabilia benefactor of the museum, who attended the conference despite recent heart surgery, told me: “We’re proud of it. It’s nice to see your life’s work come to life”

The last stop on the tour was historic Rickwood Field, the oldest baseball stadium in America still in active use. Rickwood was built in 1910 and served as homefield for the Birmingham Black Barons, among other teams.

Conference attendee Wayne Davis takes in the stadium’s beauty. (Photo by Signe Knutson.)
Photo by Signe Knutson.
Photo by Signe Knutson.
Leslie Heaphy wings a ball on the field. (Photo by Signe Knutson.)
Phil Ross demonstrates his patented two-ball pitching motion. (Photo by Signe Knutson.)
Photo by Ryan Whirty.
Photo by Ryan Whirty.
Photo by Ryan Whirty.
Photo by Ryan Whirty.
Sherman Jenkins and Phil Dixon. (Photo courtesy Sherman Jenkins.)
Fred Saffold, founder of the True Black History Museum. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Photo by Sherman Jenkins.
Photo by Sherman Jenkins.
Several representatives of the media attended the conference-goers visit to the stadium. (Photo courtesy Sherman Jenkins.)

The proceedings during the day Saturday included more presentations, pointed discussions and the trivia contest.

Phil Dixon, left, placed third in the trivia contest. Contest administrator and three-time winner Ted Knorr is at right. A total of 15 contestants vied for the 2022 crown. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
John Graf, here with Ted Knorr, placed second in the trivia contest. He won the title in 2016. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Todd Peterson took the trivia crown in 2022. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
The panel discussion titled, “Black Ball and the Hall: Justice in Cooperstown?” featured a lively, often passionate conversation about the Hall of Fame’s controversial, ever-evolving policiy regarding the induction of segregation-era Black players. Discussion participants included, from left: Gary Gillette, Leslie Heaphy, moderator Ted Knorr and Steven Greenes. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)

The 22nd annual Jerry Malloy Conference concluded with a banquet and awards ceremony.

Rodney Page, son of legenday New Orleans team owner, sports promoter and businessman Allen Page, was recognized at the banquet. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Dr. Jeremy Krock, founder of the nationally renowned Negro League Baseball Marker Project, updated attendees about the Project’s latest activity, which includes the placement of markers on 12 previously barren graves of Black ball greats since 2017. Efforts on the horizon include stones for Newt Allen, Elias “Country” Brown and, hopefully, Dick Lundy and Chino Smith. If a marker can be successfully placed at Allen’s grave, it would mark the 50 successful gravestone projects. Said Krock: “Some graves took a long time, but it was worth it.” (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Father David Polich gave the invocation for the ceremony. It was his first Malloy conference. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Author and trumpeter Phil Dixon played a soulful version of the traditional hymn, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Banquet-goers listen as SABR Executive Director Scott Bush, far center, addresses the dinner. Bush’s words were eloquent and at times emotional. Bush said SABR’s Negro Leagues was among the first such research groups organized within SABR, having been created in 1971. “Since that time,” Bush said, “the committee has been a leader in everything it does, not just within SABR but across the baseball world.” (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Three former Negro Leagues players were in attendance and were recognized by Larry Lester on behalf of the committee. Here is Detroit Stars catcher Clinton “Tiny” Forge. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Birmingham Black Barons pitcher, practicing minister and Marine veteran Rev. Bill Greason, 97 years young. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Birmingham Black Barons second baseman Tony Lloyd. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)
Lamar Smith accepts the Robert Peterson Award. (Photo by Sherman Jenkins.)

All in all, it was a fantastic conference, especially because, in addition to the former players, several descendants of Black ball greats attended. One was Harriet Hamilton, the daughter of Henry Kimbro, and Doug Foster, the great nephew of Rube Foster and grandson of Bill Foster. Doug said he was blown away by the Malloy conference.

“It’s been a great experience for me,” Doug said. “I’ve always felt like Rube Foster is someone who’s known in baseball circles, but beyond that not too many people know about him. [The conference) is just a credit to his legend and how important he was to American history.”

I’ll close this post (hopefully another article will be forthcoming) with a comment from another descendant of Negro Leagues, Rodney Page, son of New Orleans team owner and sports promoter Allen. When introduced at the banquet, Rodney had eloquent, heartfelt words about the Malloy conference and its “family.”

“All of us are here out of a sense of justice,” he said. “It’s so important that the truth of history be spoken. There is a truth and history that has to be cherished and preserved and passed on. Each of us has a calling, a calling that has to do with justice and truth.”

Preach it, Brother.