Saturday, July 31, 2010
7833: Negro Leagues Go Postal.
From WYFF News 4…
New Postage Stamps Spotlight Negro League Baseball
Ninety-Six Man, Former Player Honored
By Kisha Foster, WYFF News 4 Reporter
NINETY SIX, S.C.—Thursday the United States Post Office unveiled two new commemorative stamps which spotlight Negro League Baseball.
Negro League Baseball gave black players a chance to show their talents before the major leagues were integrated.
Robert Williams, of Ninety Six, was the guest of honor at a reception at the local post office.
“Oh man its wonderful! The most beautiful thing about it, they recognized us. They didn’t forget about us,” said Williams.
Dressed in white jacket and black bow tie, the 77 year-old signed autographs and took pictures with people from various backgrounds and ages.
Williams was a shortstop for the Birmingham Black Barons.
He played for one season, in 1955. His career was cut short when he was drafted for the U. S. Army.
The Barons, which were a part of the Negro National League, played from 1920 to 1960.
Williams said, “I got in the Negro League and I played with some of the best ball players and against some of the best ball players. One thing every team that we played tried to get my contract. So that meant a lot to me, made me feel like I could play ball.”
Legendary stars who played in the league included Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson.
One stamp shows a close play at home plate, while the other commemorates Andrew “Rube” Foster, founder of the leagues that operated from 1920 to 1960.
Ninety Six Mayor Arvest Turner called the celebration a fitting honor for a native son.
“We are certainly proud of him as an asset to the town. I’ve been working with him on a couple of projects and he has always devoted his time to helping the community out,” said Turner.
Every year the U.S. Post Office receive 50,000 requests from the public for a different stamp.
United States Postal Spokesman Harry Spratlin said “The Citizen Stamp Advisory committee makes the decision. But they make the decision based on recommendations from the public.”