One of Belinda Manning’s greatest memories of her father was when he was asked to tell Leon Day, his teammate and fellow pitcher from the Newark Eagles, that Day had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The two had pitched during the World Series, and he was elated to be the one to break the news to his friend. If you played in the league, you became a part of a brotherhood, she remembers, with bonds that lasted a lifetime.
PHILADELPHIA — David Montgomery probably would have loved Friday night.
“For them, that was a shared victory,” she fondly recalls.
A few days later, Day died of heart failure.
Everett, of Linwood, echoes Belinda Manning’s feelings that the importance of the Negro League, and the conference, transcends sports and will interest anyone.
“In celebrating this history, you’re talking about an important chapter, not only in sports history but in the history of our country,” said Everett. “They used baseball as their stage.”
And as baseball was the national past time during that period in history, it was a premier stage. Barnstorming across the country, playing the game they loved, and faced with obstacles and adversity, before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, the players were the pioneers of equal rights.
“Their struggle and their success can certainly be looked upon as the very beginnings of the civil rights movement,” Everett says. “The ability to overcome obstacles in the face of adversity, and that struggle, is an important thing for young people to hold on to. They’re life lessons.”
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