January 05, 2006

Amoung The Immortals: 5 Year Process to Bring Long Overdue Recognition!

Major League Baseball provided the Baseball Hall of Fame with $250,000 in July of 2000 with a mandate to provide a history of African Americans in Baseball from 1860-1960. In February 2001 the HOF Board selected "The Negro Leagues Researchers/Authors Group" lead by Prominent Baseball Historian Dr. Hogan of Union College and including baseball Historians Dick Clark and Larry Lester. These three lead a group of 50+ authors, historians and researchers. They conducted extensive studies and broke the process down to 2 distinct areas. The Narrative and Statisical story of African Americans in Baseball. National Geographic is set to Publish with Dr. Hogan "Shades of Glory" a much anticipated book. Schelduled for release Jan. 31st and available at a bookstore near you.

The following is an excerpt of an Interview I conducted with Dr. Hogan in early January of 2006.

Sportsfilter: Dr. Hogan Thank You for your time this afternnon. Dr. Hogan: Your Welcome. Thanks for having me.

Sportsfilter: You were appointed by the HOF in 2001 to lead a comprehensive study of the History of African American in Baseball and some of the fruits of that project are to be made Public soon. What can we expect as Baseball Fans to hear? Dr. Hogan: It's been a long process and much work remains to be done. I started this process with the HOF in 1997 when we opened the "Pride and Passion" exhibit honoring the contributions and History of the Black Ballplayer. That exhibit is to be expanded in April to included some of the research we've conducted. Dick, Larry and myself are contributing in that effort. I encourage you to see it. But that's only a small part of the effort. My focus has been to the HOF Inductees I anticipate will be enshrined at Cooperstown come July 30th of this year. Hopefully this process will fill in some of the Gaps for the Public so we can all give these Players the Recognition they deserve.

Sportsfilter: Can you briefly go over the process of the HOF Inductions? Dr. Hogan: My Goodness, We conducted 1000's of hours research in 2 areas. Narratively, the story if you will and Statisically. The numbers. We have a raw narrative, a bibliography of 800 pages and have accumulated a database of 3,000 plus day by day records and box scores of games played from 1920's thru to the 1950's from 128 different newspaper sources. Until the leagues started disbanding and newspapers stop their coverage in the 1950's. I myself did the 1920's primarily from 4 African American Newspaper sources. A 5 member screening committee Appointed by the HOF Board of Directors met in November of 2005 to go over the results and they submitted 39 names on 2 Ballots, Negro League and Pre-Negro League going back to 1860. A 12 Member Committee of which I am a member will meet Feb. 26 and 27th in Tampa and we will announce the Inductees Feb. 28th.

Sportsfilter: Any names you'd like to share with us now? Dr. Hogan: The process has been such and the work we've done has given us 39 Men to say now would dishonor that work. However all the considerations are being given to the 39. Certainly these men and their families deserve a pure process.

Sporsfilter: Can't blame me for trying. So the Announcement is coming in late Febuary. That's got to be a relief for you. Dr. Hogan: To say the least. As a Baseball Fan I'm as anxious as you are for the Inductee announcement. As an Historian, it's been an incredible, once in a lifetime opprtunity and the work really will last my lifetime and more. But the real satisfaction will be in seeing America come to recognize the richness of the achievements and accomplishments of these men, not just the 39 candidates but the Contributions made to this country by all the African American Baseball Players. To see that and become a part of that process is an honor. The tragedy of the past can't be undone but in a small way, hopefully this will open America to continue to move this process forward.

Sportsfilter: What can we expect to see in your upcoming book, "Shades of Glory"? Dr. Hogan: Well, To begin with it is richly illustrated and comprehensive in scope. It covers not only the game on the field but how Baseball played an important role within the black community, especially within the timeframe of segregation. Lot's of bibliography and commentary. My hope is it is a definitive study.

Sportsfilter: Thanks for your time today Dr. Dr. Hogan: Your Welcome.

After talking with Dr. Hogan it occurred to me that the exclusion of these men from MLB was an unspeakable tragedy not only for them but for all Baseball Fans. I for one look forward to July 30th when the Inductees will take their Rightful Place "Amoung The Immortals".

posted by skydivedad to commentary at 03:54 PM - 0 comments

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