- To shake or destroy the courage or resolution of; dispirit.
Richard Charles Simpson is a former professional baseball outfielder who played seven seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and California Angels, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Seattle Pilots.
Whose father played in the league that has been defunct more than a generation, is a keeper of their flame. Since his boyhood in St. Louis, he has been collecting memorabilia from this chapter of American history, largely forgotten since the segregated league disbanded.
Negro League Baseball Part of the History of baseball in the United States series.
The Negro Leagues were American professional baseball leagues comprising predominantly African-American teams.
Simpson said his father, Richard “Chalkdaddy” Simpson, didn’t talk much about his playing days with the Memphis Red Sox The Memphis Red Sox were a professional Negro League baseball team based in Memphis, TN from the 1920s until the end of segregated baseball.
The Red Sox played in the Negro National League for most of the League’s existence, although they also played independently,
In an era of black studies on college campuses; Kwanzaa joining Hanukkah and Christmas as widely observed winter holidays, Simpson said he finds it disheartening dis·heart·en
tr.v. dis·heart·ened, dis·heart·en·ing, dis·heart·ens
To shake or destroy the courage or resolution of; dispirit.
Little-known legacy of the Negro Leagues is that much of the equipment and practices in widespread use today were either invented or popularized by those segregated ballplayers.
Simpson listed shin guards, batting helmets, the feet-first slide, the umpire’s chest protector, and the “donut” weight that players slip over their bat while taking practice swings in the on-deck circle, as having their origins in the Negro Leagues. So did night games and the All-Star game, Simpson said.
The first piece of Negro League memorabilia Simpson obtained was a 1924 photograph of the two teams that played in the first Colored World Series.
In 1947, Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers played an exciting seven-game World Series against the New York Yankees.
“Once Jackie Robinson was signed, for all intents and purposes, that was the beginning of the end for the Negro Leagues,” Simpson said.
Robinson opened the door for the other major-league teams to sign the best African-American ballplayers. Although their talent pool was diluted in the post-integration era, the Negro Leagues continued for another decade.
“The heyday had passed,” Simpson said.
“The league was just a shadow of its old self.”
Simpson nonetheless remembers the pride he felt when Negro Leagues pitching legend Satchell Paige broke into the major leagues with his hometown team, the St. Louis Browns.
His father “never had any rancor or bitterness” about missed opportunities as a professional athlete, Simpson said, but he had a few regrets about his Negro League teammates and opponents.
“I know that he always used to lament the fact that (many of) these guys never made the major leagues,” Simpson said. “He realized it was unfair, but it was something that happened. He took that as a part of life and went on.”
But Chalkdaddy did want to impress upon his only child one lesson – that Negro Leaguers’ talent and persistence in the face of discrimination won over their detractors, knocking down barriers for generations of African-Americans who followed.