Sunday, January 29, 2006

Barnstormin' exhibit to open in Virginia with 10 ex-Negro Leaguers in attendance


The Rev. Hank Mason used to go by the name "Pistol." That was back in his glory days, when he pitched for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Today, the Ginter Park resident isn't that interested in people remembering his nickname. But he'd sure appreciate it if they knew where he and his teammates got their start. "There are so many people who don't know about the Negro Leagues," said Mason, who earned the nickname "Pistol" thanks to a 95-mph fastball.

"When I tell people I played for Kansas City, they think of the Royals," he said of the Major League team. "But the Negro Leagues are a part of the history of America. We all need to know about that."

Mason is doing his part to educate baseball fans and non-enthusiasts alike. He will be on hand Friday at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center for the opening of "Barnstormin': the Negro Leagues: 1920-1960."

The exhibit marks the museum's return to regular operating hours. It had been open by appointment only since March because of financial woes.

"This exhibit will be good for Richmond," Mason said. "I sure hope people who are not familiar with the Negro Leagues will finally realize that there was more to baseball than the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox."

About 10 other former Negro Leaguers, including Ed Hudson from Richmond and Mamie Johnson from Washington, one of three female players, will join Mason on opening night, to be held from 7:30 to 10 p.m . . .[more]

Hank Mason baseball card image courtesy Retired Ballplayers Site

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