Jan 222013
 

reflector

By Michael Abramowitz

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Some cherished records of Greenville’s sports history will have a new home soon that will be more suited to their community value, thanks to their accidental discovery by just the right person.

Norma Warren, treasurer of the Jackie Robinson Baseball League, was cleaning out the field house at Thomas Foreman Park, where the league now plays its games, when she discovered a box filled with an assortment of photos, letters, newspaper clippings, league schedules and typed and handwritten archives about the formation of the league in 1991.

The league treasurer sat with the notes and minutes recorded that first year, before the league was formally incorporated, and was able to recognize the historical value of the documents. Among them was a photo album filled with team photos of the league’s first six teams, individual action photos of the young players and their coaches.

“I don’t know who the album’s originator was or who took the photos. I just stumbled upon it as I was cleaning out the field house,” Warren said.

Inside the cover was an original copy of the program for the league’s first season banquet in 1992, hosted by Carnell Burney.

“I didn’t even know they existed,” Warren said of some of the memorabilia. “We worried about the possibility that fire could one day destroy our archived history, so we decided to donate the records of the first 20 years of the Jackie Robinson Baseball League to the J.Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University, which they have very enthusiastically accepted,” Warren said.

Before heading over to Joyner, the entire set of documents and photographs will be on public display Monday at South Greenville Recreation Center at 851 Howell St., Warren said. It will be part of the daylong Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the recreation center.

There is another important purpose for setting the photos out for display, the event coordinator said.

“We’ve invited the people of our community to come and view the photos and articles in hope that the subjects in the pictures might be identified. The history of this league is bigger than I knew,” Warren said.

Most of the players from those first teams are well into their 30s now, Warren said, and some of the coaches and league administrators are now gone. But if enough people recognize the people in the photos, it could lead to many of the gaps being filled, she said.

“Please help us celebrate and take a look back into the past,” Warren said.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com.

via The Daily Reflector.

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