Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Good Seats Still Available

Apr 12, 2021

There’s one question Cam Perron ("Comeback Season: My Unlikely Story of Friendship with the Greatest Living Negro League Baseball Players") has heard over and over again: “How does a white kid from a suburb of Boston become friends with all of these former Negro League baseball ­players?”

An ardent Red Sox fan, Perron grew up during the '00s loving history, and from an early age, had a knack for collecting. But when he was twelve and bought a set of Topps baseball cards featuring several players from something called "the Negro Leagues," his curiosity was piqued.

In 2007, while still in middle school, Perron started writing letters to former Negro League players, asking for their autographs and a few words about their careers. What he got back was much more than he expected. 
The former players responded with detailed stories about their glory days on the field, as well as disconcerting descriptions of the racism they faced - including run-ins with the KKK.  They explained how they were repeatedly kept out of the major leagues and confined to the lower-paying and lesser-publicized Negro Leagues - even after Jackie Robinson had supposedly broken the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
By the time Perron started high school, letters had turned into phone calls, and he was spending hours a day talking with dozens of seemingly forgotten ex-players. Many of them professed ignorance as to the existence or whereabouts of any records of their play, and sadness at how they'd lost touch with their former teammates.
In 2010, with the help of a small group of fellow researchers, a then-15-year-old Perron helped organize the first annual Negro League Players Reunion in Birmingham, Alabama, where he finally got to meet his new friends - all of them 50-to-70 years his senior - in person. Their bond was natural and instant.
In between subsequent reunions, Perron has become deeply involved in an ever-expanding mission to help ex-players get rightly-owed pension monies from Major League Baseball, while simultaneously working to get the Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham opened in 2015.

Support the show by trying one month of BlueChew for FREE (just pay $5 shipping) with promo code GOODSEATS at checkout!