Movers and Shakers Alfredo Liriani of Roberto Clemente 21 Sports program and Negro league Historian Frank R Jordan Discuss Changing the world through Baseball with Hank Ebanks President of the Black Coral Inc. Youth Baseball League!
An exhibit on the Negro Baseball League opened in downtown Boston on Juneteenth, Monday, June 19, hosted by Emerson College with sponsorship from the Red Sox, the city of Boston and Meet Boston. On June 22nd Black Coral Inc Founders J. Lynda Blake, Mike Thierry and President of the Black Coral Youth Baseball League In Roatan Honduras, Hank Ebanks. They were present to meet and celebrate the history of the Negro League with Businessman and Head of the Roberto Clemente 2 Sports Program Alfredo Liriani and One of the pivotal forces behind the popular exhibit Frank R. Jordan.
According to the Boston Banner Frank Jordan is “ a special advisor to the Boston Red Sox, who possesses a wealth of knowledge about the leagues…”Jordan carries the proverbial torch for the great Negro ballplayers of yesteryear.
“It is my passion to make their history known and to keep their names alive,” says Jordan, whose father played in the Negro Leagues. He goes on to say it is important for young people to know about a league that produced such Hall of Fame ballplayers as Jackie Robinson, the man who broke Major League Baseball’s infamous “color line” in 1947 and played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League. But it must be remembered that Robinson and Larry Doby, the first man to break the color line in the American League just weeks after Robinson, stood on the shoulders of great Negro Baseball League stars Josh Gibson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Walter “Buck” Leonard and far too many others who never got the chance to play against the white players of Major League Baseball in regular season games.( J. Meyers Bay State Banner June 21, 2023)
Hank Ebanks and Alfredo Liriani are looking at baseball from a global perspective; they see it as a way to focus young people on developing their communities and positively impacting their futures. Creating youth leagues and supporting kids in developing countries is one way that baseball has historically helped impoverished communities grow.
Former Red Sox players Luis (“El Tiante”) Tiant and Tommy Harper, an executive with the Red Sox minor league franchise in Worcester, attended the opening of the exhibit, called “Barrier Breakers: From Jackie to Pumpsie,” and shared their thoughts. The sport has grown in Central America and the Caribbean areas where climate change has caused havoc with local communities. Baseball is a way to empower economically and educate simultaneously because it's not just about sports, it's about social responsibility and pride. It is organizations like the Roberto Clemente 21 Sports Program and Black coral Inc that make it possible to change communities as well as individual lives.
“It is important to recognize the history of baseball. During the 1870s, many Cuban citizens fled Cuba because of the Ten Years' War. Many relocated to the Dominican Republic, and Honduras bringing with them the sport of baseball. According to an interview by the late journalist Gary Ashwill regarding the meeting of Honduras Baseball pitcher Papi Fabre and Babe Ruth the following occurred. In the mid-70s, the Honduran national team was playing a series of practice games in Nicaragua; Isidro “Papi” Fabré was the manager. He had coached Honduran baseball for over 40 years. Honduras was playing San Fernando in Masaya, and I went into the dugout prior to the contest. The players worshiped him, and loved to hear his stories again and again. Since I was a new face, the players asked him to talk about the time he had faced Babe Ruth. He wittily described how he had struck out the Bambino.
“Well, I figured I had the Babe’s number,” said Papi. “And in his next at bat I had him, I thought. He lifted a fly ball near first base in foul territory. But Armando Marsans was the promoter, and he had put together our team, and though he was around 40 and hadn’t played regularly for some time he put himself in at first just to be able to say he had played against Babe Ruth. And darn if the old coot didn’t drop the easy fly ball. Made me mad.”
“Tell him the rest,” implored the Honduran ballplayers.
“Well,” said Papi after a well timed theatrical pause, “Ruth hit my next pitch so hard the ball hasn’t landed yet.” Everybody broke up.
Exhibits like the one at Emerson give the opportunity for many children and young people in the audience to soak up the information they had not previously known about America’s Grand Old Game. Judging by the crowd many Boston residents will make the trip to the Negro Baseball League exhibit before it closes on Aug. 4. The showing runs seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 118 Boylston Street.