Baseball in Pensacola | inStudio | WSRE


>>THIS ORIGINAL WSRE PRESENTATION IS MADE POSSIBLE BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU.>>HELLO, EVERYONE. I’M RAMECA VINCENT LEARY WELCOME TO THIS EDITION OF INSTUDIO. YAK PEANUTS AND CRACKER JACKS BECAUSE TONIGHT WE’RE TAKING YOU OUT TO THE BALL GAME. BASEBALL IS CALLED AMERICA’S FAVORITE PAST TIME, IN FACT, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA HAS SERVED AS A BREEDING GROUND FOR MANY BASEBALL LEGENDS FROM THE NEGRO LEAGUES TO THE MAJOR LESIONS THE CITY OF FIVE FLAGS HOSTED ALL TIME GREATS SUCH AS JACKIE ROBINSON AND BABE RUTH. GET READY TO MEET AMAZING HERY HITTERS AS THEY SWAP STORIES AND REMINISCE REMINISCE ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS, THIS SHORE WILL EXPLORE THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA. ♪ ♪>>WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE. GRAB A CLOSE SEAT AS WE BEGIN OUR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA JOURNEY. THROUGHOUT THE PROGRAM WE’LL BE SHARING SOME COMPELLING PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE PENSACOLA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE ARCHIVES AND THE PLAYERS THEMSELVES. SWITCHING GEARS I’M HONORED TO INTRODUCE MY FIRST GUEST, BASEBALL AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN SCOTT BROWN. HE’S A WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BASEBALL KNOWLEDGE. WE ALSO HAVE JOHNNY JOE LEWIS WHO PLAYED LOCALLY FOR THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS AND LATER ADVANCEDDED TO MAJOR LESIONS. WELCOME, GENTLEMEN.>>– MAJOR LESIONS — MAJOR LEAGUE. SCOTT LET’S START WITH YOU, TAKE ME BACK TO THE THE LATE 2000s, WE AIRED A DOCUMENTARY HERE AT WSRE CALLED BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA AND YOU WORKED WITH JILL HUBBS, OUR DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND OUTREACH. SHED A LITTLE LIGHT ON THAT.>>WELL, ABOUT 2009 I WAS SITTING IN THE STANDS OF OUR INDEPENDENT BASEBALL TEAM THE PENSACOLA PELICANS AT THE TIME AND JUST WATCHING THE INTERACTION WITH THE FANS HERE IN PENSACOLA, HOW THEY HAD GRAVITATED TOWARDS THE SPORT AND I’M NOT ORIGINALLY FROM THE AREA AND DID NOT REALIZE THE DEPTH OF HISTORY WE HAVE HERE. I’M ALSO A BASEBALL WRITER OF OTHER SUBJECTS ON THE GAME BUT NEVER DELVED INTO PENSACOLA’S BASEBALL HISTORY. SO I THOUGHT, WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO RESEARCH AND LOOK INTO WHAT ARE THE TREASURES THAT THE CITY OF FIVE FLAGS HOLDS WITH THE GREEN DIAMOND. AND SO AS I BEGIN TO COLLECT INFORMATION WITH THE HELP OF THE FRONT OFFICE WITH THE PENSACOLA PELICANS, WE GATHERED A NULL OF THINGS AN IT JUST SO HAPPENED WITHIN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS THAT THEIR ASSISTANT GM CAME TO ME AND SAID WSRE, JILL HUBBS IS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO SHARE THE BASEBALL HISTORY OF PENSACOLA THERE WORKING ON THE PRELIMINARY FORWARD MOTION OF A DOCUMENTARY TO HAVE SAME NAME. SO WE CAME TOGETHER AND WORKED ON THE BOOK AND DOCUMENTARY AT THE SAME TIME.>>SO YOU PLAYED AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN THAT AND I KNOW THAT JOHNNY WAS ALSO PART OF THAT DOCK DOCUMENTARY TOO, RIGHT?>>YES.>>JOHNNY TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BASEBALL YEARS. I KNOW YOU PLAYED FOR THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS. GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF A BACK STORY.>>MY YEARS STARTED GREW UP IN MORRIS COURT AND I PLAYED LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL, WE DIDN’T HAVE THE UNIFORMS AND ALL THE OTHER GOOD STUFF THAT POST KIDS HAD BUT WE WERE DETERMINED THAT WE WERE GOING TO BE BALL PLAYERS SOMEHOW. AND WE PLAYED HARD, SUN UP TO SUN DOWN.>>I SEE YOU HERE, YOU’RE LOOKING QUITE SHARP.>>ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, — ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MY ROOKIE YEAR, WE HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE HELP AND WE HAD A DIFFICULT TIME TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO WE WERE AS BALL PLAYERS AND HOW FAR COULD WE GO.>>TALKING ABOUT INSPIRATIONS TOO, AND SCOTT, JUST PIGGY BACKING, JUST A MOMENT REGARDING YOUR BOOK “BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA”. THERE IS A CORRELATION THERE WITH THAT DOCUMENTARY THAT WE PRODUCED HERE AT WSRE AND THE BOOK RIGHT HERE TON SCREEN AS YOU SEE. THAT YOU AUTHORED. TELL US ABOUT THAT CONNECTION.>>ONE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL ASPECTS OF WORKING TOGETHER WITH WSRE AND PRODUCER JILL HUBBS BUZZ THE AVAILABILITY — WAS THE AVAILABILITY OF SO MANY MAGNIFICENT LEGENDS IN THE GAME RIGHT HERE IN PENSACOLA. ONE THING WE WERE ABLE TO DO IS INTERVIEW MANY OF OUR OWN MEN AND LADIES WHO GREW UP WITH THE GAME AND HAD REALLY CHANGED THEIR LIVES AS TO WHO HAIR AS NOT ONLY MEN AND WOMEN OF THE COMMUNITY BUT CITIZENS AND MOMS AND DADS AND SOME OF THEM TEACHERS.>>SPEAKING OF LADIES, MY FINE GENTLEMEN HERE, A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY NOT REALIZE LADIES DID PLAY AN INTEGRAL ROLE. I HAVE VISIONS OF LADIES IN HOOP SKIRTS PLAYING BALL IN THE FIELD. DID YOU EVER SEE ANYTHING LIKE THAT, JOHNNY?>>ABSOLUTELY. KANSAS AND GOING TO KANSAS CITY, THAT’S I THINK HER NAME WAS MAY PLAYED BASEBALL, THE FIRST FEMALE PLAYER AND SHE DID AN OUTSTANDING JOB OF PROMOTING BASEBALL FOR THE WOMEN. AND SHE DID AN OUTSTANDING JOB.>>LET’S TALK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT JACKIE ROBINSON. DID HE INFLUENCE YOU AND YOUR CAREER IN ANY WAY?>>ABSOLUTELY.>>HOW SO?>>WHAT HE USED TO DO WAS USED TO HAVE SPRING TRAINING DOWN IN VERO BEACH, FLORIDA, THEY USE THIS –>>THERE’S JACKIE RIGHT THERE.>>BACK THIS WAY. AND THEY PLAY OUT AT THE OLD LEGION FIELD IS WHERE WE PLAY THE GAME. WE USE TO HAVE TO LOOK UNDERNEATH — FUNNY MEMORIES.>>I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU. WE HAVE A CLIP FROM JAKE WOOD WHO KNEW JACKIE ROBINSON. LET’S LOOK AT THAT.>>I NEVER FOLLOW PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL UNTIL JACKIE ROBINSON WAS, YOU KNOW, BECAME PART OF THE DODGERS. AND THEN WHEN I LOOK BACK, FROM MY EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE IT WAS JUST LIKE, WHAT, TEN SHORT YEARS LATER THAT I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIGN WITH THE TIGERS AND I LOOK BACK AND I CAN’T REALLY I CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT HE HAD TO GO THROUGH BEING THE FIRST A AFRICAN AMERICAN TO PLAY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS BECAUSE I LOOK AT ME BEING A BENEFICIARY OF WHAT HE HAD GONE THROUGH.>>AMAZING CLIP RIGHT THERE. INCREDIBLE. SO SCOTT, LET’S TALK A MOMENT ABOUT THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS AND THE HISTORY OF THE SEA GULLS. I KNOW YOU WROTE ABOUT THAT EXTENSIVELY IN YOUR BOOK. WHY DON’T YOU SHARE SOME INTERESTING THOUGHTS WITH US.>>THE SEA GULLS WERE PENSACOLA’S PREMIER NEGRO LEAGUE TEAM. WHEN I SAY PREMIERE, I’M TALKING A THEY WERE THE TOP OF THEIR GAME. NOT ONLY WITH WERE THEY KNOWN AROUND THIS AREA BUT KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. AND AS JOHNNY MENTIONED WITH JACKIE ROBINSON COMING THROUGH PENSACOLA AND PLAYING AT LEGION FIELD, WHEN THEY CAME IN THE NATIONAL NEGRO LEAGUE TEAMS THAT’S WHO THEY WOULD PLAY, OUR PENSACOLA SEA GULLS. THEY WERE OF THAT LEVEL OF ABILITY. AND SO MANY OF OUR YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICAN PLAYERS BACK DURING THE ’40s, ’50s AND ’60s GOT THEIR START WITH THE SEA GULLS INCLUDING JOHNNY HE PLAYED A LITTLE BIT HIMSELF.>>WHAT ABOUT LAWRENCE SHAKE SAMPSON, DO YOU HAVE MEMORIES OF HIM? YOU’RE LAUGHING RIGHT NOW, YOU PROBABLY HAVE FOND MEMORIES.>>I DON’T REMEMBER ALL THE NAME S BUT THEY ARE SO FAMILIAR, TO BE ABLE TO LISTEN TO THOSE NAMES. BECAUSE THEY ALL PLAY A SIGNIFICANT PART IN THE GAME, WE ALL GOT A CHANCE TO PLAY, WE DIDN’T HAVE THE BEST EQUIPMENT OR ANYTHING BUT AT LEAST WE PUT FORTH THE EFFORT TO TRY TO SEE IF WE CAN GET TO PLAY.>>WE’RE GOING TO HEAR NOW WHAT LAWRENCE SHAKE SAMPSON HAS TO SAY ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCES PLAYING WITH THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS IN THIS SOUND BYTE.>>IT WAS A LOT OF TEAMS HERE AT PENSACOLA BUT THE SEA GULLS WAS THE MOST ORGANIZED, ORGANIZED TEAM. WE PLAY FROM FLORIDA TO ALABAMA TO MISSISSIPPI, ALL THE WAY TO KEY WEST, WE PLAY. WE PLAY BASEBALL. AND WE DIDN’T LOSE TOO MANY GAMES. WE USED TO TRAVEL IN STATION WAGONS AN CARS, WHEN WE GOT HA BUS, OH, MAN, THAT REALLY — THAT WAS NICE.>>HE WAS LOVING THAT MOMENT, WASN’T HE, SCOTT IN>>THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THAT BUS, WE HAD OUR LOCAL PENSACOLA FLYERS AND THE STORY WAS THE FLYERS BUS HAD HOLES IN THE FLOOR, THEY WOULD STUFF NEWSPAPER IN IT TO KEEP THE RAIN FROM COMING THIS BUT THE SEA GULLS HAD THE BETTER BUS OF THE TEAMS HERE IN TOWN. MANY FACT IT WAS AIR CONDITIONED.>>ALMOST VIRTUALLY UNHEARD OF IN MANY RESPECTS DURING THAT TIME.>>ABSOLUTELY. WHAT WAS ALSO UNHEARD OF FOR PENSACOLA WAS UNIQUE IN THE FACT THAT OF OUR TEAMS THAT WE HAD FLYERS SEA GULLS AND OTHERS, WE HAD WHITE AND PLAQUE TEAMS THAT PARTICIPATED — BLACK TEAMS THAT PARTICIPATED IN AS FANS. IN THE STANDS, WE HAD AS P MANY WHITE FANS IN THE NEGRO LEAGUE TEAM AS WITH THE AFRICAN AMERICAN FANS AT THAT TIME WHITE TEAMS AND WE SHARED HA LOVE FOR BASEBALL THEN AND NOW.>>THAT IS WONDERFUL.>>I REMEMBER THAT AS IF IT WAS YESTERDAY. WE USED TO HAVE SAME NUMBER OF PEOPLE PLAYING FULL TIME COMING OUT TO SEE US PLAY AND WE PUT ON GOOD SHOWS FOR THEM TOO.>>JOHNNY AS A PLAYER, HOW DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL KNOWING THAT THE AUDIENCE WERE INTEGRATED?>>I NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO — HE COULDN’T KEEP A GOOD BALL PLAYER FROM MAKING TO THE BUG LEAGUE, THE TIME WAS GOING TO COME, IT JUST HAPPENED THE TO TAKE LONGER THAN MORE PEOPLE. FROM SO SCOTT, PENSACOLA STATE A PRECEDENT — SET A PRECEDENT REGARDING RACE RELATIONS AT BASEBALL GAMES. THAT IS HUGE AND PROBABLY SOMETHING A LOT OF PEOPLE DID NOT KNOW.>>THERE’S ACTUALLY MORE TO IT TO EVER BE SAID IN ONE SETTING. WE ENCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE TO LOOK INTO THEIR PENSACOLA BASEBALL HISTORY, WHAT THEY DID. JOHNNY HAS A DISTINCTION OF BEING THE VERY FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO LEECH THE MAJORS FROM PENSACOLA. AND HIS PLAY ON THE FIELD REACHED OUR NEWSPAPERS AND CHILDREN WHITE AND BLACK ALIKE, LOVE TO HEAR STORIES ABOUT JOHNNY JOE LEWIS. ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS IS HIS HOME RUN OFF JIM MALONEY IN CROSLEY FIELD.>>THAT HAPPENED IN THE 11th INNING, HE WAS THROWING A NO HITTER. AND I WAS THE ONE THAT CAME UP AND HIT A HOME RUN TO BEAT THEM 1-0. IT WAS A CHALLENGE. I THINK HE HAD STRUCK OUT ABOUT 13 OF US. AND –>>AMAZING MEMORIES.>>FINALLY GOT NEXT TO HIM.>>SO WE KNOW YOU ALSO PLAYED FOR THE CARDINALS AND THE METS AND I KNOW YOU HAVE SO MANY FOND MEMORIES WITH THOSE TEAMS AS WELL. IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ANYONE TODAY SOME SOUND ADVICE ABOUT PURSUING THEIR DREAMS WHAT WOULD IT BE BE?>>BASEBALL HAS BEEN HIGHLIGHT OF MY LIFE. AND I HAVE ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. I ENJOY THE BATTLES THAT WE HAD TO FIGHT, THE TEAMS WE HAD TO FIGHT I GUESS. AND ALSO ALL THE GOOD STUFF THAT WE HAD TO GO THROUGH, IT’S BEEN A REWARDING CAREER.>>THOUGH SOMETIMES WE HAVE OUR UPS AN DOWNS IN LIFE WE KNOW THE REWARD IS THERE. AND SCOTT, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE TRAVEL, BECAUSE WE KNOW THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS HAD AN AIR CONDITIONED BUS. LET’S TALK ABOUT OUR FLORIDA TEAMS, TRAVELING ELSEWHERE, SPECIFICALLY THE SEA GULLS. DID THEY RUN INTO ANY OPPOSITION ON THE ROAD THAT YOU KNOW OF?>>WELL, THE P OPPOSITION THAT WAS FACING THE ROAD WAS QUITE — MORE EXTENSIVE THAN IT WAS HERE AT HOME BECAUSE THERE WAS SUCH SUPPORT. BUT ALTHOUGH WE HAD STORY TEAMS COME THROUGH PENSACOLA, THE SEA GULLS PLAY OUR SEA GULLS WENT FROM COAST TO COAST, AS FAR AS SAN FRANCISCO PLAYING NATIONAL NEGRO LEAGUE TEAMS AND BESTING THEM. SO IF THAT’S OPPOSITION, BRING IT ON.>>I WOULD SAY THE SAME, DEFINITELY BRING IT ON. A LOT OF TIMES GENTLEMEN, DON’T WE HAVE TO DISPEL MYTHS, THAT’S A GREAT REASONER FOR HAVING SHOWS LIKE THIS, ON WSRE-TV TO BRING UP THE P TOPICS AND DISCUSS AS A FAMILY, RIGHT?>>ABSOLUTELY. YES.>>SCOTT, HAVING WRITTEN YOUR BOOK AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE YOU THE ENTIRE SHOW BY THE WAY, WHAT MOMENT IN THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS HISTORY RESONATES SO WELL IN YOUR MIND? I KNOW THERE ARE GREAT ONES. MAYBE JUST ONE.>>THERE ARE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY MINISTERED AND TOUCHED TO ME — TOUCHED ME WRITING THIS BOOK WAS BEING WITH PEOPLE LIKE ED AND GLORIA COALMAN, HIS FATHER PLAYED FOR THE SEA GULLS AND GLORIA AS A YOUNG GIRL WAS A FAN. THEIR PERSONAL STORIES OF SITTING IN THE STANDS AND HAVING THAT COMMUNITY RALLIED AROUND THEM, HAVING THE INSPIRATION OF THE PLAYERS ON THE FIELD AND THOSE PLAYERS REALLY INVESTING IN THE LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE, THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOST INCREDIBLE MOMENTS THAT I CAN REMEMBER BEING ABLE TO HEAR FROM THESE FAMILIES HOUR THEIR LIVES EVEN TODAY WERE CHANGED BY THAT COMMUNITY BY THAT INTERACTION WITH THE PLAYERS.>>DEFINITELY SPEAKS VOLUMES. JOHNNY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING ON THIS SHOW. YOU HAVE REALLY TAUGHT ALL OF US SO MUCH, YOU’RE A GREAT MAN, I KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO GREAT HINGES FOR EVERYONE.>>I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE, IT’S BEEN A GOOD LIFE, IT’S BEEN A REAL GOOD AND I WISH MUCH SUCCESS WITH THE SHOW.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>THANK YOU, RAMECA.>>ALL RIGHT, FOLKS AS WE HEAD TO BREAK I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT A WSRE-TV PROGRAMMING TREAT. THIS GRAND SLAM EVENT WILL BEGIN 3 P.M. SUNDAY APRIL SOUTH WITH OUR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA DOCUMENTARY. THEN GET READY FOR THE TWO-PART JACKIE ROBINSON FILM AIRING 8 P.M. NIGHTLY ON THE 11th AND 12th. WHAT BETTER WAY TO TEASE THIS LINE UP THAN TO GIVE YOU A SNEAK PEEK FROM JACKIE. ♪>>HE WAS AN UNCOMPROMISING CRUSADER WHO LIFTED HIMSELF UP FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO BECOME FOR A TIME ONE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED MEN IN AMERICA. HE WAS A SUE PREMIUMLY GIFTED ATHLETE WHOSE SKILLS ON THE BALL FIELD CAN’T RATED AMERICANS OF ALL RACES. AND IN THE PROCESS CHALLENGED THE PREJUDICE NOTIONS OF WHAT A BLACK MAN COULD ACHIEVE. HE WAS AN IMPATIENT STRONG WILLED AND SHARP TONGUED COMPETITOR. WHO NONETHELESS TURNED THE OTHER CHEEK TO THE THREATS AND ABUSE HE WOULD ENDURE. AND MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS. ♪>>BASES ARE LOADED AND I CAN SENSE A HOME RUN ON THE HORIZON, JOINING BASEBALL BROWN, WE HAVE TWO MAJOR LEAGUE BAY BALL PLAYERS THAT SHARE THEIR TALENT AND EXPERTISE ON AND OFF THE FIELD IMPACTING LIVES FOR THE BETTER. SO EXCITED TO HAVE HOSKEN POWELL AND GREG LITTON ON THE SHOW. HELLO, GENTLEMEN. WE HAVE A LOT TO GET TO HERE. HOSKEN, LET’S START WITH YOU. I HAPPEN TO SEE YOU ON THE BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA DVD. YOU HAVE SUCH A COLORFUL HISTORY , STRONG ROOTS HERE IN THE PENSACOLA AREA. ELABORATE A LITTLE BIT ON YOUR PENSACOLA ROOTS.>>MY PENSACOLA ROOTS STARTED FIVE YEARS OLD. I CAME HERE FROM SELMA, ALABAMA. I GREW UP IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF BRENT AND I WENT TO WOODHAM HIGH SCHOOL. OLIVE ELEMENTARY AND WEDGEWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOL. IT WAS JUST PRETTY MUCH THE — COMING UP AND A LOT OF KIDS THAT I CAME UP WITH WAS IN THE BRENT AREA. AND THAT’S WHERE A LOT OF THE PARENTS AND STUFF HAD GREAT BASEBALL PROGRAM BECAUSE BACK IN EARLY ’70s BRENT WAS ONE OF THE TOP BASEBALL PROGRAMS MANY THE AREA. — IN THE AREA. I JUST LOVE TO GO OUT AND LISTEN TO THE GUYS TALK ABOUT THE GAME.>>GREG, FORMERLY KNOWN OF COURSE, PENSACOLA JUNIOR COLLEGE WE KNOW IT NOW AS PENSACOLA STAT COLLEGE, TELL US A ABOUT YOUR EARLY DAYS PLAYING FOR THE SCHOOL.>>I TELL YOU WHAT, PJC COMING OUT OF I WENT TO WOODHAM HIGH SCHOOL AS WELL AS HOSKEN, YOU WILL MEET JURY CHARGEJ. IN A MINUTE, BUT THESE GUYS WERE KIND OF SET THE TABLES FOR ME, THEY WERE GUY IS LOOKED UP TO, KIND OF GAVE ME HOPE. BUT PLAYING AT PJC AT THE TIME I HAD ASPIRATIONS AND ALWAYS WANTED TO PLAY MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, I HOPED FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT BIGGER MAYBE A FOUR YEAR SCHOOL BUT LOOKING BACK ON IT, PJC WAS A GREAT SCHOOL ACADEMICALLY AND ATHLETICALLY AN A LOT OF PEOPLE WHEN I DIDN’T AT THE TIME EITHER REALIZE HOW INSTRUMENTAL OR ADVANTAGEOUS IT IS TO PLAY FOR A JUNIOR COLLEGE WHEN YOU’RE COMING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL, GIVES YOU A COUPLE OF YEARS TO MATURE, PLAY EVERY DAY, AND IT WAS A BIG BONUS FOR MY BASEBALL CAREER.>>THAT’S EXCEPTIONAL. SCOTT. TAKE US BACK BECAUSE REMEMBER THIS IS A JOURNEY.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE. LET’S TALK A ABOUT THE EARLY PENSACOLA FLYERS.>>THE FLYERS ARE A UNIQUE TEAM, IT HAS BEEN OUR MAIN STAY THOUGH OUR HISTORY. THE UNIQUE THING ABOUT THE FLYERS WERE IN 1927 THE YEAR OF THEIR INCEPTION THEY WERE CALLED THE PILOTS. CHANGED TO THE FLYERS SPELLED FLYERS. AND THEN LATER ON THEY BECAME FLIERS. AND THAT CHANGED BACK AND FORTH THROUGHOUT THEIR HISTORY. OF COURSE THE NEWSPAPER LOVE TO CALL THEM THE AVIATORS AS WELL. SO WE HAD MULTIPLE NAMES, BUT IT TOOK THAT MANY NAMES TO DESCRIBE THE TALENT TA THAT WAS PRODUCED THROUGH THE FLYERS AND OF COURSE ONE OF OUR ILLUSTRIOUS OWNERS AND MANAGERS WALLY DASCHE. CAN’T LEAVE HIM OUT, WALLY TO THIS DAY HOLDS THE HEARTS OF MOST PENSACOLA BASEBALL FANS.>>SPEAKING OF TALENT WE HAVE A PICTURE OF THE FLYERS UP HERE. WONDERFUL SHOT THERE. WE HAVE A LOT OF TALENT PASS THROUGH PENSACOLA. LET’S TALK BABE RUTH OR THE BABE.>>BABE WAS — CAME THROUGH WITH THE YANKEES IN BOTH 19 — 1924 AND ’29. YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK, HAVEN’T YOU IN>>YOU HAVE ALREADY SIGNED MY COPY, I’M GOOD.>>BOTH TIMES, THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT REALLY DREW A LOT OF ATTENTION FROM PENSACOLA FANS AND FROM FAR AND WIDE. WE HAD FOLKS FROM OUTSIDE OF PENSACOLA, AND THEY FILL THE STANDS OF LEGION FIELD TO SEE THE BABE.>>HE LOVED CHILDREN.>>HE DID LOVE CHILDREN. AT ONE POINT IN 129 HE SIGNED OVER A HUNDRED BASEBALLS AN GAVE THEM OUT TO YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE STANDS AND EVERY SO OFTEN ONE OF THOSE WILL TURN OUT IN SOMEBODY’S ATTIC. IT WAS JUST A PRECIOUS TIME. BUT IT WAS NOT JUST THE BRAIN Q3S TA CAME THROUGH, IT WAS — THE YANKEES THAT CAME THROUGH, IT WAS THE RED SOX, GIANTS AND INDIANS, PENSACOLA WAS A PLACE, A DESTINATION FOR SPRING EXHIBITION. BUT WE ALSO HAD NEGRO LEAGUE EXHIBITION.>>AMAZING. LET’S TALK ABOUT JACKIE ROBINSON FOR JUST A MOMENT BECAUSE DIDN’T HE COME THROUGH PENSACOLA?>>HE DID. JACKIE AND KANSAS CITY MONARCHS PLAYED AT LEGION FIELD AND THEY THROUGH DRY AS MANY COMING INTO PENSACOLA AS DID THE BABE. AND THEY PLAYED OUR VERY OWN PENSACOLA SEE GULLS.>>PHENOMENAL. HOSKEN, BACK TO YOU, FOR JUST A MOMENT HERE. BLUE JAYS AND THE TWINS, I KNOW YOU’RE AN HUMBLE MAN BUT MAKING THE LEAP FROM PENSACOLA TO MAJORS. HOW DID THAT IMPACT YOU? I KNOW THAT YOU KEPT YOUR HUMILITY, YOU STILL ARE QUITE HUMBLE THESE DAYS.>>BEING FROM THE SOUTH AND BEING THE COUNTRY BOY WHO LOVES TO HUNT AND FISH, AND BASEBALL WAS MY THIRD LOVE. COME TO HUNTING AND FISHING AND WHEN YOU LOVE A GAME YOU PUT EVERYTHING INTO IT AND A LOT OF THINGS GO ON AROUND THE GAME THAT YOU WOULDN’T KNOW BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING INTO IT AND BACK THEN, I WAS YOUNG AND JUST LOVED BASEBALL.>>DID YOU START OFF WITH THE BLUE JAYS FIRST AND TWINS TELL US ABOUT THE PROGRESSION HERE.>>I WAS DRAFTED BY MINNESOTA. AND I SIGNED — I WAS DRAFTED FIRST BY PITTSBURGH BACK WHEN WE HAD JANUARY AND JUNE DRAFT, PITCHED 18 IN THE COUNTRY, I WAS T AT CHIPOLA JR. COLLEGE, JUNIOR COLLEGE YOU GET TO DO A LOT OF GROWING. AND I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE DRAFT, I WAS JUST PLAYING THE GAME AND JUST GOING ON AND JUST ENJOYING MYSELF. AND THEN THE OPPORTUNITY CAME AND I DIDN’T THINK MUCH OF IT. AND ONE THING ABOUT MY COACH TOLD ME, HE SAID THERE’S NO RUSH, JUST PLAY THE GAME AND ENJOY AND IF IT’S FOR YOU IT WILL COME TO YOU. I DIDN’T MUCH OF IT AND I CAME ALONG AND THEN MINNESOTA DRAFTED ME. THEN I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM FRED WATERS.>>HOW DID THAT GO?>>THAT WAS THE ONE THING THAT I REALLY WANTED TO HEAR. I HAVE ALWAYS PLAYED AGAINST FRED WHEN HE WAS HERE COACHING HIGH SCHOOL AND HAD THE GREAT TEAMS AND WE USED TO PLAY OUR HARDEST TO TRY TO BEAT THEM BUT THEY ALWAYS HAD THAT LITTLE EDGE. AND I ALWAYS WONDERED HOW IT WOULD BE TO PLAY FOR A COACH AT THE CALIBER OF FRED. AND IT CAME ABOUT AND HE CALLED ME AND SAID YOUNG FELLOW, MINNESOTA HAS DRAFTED YOU AND WE LIKE TO HAVE YOU PLAY FOR US. AND IT WAS — WHERE DID I SIGN FROM THERE BECAUSE AS LONG AS IT WAS FRED, I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE GAME, KIBE CARE ABOUT THE GAME. JUST BASEBALL, EVEN THE GUYS HE HAD ON HIS TEAM, THE WAY THEY CARRIED THEMSELVES THEY CARRIED THEMSELVES LIKE BASEBALL PLAYERS.>>RIGHT.>>DIGNITY, CLASS.>>YES.>>WE’RE GOING TO TALK MORE ABOUT YOUR HISTORY IN A MOMENT BUT GREG LET ME SCOOT OVER HERE TO YOUR CORNER, THE GIANTS AND THE MARINERS. I LOVE YOUR ATTIRE BY THE WAY. SO TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY. TO THE MAJORS.>>TELL YOU WHAT, I WAS LIKE HOSKEN, YOU GROW UP PLAYING BALL AND I WAS AT PJC AND PLAYING, THEY STARTED TALKING ABOUT I MIGHT GET DRAFTED AND ENDED UP GETTING DRAFTED BY THE GIANTS, I TELL PEOPLE NOW I SIGNED THE CONTRACT TO GO OFF TO PLAY MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND I HAD NO IDEA — I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, ROOKIE BALL, A BALL, I DIDN’T KNOW, I JUST KNEW I WAS GOING TO LAY AND THAT’S ALL WE WANTED TO DO. IT WASN’T ABOUT THE MONEY, IT WAS JUST LOVED IT AND SO I SIGNED, WENT OFF TO PLAY MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL AND FOR THOSE WATCHING, MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS A TOUGH LIFE. IT’S A LONG, IT’S NO MONEY, THAT’S NOT WHY YOU PLAY BUT IT’S BARELY BEING ABLE TO EAT MONEY. AND I SPENT FOUR AND A HALF YEARS IN THE MINOR LEAGUE AND THAT WAS A LONG TOUGH JOURNEY, A LOT OF FUN AS WELL BUT I WAS FORTUNATE TO MAKE IT TO THE MAJOR LEAGUE, PLAYED IN SAN FRANCISCO AND WITH THE MARINERS AN EVEN BOSTON SO I WAS VERY BLESSED.>>I KNOW YOU WERE. SCOTT, COMING BACK TO YOU, I KNOW WITH YOUR BOOK YOU HAVE COVERED BOTH OF THESE FINE MEN AND NUMEROUS OTHER PLAYERS. LET’S TALK ABOUT SACMO, LEWIS ARMSTRONG. A LOT DIDN’T REALIZE HE REALLY LOVEDDED THE GAME.>>LOUIS ARMSTRONG WAS AS MUCH A FAN OF BASEBALL AS HE ENJOYED HIS ENTERTAINMENT CAREER. IN FACT, IN HIS HOME CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, HE SPONSORED A TEAM CALLED THE SECRET NINE. DURING WORLD WAR II, AS MANY ENTERTAINERS DID, THEY WOULD JOIN THE USO AND ENTERTAIN OUR TROOPS. LOUIS ARMSTRONG CAME TO PENSACOLA TO ENTERTAIN OUR TROOPS, OF COURSE HE WAS NOT ALLOWED MANY THE REGULAR USO CLUBS, HE MET DOWN IN OUR DEVILLIERS STREET AREA, BUT ONE THING HE DID, HE MADE SURE THAT HE FOUND BASEBALL HERE IN PENSACOLA AND THERE AT NAS WHERE THE PICTURE WAS DEPICTING HE WENT OUT TO WATCH OUR MILITARY PLAY ONE OF THEIR GAMES. YOU COULDN’T KEEP HIM AWAY FROM BASEBALL.>>NOT AT ALL. INTERESTING TIDBIT OF HISTORY THERE. GREG. FAMOUS ANNOUNCER, TOM CHEEK. ANY MEMORIES OF HIM?>>I TELL YOU MY MEMORIES OF TOM CHEEK IS JUST NOTHING BUT JUST A FINE, FINE MAN. I HAD MET HIM THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS HERE BECAUSE HIS SON PLAYED AT PJC AS WELL AND PLAYED WITH SOME FRIENDS OF MINE SO I HAD KNOWN TOM FOR A WHILE. AND JUST A QUALITY MAN. SHAME HE DIED A LITTLE TOO SOON. BUT MY RECOLLECTION IS TOM WAS JUST A FINE GENTLEMAN, GREAT PERSONALITY AND JUST GOOD ALL AROUND GUY.>>AND HE’S SORELY MISSED. HE REALLY S. ALL RIGHT, HOSKEN, WE SAW BASEBALL CARD UP A FEW MOMENTS AGO, YOU WITH THE TWINS, LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR DAYS WITH THE TWINS. GIVE US SOME GREAT MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE WITH THE TWINS.>>>>MU KAYS WITH TWINS WAS GREAT. I WAS INTRODUCED TO BASEBALL, I CAME IN WITH ROD CAROUT, AND HE WAS A DIFFERENT GUY, HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST HITTERS I EVER SEEN AND WELL CAME THROUGH BASEBALL BUT HE TOOK THE YOUNG GUYS UNDER THEIR ARM, HE REALLY TALKED TO YOU. IN MINNESOTA, THEY’RE LOOKING FOR MORE MATUREITY THAN NORMALLY BECAUSE IF YOU CAN CARRY YOURSELF IN DEALING WITH PEOPLE AND EVERYTHING BECAUSE BEING FROM THE SOUTH AND GOING TO MINNESOTA, THEY DID NOT LIKE THE SOUTHERN BOYS. AND IT WAS — IT WAS HARD FOR ME BECAUSE MY ROOKIE YEAR WAS THE YEAR THEY GOT GENE MOCK AND DOING PLATOON SYSTEM AND RIVERIA WERE THE GUYS I SHARED RIGHT FIELD WITH AND HE HAD RECORDS AND STUFF AND IT WAS A DIFFERENT STORY. BUT YOU KNOW, JUST GOING OUT AND PLAY AND SEEING COUPLE OF GUYS THAT — AND FRED WOULD ALWAYS CALL ME, SAY YOUNG FELLOW, HOW ARE YOU DOING? DOING GREAT, FRED. HE SAID WELL JUST HANG IN THERE. HE SAID IT’S A LOT BETTER THERE THAN IT IS HERE. WE USED TO LAUGH. HE ALWAYS — HE ALWAYS KEPT UP WITH YOU. AND IF YOU WAS DOING GOOD HE WOULD CALL YOU, IF YOU WERE DOING BAD, ASK YOU HOW YOU’RE DOING. LITTLE THINGS LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. BUT HE EXPLAINED THE GAME TO ME AND TOLD ME JUST PLAY HARD AND THAT’S WHAT I DID AND GREAT THINGS HAPPENED FOR ME. AND MY PLAN FOR — WAS ANOTHER THING IN ITSELF.>>I’M SURE IT WAS. AND I KNOW I’M CAUGHT UP IN EMOTION JUST LISTENING TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. ALL RIGHT, GREG, LET ME TURN OVER TO YOUR SIDE HERE FOR JUST A MOMENT. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE GIANTS JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE. IF YOU COULD GAVE YOUNG PERSON NOW COMING THROUGH THE RANKS MAYBE SOMEBODY IN THE MINOR LEAGUE WHAT WOULD IT BE AS FAR AS ENCOURAGEMENT WAS CONCERNED THAT>>ENCOURAGEING SOMETHING YOUNG IN THE MINOR LEAGUE, I WOULD TELL THEM THE BIGGEST THING IS TO KEEP BASEBALL IN ITS PROPER PLACE. AS A YOUNG MAN, GOING THROUGH THE MINOR LEAGUE SYSTEM WITH THE GIANTS, I GOT CAUGHT UP IN IT MYSELF WHERE YOU START CHASING BASEBALL AND YOU PUT BASEBALL UP HERE AND I DID IN MYLIFE. WHEN YOU PUT BASEBALL TOO HIGH, FOR ME PERSONALLY IT’S MORE GOD FAMILY AND THEN BASEBALL.>>WONDERFUL.>>AND A I GOT CAUGHT UP IN IT AND I WOULD TELL THEM TO KEEP THAT IN PERSPECTIVE, WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN, IT’S SILL A GAME, HAVE FUN, DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN CHASING IT AND THINKING THAT’S WHO YOU ARE ARE AND WHERE YOUR HAPPINESS WILL COME FROM BECAUSE I REMEMBER WHEN I GOT TO THE MAJOR LEAGUE, THAT THE FIRST THING I NOTICED WITH WAS NOTHING CHANGED, I WAS STILL THE SAME PERSON.>>WONDERFUL WORDS OF WISDOM. AND HOSKEN, SO GREAT HAVING YOU IN THE SEGMENT, WE’LL SEE YOU AGAIN, I KNOW IT’S AN EMOTIONAL THING. SO FOLKS, IT’S TIME TO CLEAR YOUR BUSY SCHEDULES FOR A PROGRAMMING EVENT UNLIKE ANY OTHER. WSRE GRAND SLAM EVENT WILL BEGIN 3 P.M. SUNDAY APRIL 10TH WITH OUR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA DOCUMENTARY. THEN GET READY FOR THE TWO-PART JACKIE ROBINSON FILM AIRING 8 P.M. NIGHTLY ON THE 11th AND 12th. SO AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT ROBINSON WAS THAT HE PLAYED AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS CLIP FROM THE FILM.>>MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, WHAT AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE WANTED FROM AMERICA IS A SEAT AT THE TABLE. JACKIE ROBINSON KNEW, ONCE HE GOT IN THE DOOR, YOU COULD KNOCK DOWN ALL THE THESE CONVENTIONS. FIRST YOU GET OUT THERE AND PROVE YOU CAN PLAY. THEN YOU CAN START TALKING BACK TO YOU WERES, THEN YOU START DEALING WITH WRITERS ON YOUR TERMS INSTEAD OF THEIR TERMS. THEN YOU START FIGHTING TO MAKE SURE THE HOTELS ARE INTEGRATED. AND OVER TIME, JACKIE ROBINSON HAS PUSHED US FORWARD, FOR HIM THERE WAS NO SATISFACTION OF SIMPLY BEING ALLOWED TO ENTER THE ROOM.>>THE MOMENTUM IS HIGH AS OUR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA JOURNEY CONTINUES. DURING THIS SEGMENT WE’LL HEAR MORE FROM BASEBALL AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN SCOTT BROWN AND OF COURSE GREG LITTON, PLUS WE’RE HAPPY TO ADD ANOTHER FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER TO THE MIX, J.J. CANNON, MAN WHO ALSO HAS STRONG TIES TO PENSACOLA STATE COLLEGE. SUCH AN HONOR TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE. I AM IN AWE OF YOUR PRESENCE, GENTLEMEN. SO LET THIS DISCUSSION BEGIN HERE. J.J., LET’S TALK TO YOU FIRST. I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE STRONG TIES TO THE PENSACOLA AREA. TALK ABOUT YOUR DAYS AND WHAT WAS FORMALLY KNOWN AS PJC. WE NOW KNOW IT AS PENSACOLA STATE COLLEGE.>>THEY WERE BRIEF, I SPENT TWO YEARS THERE, MY FAMILY CAME FROM A MILITARY BACKGROUND. SO WE MOVED TO PENSACOLA DURING THE VIETNAM DAYS. MY MOTHER’S FAMILY IS FROM HERE SO WE MOVED HERE DURING THE VIETNAM DAYS, IT BROUGHT ME TO PENSACOLA. ARE BASICALLY. MY TWO YEARS THERE WAS GOOD. I ENJOYED THE STAY THERE, I CAME TO THINK THAT I WAS GOING TO THE PLAY A COUPLE OF SPORTS, I ORIGINALLY CAME OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL PLAYING THREE SPORTS, I HAD SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS TO SEVERAL UNIVERSITIES. NORTH CAROLINA.>>WHICH?>>BASEBALL, BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL. I HAD SCHOLARSHIPS IN ALL THREE AT ONE TIME.>>AMAZING.>>I CHOSE PENSACOLA JUNIOR COLLEGE, THEY THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY. WHERE IS PENSACOLA, WHAT’S THERE. I SAID JUNIOR COLLEGE. THEY SAID WHAT? SO THEY JUST TOLD ME WHERE I WENT TO SCHOOL JUST ENROLL, LET US KNOW. SO I DID. I GOT IN CONTACT WITH COACH KISNER. AND HE TOLD ME TO COME OUT AND TRY OUT. THEY WATCH ME TRY OUT ONE DAY, THEY HAD THE BASEBALL TEAM SITTING IN THE STANDS WHILE I TOOK BATTING PRACTICE. FROM THAT POINT I SIGNED MY FIRST — SCHOLARSHIP.>>WONDERFUL.>>IN ONE DAY SO I SIGNED AS A PITCHER. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE A PITCHER. ENDED UP BEING A OUTFIELDER. SO I GOT DRAFTED FIRST ROUND WHICH WAS SURPRISING TO ME. I WAS ONE OF THE PEOPLE LIKE HOSKEN MENTIONED EARLIER, IT WASN’T — I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE DRAFT, KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE DRAFT OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, I WAS JUST WILL TO HAVE A SCHOLARSHIP IN PACE BALL TRYING TO GET AN EDUCATION, DIDN’T KNOW WHICH WAY I WAS GOING YET. BUT BASEBALL IS ONE OF MY PASSIONS AND I JUST ENJOY BEING THERE.>>ALL RIGHT, GREG, LET’S COME BACK TO YOU FOR A MOMENT. INTERESTING THE TIDBIT OF HISTORY HERE. THAT YOU ONCE PLAYED FOR THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS. ENLIGHTEN US.>>THAT WAS A FUN SUMMER I WAS PLAYING AT PJC AND AT THAT TIME AFTER MY FRESHMAN YEAR I WAS TOO OLD FOR THE SUMMER LEAGUES, THE BRENT PAL PARK THAT HOSKEN MENTIONED BUT THERE WAS NOWHERE ELSE FOR ME TO PLAY AND THE PENSACOLA SEA GULLS THEY JUST CALLED THEM IN THE OLD DAYS SEMIPRO SO I AND A COUPLE OF BUDDIES PLAYED BAWL WITH THE SEA GULLS THAT SUMMER, WITHOUT A DOUBT ONE OF THE FUNNEST SUMMERS EVER PLAYING BASEBALL, WE TRAVELED THE SOUTHEAST, THEODORE, ALABAMA TO PASCAGOULA, MISSISSIPPI, WE PLAID OUR HOME GAMES CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, IT WAS JUST A GREAT TIME. BRAIN DEAD HERE BUT PEARL PURVIS, I REMEMBER COACH PEARL HE COACHED THE SEA GALLS, IT — SEA GULLS SEEMS LIKE FREER. FUN SUMMER.>>INTERESTING THING ABOUT THAT WAS YOU BECAME PART OF ALMOST A REVERSE INTEGRATION.>>THAT’S WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY.>>THE SEA GULLS WERE OUR PREMIERE NEGRO LEAGUE TEAM FROM LATE ’30s EARLY ’40s ON AND YOU BEING ONE OF THE FIRST NON-BLACKS TO PLAY FOR THE SEA GULLS.>>WE HAD A COUPLE OF US AND I TELL YOU WHAT, IT WAS KIND OF LIKE IN REVERSE BECAUSE THE WHITES JUST MAJORITY POPULATION, MOST OF THE TEAMS IT’S MAJORITY WHITES AND IT WAS REVERSED, EVERYWHERE WE WENT BUT I TELL YOU WHAT, THAT’S SOME OF THE BEST AND FUNNEST BASEBALL I EVER HAD.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CROWDS. SCOTT, YOU AND I HAD A CONVERSATION, WEEKS AGO REGARDING THIS. BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS WE WOULD SEMEN AND WOMEN DRESSED IN SUITS.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>LADIES ADISTRICT ATTORNEYED IN THEIR SUNDAY ATTIRE. SO TALK — ADORNED IN THEIR SUNDAY ATTIRE. TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENTIATION, ATTIRE BACK THEN AS OPPOSED TO NOW. SHARE STORIES.>>. COMING TO A BASEBALL GAME WAS A COMMUNITY EVENT. AS IT IS NOW. BUT IT BROUGHT OUT EVERYONE IN THEIR FINEST. WHEN YOU CAME TO WATCH BASEBALL, ESPECIALLY ON THE WEEKENDS, YOU DRESSED IN YOUR SUNDAY ATTIRE. MEN IN COATS AND LADIES IN THEIR HATS AND IT WAS A PLACE TO BE SEEN. THAT WAS THE PLACE TO DRESS AND SHOW OFF. BUT IT WAS BASEBALL THAT BROUGHT EVERYONE TOGETHER. BUT THE CREW UNIQUE THING ABOUT PENSACOLA IS WHETHER IT WAS THE FLYERS OR THE SEA GULLS, WHICH ACTUALLY SHARED FIELD SPACE A AT LEGION FIELD DOWNTOWN, ON G AND GARDEN, YOU HAD EQUAL FAN ATTENDANCE FROM THE WHITE COMMUNITY THE AND THE BLACK COMMUNITY, ALL TOGETHER WATCHING BASEBALL. IT WAS THE GREAT UNIFIER.>>AND THEN SOME TIMES CHILDREN WOULD BE DROPPED OFF AT THE BASEBALL PARK, RIGHT?>>CAN YOU IMAGINE DOING THAT TODAY? BUT MANY PENSACOLA CHILDREN, THAT WAS THE PLACE TO GO ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON, PARENTS HAD THEIR SHOPPING TO DO AND YOU DROPPED YOUR KIDS OFF AT THE BALLPARK AND PICKED THEM UP WHEN IT WAS OVER. FULLY, FULLY APPRECIATIVE THAT THEY WOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF, NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN. THE COMMUNITY WAS AROUND THEM. THEY WATCHED OUT FOR THEM.>>THEY SURE DID. SPEAKING OF OUR YOUTH, PENSACOLA YOUTH BASEBALL, YOU TWO FINE GENTLEMEN HERE DID EITHER OF YOU HAVE A HAND IN THAT OR ARE YOU WORKING IN THAT RESPECT? IN ANY REALM, PENSACOLA YOUTH BASEBALL?>>I JUST HAD A SMALL EXPERIENCE USUALLY BECAUSE I WAS PROFESSIONAL BALL PLAYER, WHAT WE DID ALONG WITH HOSKEN POWELL AND OURSELVES, WE PARTICIPATED IN MOST OF THE CLINICS, WE — I SPECIFICALLY GO TO SCHOOLS LIKE WOODHAM SCHOOL I WENT TO, WENT TO CATHOLIC A COUPLE OF TIMES, PHS COUPLE OF TIMES AND JUST WORKED — JUST WORK WITH THE PLAYERS TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK. BUT AS FAR AS BASEBALL CAMPS AN PROGRAMS, I DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO DO THAT AS OFTEN HERE BECAUSE I WAS SO REMOVED BEING IN BASEBALL AND OTHER THINGS DURING THE WINTERTIME AND STUFF LIKE THAT WITH PROFESSIONAL BALL. BUT I MY MOST ENJOYABLE TIME WAS THE FRED WATERS CLINICS WE WOULD HAVE, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE PLACE, EITHER OUT OF STATE COME AND PARTICIPATE IN THE FRED WATER CLINIC AND THEY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN — FOR ME, THEY HELP ME OUT ALSO, NOT ONLY HELP THE KIDS BUT ME TO LEARN AND REMEMBER WHAT I WAS LEARNING, AS I WAS GROWING AS A BASEBALL PLAYER,>>LOOK AT THE YOUNGSTERS.>>YES, THOSE ARE GOOD DAYS. GOOD DAYS.>>GREG, DON SUFFICIENT TON, WHEN I SAY THAT NAME, — SUTTON, WHAT COMES TO MIND?>>A GREAT PITCHER, VERY UNDERAPPRECIATED. THE FACT THAT IT TOOK HIM AS LONG TO GET IN THE HALL OF FAME AS IT DID IS REALLY A SHAME THOUGH WELL DESERVED. BUT I TELL YOU MY FIRST THOUGHT OF DON WAS JUST WHEN I GOT CALLED UP WITH THE GIANTS IN 1989, I HAD NEVER MET DON. BUT HE WAS THE ANNOUNCER WITH THE BRAVES AND HE WHEN I CAME IN HE CAME DOWN INTRODUCED HIMSELF, WE MADE AND BECAME REAL QUICK FRIENDS AND HE ALWAYS, ALWAYS WHEREVER I WAS PLAYING, ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT PENSACOLA, WOULD TALK ABOUT ME IN VERY POSITIVE LIGHT AND SO DON AND I HAVE REMAINED FRIENDS FOR A LISTENING TIME, SINCE THEN BUT I APPRECIATED THE WAY HE WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO SEEK ME OUT AND REACH OUT AS FRIENDS.>>DID THE SAME FOR ME. MY FIRST YEAR MAJOR LEAGUES I WAS AT HOUSTON ASTROS AN DON SUTTON WITH THE DODGERS I REMEMBER WHEN HI CAME UP TO ME, I DIDN’T — I KNEW WHO HE WAS BUT DIDN’T KNOW HIM PERSONALLY, HE WALKED UP TO ME WHEN I WAS STRETCHING AND SAID HEY, HOME BOY.>>NOT INTRODUCTION.>>HE’S I’M TAKING CARE OF YOU, I’LL PITCH TO YOU. I SAID THAT’S BALL DOWN THE MIDDLE. I SAID OKAY THAT’S THE FIRST TIME I MET HIM SO NEXT DAY I PLAYED IN THE THE GAME AND HE THROUGH ME THREE FAST BALLS DOWN THE MILLION DOLLAR, I TOOK TWO BECAUSE I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT THEN I HIT ONE ROUNDED TO SECOND BASE, NEXT DAY HE SLAPPED ME ON THE SHOULDER AND SAID YOU MY HOME BOY, TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU, HOME BOY FROM PENSACOLA.>>HE WAS COMING, BECAUSE YOU DON’T BELIEVE IT.>>SOMETIMES YOU DON’T.>>BUT HE’S A GOOD MAN.>>SCOTT, WE HAVE AFTER PENSACOLA PLAYERS P PREED GROW, YOU TALK ABOUT THE AWESOME PLAY PLAYERS IN YOUR BOOK, ASSIGN FROM THE GENTLEMEN ON THE PROGRAM TODAY ARE THERE ANY OTHER NAMES THAT STAND OUT FOR YOU IN>>THAT’S A DIFFICULT THING TO SAY BECAUSE THE MOMENT I GET STARTED WE’RE GOING TO LEAVE SOME OUT BUT YOU HAVE THINK ABOUT STOVER MCELWAYNE KEVIN SOSHA PRESTON HANNAH, WE’LL SIT WITH AKRON CHAMBERS HERE IN A BIT. WE HAVE GREG OF COURSE AND TALL IMAGINE NUNNER I, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE. FOLKS BASEBALL AND MORE BASEBALL, MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS IS A DREAM COMBINATION. WSRE IS READY TO GRANT THAT WISH. SO WE’RE GEARING UP FOR A GRAND SLAM EVENT STARTING 3 P.M. SUNDAY APRIL 10TH WITH OUR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA DOCUMENTARY. THEN GET READY FOR TWO PART JACKIE ROBINSON FILM AIRING 8 P.M. NIGHTLY ON THE 11th AND ST. F. YOU LOVE BASEBALL A ACTION WATCH THIS SNIPPET OF JACKIE REIN BONN SON FROM THE 19 — ROBINSON FROM THE 19494 MAJOR LEAGUE ALL STAR GAME.>>SCENE OF THE 16th ANNUAL ALL STAR GAME. JACKIE ROBINSON UP. JACKIE RIFLES A SHOT INTO LEFT FIELD. THE FIRST NEGRO PLAYER TO APPEAR IN AND ALL STAR GAME, HE DOESN’T STOLE UNTIL HE FLIES INTO SECOND WITH A DOUBLE.>>WE ARE GLAD TO HAVE SCOTT BROWN AND J.J. CANNON BACK DURING THIS SEG. PLUS WE’RE THRILLED TO INTRODUCE ANOTHER FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER, ONE WHO WILL SHED LIGHT ONSETTING GOALS OVERCOMING STRUGGLES AND HITTING HOME RUNS IN LIFE. I’M TALKING ABOUT THE ONE, THE ONLY ADRON CHAMBERS. WELCOME TO THE SHOW.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.>>I NEEDED THAT INTRO RIGHT THERE.>>SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR UPBRINGING YOUR CHILDHOOD STRUGGLES. AND HOW IT’S MADE YOU APPRECIATE WHERE YOU ARE. EVEN MORE SO.>>I GUESS COMING UP MY MOTHER RAMIRA, CHARACTER, TRY TO THINK ABOUT –>>SHE’LL BE OKAY.>>RIGHT. BUT I DIDN’T SEE A STRUGGLE, BECAUSE SHE MAMA HAD EIGHT KIDS, ALL OF US EVEN NOW TO THIS DAY YOU HAD THE LOOK AT IT AS SUCCESS, BROTHERS IN MILITARY, SISTER IS OFFICE NICHING SCHOOL SO I DIDN’T SEE IT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE’RE HAVING SO MANY BROTHERS AN SISTERS WE HAD A SEPARATION, WE HAD MY BROTHER 44 YEARS OLD AND I’M 29 YEARS OLD. SO BASEBALL DEFINITELY WAS A WAY FOR ME TO FIND SOME ATTENTION AND MEET OTHER GUYS THAT WERE MY AGE.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT PENSACOLA STATE COLLEGE. THERE IS A FINE THREAD WITH SEVERAL PLAYERS HERE TONIGHT REGARDING THAT. HOW IS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THE COLLEGE?>>IT WAS WONDERFUL. BILL HA PILL TON, DOUG MARTIN, THEY GAVE ME OPPORTUNITY, CAME AND SHOWED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO COME PLAY BASEBALL AT PENSACOLA JUNIOR COLLEGE AT THE TIME. IT WAS WONDERFUL FOR ME. I WAS HAPPY TO BE HOME AND BE ABLE TO PLAY ON THE ELITE LEVEL I GUESS YOU COULD SAY HERE IN MY HOMETOWN, PJC WAS VERY NICE FOR ME.>>J.J., THERE IS A FIRST FOR YOU IN RELATION TO PJC. TELL US WHAT THAT IS.>>REALLY DIDN’T PUT A BIG THOUGHT ABOUT IT BUT UNTIL NOW LOOKING IN HINDSIGHT I REALIZE I DIDN’T REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE BUT I WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO BE DRAFTED BY A PROFESSIONAL TEAM AND ACTUALLY GO TO THE MAJOR LEAGUES WHICH I’M VERY PROUD OF THAT BUT AT THE TIME IT WAS JUST PLAYING, I REALLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE DRAFT STRUCTURE OR THINKING LIKE THAT. I WAS REALLY FOCUSED ON JUST EDUCATION AND ENJOYING PLAYING BASEBALL WITH THE GUYS I WAS AROUND, IT WAS A VERY GOOD OPPORTUNITY FOR ME AND JUST — MADE MY LIFE.>>NOW SCOTT, LET ME SHIFT GEARS A MOLT, YOU HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT BOTH OF THESE FINE GENTLEMEN AND HAVING BOTH OF THEM, I KNOW THEY INSPIRE YOU A LOT.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>ELABORATE ON THAT. PLEASE.>>THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT PENSACOLA AND PENSACOLA BASEBALL THAT IS ALSO BEEN A COMMON THREAD. AS I HAVE BEEN INTERVIEWING THESE GENTLEMEN OVER THE YEARS FOR THE BOOK AND THE DOCUMENTARY WITH WSRE, I WOULD OFTEN ASK WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE THING THAT TOOK YOU TO THAT NEXT LEVEL, O TO TAKE YOU PAST ANY INHIBITIONS YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE PROS? AND SO OFTEN THEY SAID, THOSE WHO WENT BEFORE US WERE NEVER REMISS TO COME BACK AND GIVE BACK IN THE COMMUNITY. AND FOR J.J., ADRON, FOR OTHERS THAT’S SOMETHING THEY HAVE DONE, THEY HAVE GIVEN BACK TO THE YOUTH OF THIS COMMUNITY AND INSPIRED THEM TO GO FARTHER AS WELL.>>ALL RIGHT. ADRON, I’M GOING TO PUT YOU ON THE SPOT BECAUSE IN THE GREEN ROOM WE TALKED ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW IN THE COMMUNITY. WITH YOUNGSTERS.>>IT’S A LOT MORE THAT I WANT TO DO. IT’S KIND OF CONVERSATION EXCITES ME, BASEBALL HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO A LOT OF THINGS FOR ME. MY FAMILY THE PEOPLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, MY COMMUNITY. AND SEEING THAT AND GROWING UP IN THAT’S SPECIALLY HERE IN OUR HOMETOWN OF PENSACOLA, IS LIKE WHERE IS THE BASEBALL? ARRIVE PAST BRENT AND THESE PLACES AND YOU SEE THE KIDS THAT STILL WANT TO PARTICIPATE BUT AT THE SAME TIME I REMEMBER COMING DOWN W. STREET AND BASEBALL FIELDS ARE FILLED WITH KIDS AND FAMILY, ADULTS, WANTING TO BE PART OF THE GAME. SO I HAVE A LOT OF GREAT IDEAS. WE DID A CAMP LAST WEEK AND THERE’S MORE THINGS LIKE THAT. THE BIGGEST THING FOR ME IS ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, IS THE LESSON BEING TAUGHT. WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SHOW THEM. SO MOST DEFINITELY J.J., GOOD SEEING HIM TODAY. AND A LOT OF OTHER GUYS IN PENSACOLA, I WANT TO KIND OF GET ON BOARD WITH THIS THING AND SEE WHAT BASEBALL REALLY HAS TO OFFER FOR US.>>HAVE THE TWO OF YOU EVER WORKED TOGETHER, COLLABORATED?>>WE NEED TO.>>NOT REALLY, NOT YET.>>I MET HIM WHEN HE WAS COMING UP I THINK I WORKED YOU OUT AT PSC –>>PJC.>>PHS TOO.>>WE WORKED OUT THERE WHEN I FIRST MET HIM COMING UP IN THE MINOR LEAGUES AND HOSKEN POWELL INTRODUCED ME.>>THAT’S WHAT WE DO, TRY TO GIVE BACK, ONE GUY INTRO INTRODUCE THIS GUY AND HELP BOOST ALONG MORE INFORMATION FEEDING INFORMATION TO THEM SO THAT’S WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING MY LIFE, GIVING BACK BECAUSE THINGS THAT WERE GIVEN TO ME I FEEL I NEED THE SHARE THAT WITH THEM. SO I HAVE BEEN DOING THAT SO WE WERE DOING CLINICS FOREVER, SINCE WE WERE YOUNG. IN MY YOUNGER PLAYING DAYS, IT DISAPPEARED. DISAPPEARED. SO I BECAME A MENTOR.>>WHERE — WHY IS IT –>>PAST PRESENT FUTURE.>>EXACTLY. AND TO ADD ON, JUST A LITTLE BIT TO THAT, GEEING JOHNNY JOE LEWIS AND TAUGHT ME AT HIGH SCHOOL, SO — AT PENSACOLA HIGH SCHOOL. SEEING THAT GENERATION CHANGE AND, I DON’T LIKE SEEING WHAT I SEE WITH THE COMMUNITY HOW BASEBALL IS BEING REPRESENTED, BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU SEE THAT IT’S THERE, WE HAVE THE — I DIDN’T KNOW BABE RUTH CAME THROUGH PENSACOLA. THOSE ARE THE THING’S>>SHOWS LIKE THIS. THE PLATFORM.>>THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT’S NEEDED. WE NEED TO KNOW THAT KIND OF INFORMATION, THAT’S WHAT KIDS WANT TO KNOW. IT GAVE ME GOOSE BUMPS SITTING BACK THERE KNOWING JACKIE ROBINSON PLAYED AT THE SAME PLACE. AND THAT’S THE INFORMATION WE NEED.>>I WORKED AT LAKEVIEW FROM BAPTIST AND I MET THE KIDS WITH THE A HOUSED 10, 12 BOYS AT THAT TIME TIME, I TOOK THEM TO THE WAHOO GAMES BECAUSE THESE ARE KIDS THAT NEED INSPIRATION. AND BASEBALL, THE ATMOSPHERE, THE — THE ONE DAY YOU CAN SEE A DREAM, A AND YOU KNOW, SO I THINK THOSE KINDS OF THINGS ARE NEEDED IN PENSACOLA BECAUSE WE’RE LOSING OUR KIDS.>>SPEAKING OF THE WAHOO, SCOTT BACK TO YOU FOR JUST A MOMENT, PROGRESSION, RIGHT? QUINT STUDER AND THE MONUMENTAL THINGS HE HAS DONE HERE. TALK ABOUT THE WAHOOS.>>THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF PENSACOLA’S BASEBALL VISION. AND FOR QUINT STUDER WHO WAS NOT ORIGINALLY FROM PENSACOLA AND COME IN AND CATCH THAT VISION YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW DEEP AND THICK IT IS. SO THE WAHOO, THE PENSACOLA BLUE WAHOOS, WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS NOT JUST GREAT BASEBALL ENTERTAINMENT, IT IS, BUT IT’S NOT JUST THAT. IT’S A FOUNDATION TO STAND ON FOR OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY, A PLACE TO COME TOGETHER, TO RALLY AROUND, ALSO IT’S A PLACE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AS J.J. AND ADRON JUST SAID TO BE INSPIRED TO GO BEYOND THEIR PLACE RIGHT NOW. TO SAY, LET’S GO FARTHER.>>WE SEE THE PROGRESSION OF BAY FRONT PARK RIGHT THERE. ISN’T THAT PHENOMENAL? QUITE AMAZING.>>THE ONLY THING I DON’T SEE THERE, RAMECA IS YOU.>>I WILL BE THERE. MAYBE WE’LL ALL GO TOGETHER TO A GAME, NOT A BAD IDEA. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE LINK WITH THE CINCINNATI REDS. ELABORATE ON THAT.>>CINCINNATI REDS HAVE BEEN OUR FIRST PARENT CLUB AND WE HOPE WE HAVE A LONG CAREER WITH THEM, WITH THE PENSACOLA BLUE WAHOS, WE HAVE A ONE YEAR CONTRACT ORIGINALLY AND IMMEDIATELY SIGN S TENSION FOUR YEARS BECAUSE P THEY SAW THE QUALITY OF THE FANS, THE QUALITY OF THE FAN BASE. AND THE DESIRE FOR BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA.>>WE ARE DOING SUCH WONDERFUL THINGS IN THE PENSACOLA AREA, AREN’T WE?>>YES, WE ARE.>>YOU LOOK AT IT TOO, I’M JUST JUMPING IN RIGHT NOW BUT WE HAVE THE ROY JONES AND EMMITT SMITH, SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE –>>NOT ONLY SPFT OF BASEBALL.>>LIKE YOU SAID, IT’S THE FAMILY, PENSACOLA IS THE FIRST SETTLEMENT,.>>CITY OF FIVE FLAGS.>>THERE’S A LOT OF HISTORY HERE, NOT FORGOTTEN BUT IT’S NOT — EVERYBODY DON’T KNOW I GUESS I CAN SAY IT LIKE THAT. SO BASEBALL IS JUST ANOTHER WAY FOR US TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS THAT.>>EVERYBODY THE SAME WAY, YOU SEE THE ROY JONES AND THE PHIL HYATT PRESTON HAMILTON DOING SO WELL, I REMEMBER WE WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL PLAYING AGAINST EACH OTHER, JUST LIKE NOTHING AND TO KNOW WE HAVE ALL ACHIEVED A PROFESSIONAL SPORT AND WE FISHED WITH THIS GUY, WE PLAYED WITH THIS GUY, JUST AS KIDS, TO SEE THAT WE HAVE ALL ARE DOING THE SAME THING TO ASPIRE O MAKE OTHER PEOPLE REALIZING THERE’S A DREAM OUT THERE THAT YOU CAN HAVE TO REALIZE. AND TO GIVE BACK.>>BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU, NUMEROUS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS. I THINK IT’S AMAZING TO HAVE YOU RIGHT HERE ON THIS SET TODAY. SO ADRON, GIVE ME ONE SHINING MOMENT FROM YOUR BASEBALL CAREER, I KNOW THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY. SOMETHING YOU CAN SAY ALL RIGHT, CAPTURE THIS MOMENT; YOUNG PEOPLE, TAKE A QUEUE FROM ME.>>I GUESS IT WAS A SITUATION SPRING TRAINING IS IN JUPITER, FLORIDA FOR THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, WE SHARE FEELS WITH THE MARCH LYNNS. BUT — MARLINS. BUT LOU BROCK ALWAYS COME TO THE BALLPARK AND HE’S WATCHES THE GAME, PUT ON HIS UNIFORM, THEY ALL PUT ON THE SAME UNIFORM WE HAVE. AND I’M OVER HERE LIKE THIS MAN RIGHT HERE DOESN’T HAVE TO COME PUT THIS UNIFORM ON. HE CAN DO WHATEVER — BE IN THE PRESS BOX BUT HE’S DOWN THERE WITH IT AND RIGHT THERE I’M TALKING ABOUT EVERY PITCH — WE WATCHED EVERY PITCH OF THAT GAME, THE FIRST TIME I EVER SEEN THEM AND THAT WAS A MEMORY THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET. THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT, THE THING HE USED TO HELP HIM — THE STRUGGLES THEY HAD TO GO THROUGH, THAT SAID A LOT. IT GAVE A LOT TO ME BECAUSE I WAS COMING UP IN BASEBALL WAS SECOND ALMOST, I STARTED OUT PLAYING BASEBALL AS A BOY, THEN I PLAYED FOOTBALL AND WENT TO COLLEGE AND PLAYED FOOTBALL, BASEBALL WAS BEHIND ME, SO TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO GNARLS MEET BOB GIBSON AND THESE TYPE OF GUYS, THOSE ARE THE MEMORIES.>>GREAT EXAMPLE, LEADING BY EXAMPLE. SHOWING THE WAY. WONDERFUL TO HAVE ALL OF YOU HERE THIS EVENING, GENTLEMEN. AGAIN, I WANT TO THANK ALL OF OUR GUESTS FOR JOINING US THIS EVENING AND SLEWERS, IT WAS A — VIEWERS PLEASURE HAVING YOU ACCOMPANY US DURING THIS BASEBALL IN PENSACOLA JOURNEY. COMING UP NEXT TIME, JEFF WEEKS WILL EXPLORE THE COLORFUL 90 YEAR HISTORY OF WCOA AM PENSACOLA’S FIRST RADIO STATION. NOW ON BEHALF OF MIKE ROWAN OUR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, JAMES ROY OUR DIRECTOR, AND THE ENTIRE PRODUCTION TEAM, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. I’M RAMECA VINCENT LEARY, HAVE A GOOD EVENING AND REMEMBER TO KEEP IT LOCKED IN RIGHT HERE ON WSRE, PBS FOR THE GULF COAST. ♪

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