All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Kids these days...

...Are pretty awesome. At least this one is.

ARLINGTON — Like many teenagers, Cam Perron spends most of his free time on the phone. But instead of texting or playing video games, he’s talking to old guys like Paul Jones and Gilbert Black.

They are former Negro league baseball players, old enough to be his grandfather, and he may be their greatest fan, their unlikely but irrepressible advocate.

Perron, a shaggy-haired 16-year-old with a shortstop’s lanky build, is one of the country’s most prolific researchers into the leagues that gave black ballplayers a professional option when they were banned from the bigs. From his bedroom in Arlington, Perron has created baseball cards for players who never had any, discovered evidence to help former players earn pensions, and reconnected teammates who hadn’t spoken in decades. This month he will help organize a reunion in Birmingham, Ala., for more than 50 former players.

What a great story.

Perron is particularly proud of the work he has done to connect Negro league players to the pensions they are entitled to. His first such success benefited Paul Jones, a player whom Major League Baseball records had confused with a deceased former player with the same name. Jones played with several teams between 1947 and 1953, facing famous players such as Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, but he did not have documentation to prove it.

To receive a pension from Major League Baseball, Negro league players must have played four seasons. To qualify, they must provide proof through published records, such as rosters.

Few players keep any record of their career, so the task of proving eligibility often falls to researchers.

Jones had evidence of three seasons, but he needed one more. Perron found evidence for the fourth one and gave it to the Center for Negro League Baseball Research, which forwarded it to Major League Baseball. Within a week, Jones, 83, began receiving money. He can receive a lifetime total of up to $100,000 through the monthly pension.

“That’s the reason why I’m getting my pension today — he did it,’’ said Jones, who lives in Hamilton, Ohio. “He’s done so much for all of us.’’


posted by BubbaFan, 6:55 PM


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