Flood Relief for Negro Leaguer Art Pennington

Hopefully you’ve already heard of Art Pennington and his great loss in the midwest flooding this summer. Art Pennington is an 85 year old former negro league baseball player who lives in Iowa.

This article tells you his situation as well as I could. Better actually, because I’d just be taking information straight from there. Here’s an excerpt.

Baseball stole Art Pennington’s future. The Cedar River washed away his past.

His house, his car, his clothes, nearly all his pictures, even one of his two dogs – it was all lost to the Midwest floods. “Every damn thing I had just floated down the river,” he said.

He is hardly alone: There are 10,000 or so others totalling up their losses just in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, perhaps 10 times as many across the waterlogged region. But possessions can be replaced.

“A big part of my life is gone for good,” he said.

His skin colour cost Pennington a shot at the major leagues as a young man. He flourished instead in the Negro, Cuban, Mexican and Venezuelan leagues in the 1940s and, when baseball in America finally opened the door to blacks, in minor leagues across the country.

Six decades later, the water came and carried off nearly every bit of proof that Pennington was the equal of just about anybody who played anywhere he went.

Newspaper clippings, programs, autographed photos from Mickey Mantle, Sal Maglie and a dozen other big leaguers who assured him he would play alongside them someday, scrapbooks that gave his living room the look and feel of a baseball museum.

Last year, Billy Valencia, Pennington’s agent and his guardian angel, talked the old man into letting him scan some of the albums to create a digital archive. But that was just a small fraction of what he had.

“He used to carry a camera to Negro League get-togethers and he had priceless videos of Cool Papa Bell and some other guys, talking and laughing and horsing around, and now they’re all gone,” Valencia said.

Now, a month past his 85th birthday, Pennington wonders where he’ll find the cash or the strength to begin picking up the pieces.

Now here’s the deal. He has a Myspace page and he’s asking for your help. You can use PayPal to donate and help him recover some of what he’s lost. Most of what he lost very unrecoverable, but maybe we can all help him get his life back to some semblance of normalcy.

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Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. […] Flood Relief for Negro Leaguer Art Pennington …and Venezuelan leagues in the 1940s and, when baseball in America finally opened the door to blacks, in minor leagues across the country. […]

  2. […] he did. However, that fact also make me appreciate it that much more. If you haven’t heard Art Pennington is a former Negro League baseball who lost everything to the midwest flooding earlier… So to thank him for his gifts I wanted to put his name out there again. I’m sure he still […]


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