Friday, August 25, 2017

Last Surviving Negro Leagues Ump Motley Honored in LA

Bob Motley, the last surviving Negro Leagues Umpire, received honors at Dodger Stadium prior to Friday's game at Chavez Ravine.

Bob Motley meets with Don Newcombe.
Photo: LA Dodgers.
Motley, you may recall, was briefly featured as part of MLB Network's The Third Team documentary of the 2014 World Series in a segment when Ted Barrett spent an off day in Motley's home town, Kansas City, at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is located just six miles from Kauffman Stadium.

Motley, who is presently 94, served with the Montfort Point Marines—the first-ever black Marine regiment—in World War II, officiated Negro League games from 1947-1958, served as chief umpire in both the Negro Leagues and for the College World Series in Omaha, and umpired Triple-A's Pacific Coast League. He was also the first African American to attend and graduate from the Al Somers Umpire School.

Motley, who is a Purple Heart and Congressional Gold Medal recipient, first learned, and cemented his love of, umpiring while recovering from a gunshot wound in a hospital in Okinawa, Japan.

While working in Triple-A, a labor dispute in the majors led the big leagues to offer Motley a job, albeit a temporary one. Motley, however, declined to cross the picket line and turned his attention elsewhere, including a dedication to help create what would become the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.


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