One early morning I woke up and decided to register overlookedlegends.com as a domain before someone else grabbed it. I didn’t have a plan for the site. I still do not have a plan for the site. I do know that during my research I come across interesting tidbits I like to share with others who may give a hoot. The research that I undertake relates to the many interests I have in genealogy, history, sports, and various other topics.
I selected Overlooked Legends for this personal website largely due to the work I have done with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). As a member of SABR’s Nineteenth Century Committee, I created a process with historians Charles Faber and Bob Gregory to bring attention to forgotten 19th century players, mangers, executives and pioneers who have not been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The endeavor has been tagged as the Overlooked 19th Century Base Ball Legends Project. We began the project in 2008 and each year SABR selects an Overlooked Legend. The first legend selected was Pete Browning, a great-hitting, eccentric outfielder who batted .341 over a 13-year career. The Gladiator narrowly beat out the 2010 selection, Deacon White. In 2013, White was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I had the pleasure of getting to know some of the descendants of the pioneering catcher and third baseman, including Jerry Watkins who gave an outstanding acceptance speech on behalf of Deacon’s family.
My interest in overlooked legends does not stop with baseball. Every sport has overlooked legends. Football has Cliff Branch, Tony Latone, Duke Slater, and Kenny Washington. Basketball has Dick Barnett, Fats Jenkins, Jack Sikma, and Ora Mae Washington. Golf has Miller Barber, Fay Crocker, Jug McSpaden, and Mac Smith. Other forms of entertainment (sports is entertainment) have overlooked legends too. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stands out. Lots of great artists have not been enshrined. One band I love is War. Listen to The Cisco Kid. So classic, but no love for the funky band. I am also still waiting for the Pitchback to be inducted in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
Overlooked Legends may touch on other people, such as an ancestor of mine like my 4x great grandfather, John Henry, who made a few bucks in the Brooklyn rope-making industry in the early 19th century before joining a syndicate in the 1830s to purchase Verplanck’s Point in Westchester County, New York. I may write about friends of mine. Bob Gregory, who was previously mentioned, was a friend and baseball historian. Bob passed away last fall, leaving a legacy that many will never forget. This month a monument in Bob’s memory is being dedicated in Fort Wayne, Indiana to mark the first professional baseball league game. I know he would be giddy over this honor.
Finally, this website is all me. I can tread outside the lines and write about anything I want. A visit to the Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, Connecticut or a stop at the Duanesburg Diner & Restaurant after a week in Cooperstown may spark an urge to write something that has nothing to do with overlooked legends.
So this is the introduction to Overlooked Legends. I wonder what comes next.