Friday, May 23, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today

Born on May 23, 1918 in Akron, Ohio; Leonard “Lennie” Pearson played first base for the Newark Eagles for 12 years (1937 – 1948).  6’2” and 200 pounds, Pearson attended the same high school in East Orange, New Jersey as Eagle teammate Monte Irvin.  A good fielder, he had “soft hands” that allowed him to dig out the low throws in the dirt.  He also had some seasons where he hit over .300.  Fans elected him to play in the East-West All Star Game five times.  In the 1943 Negro League World Series, Pearson hit .393 to help the Eagles defeat the Kansas City Monarchs.

Said to have had a romantic relationship with Eagles’ co-owner Effa Manley, Pearson stayed with the team until she sold it after the 1948 season.  He then became player/manager for the Baltimore Elite Giants.  After playing in the minor leagues (1950 – 1951) and the Canadian League (1953), Pearson retired and lived in Newark until he died in 1984.

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