A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jack Frye

I've lived most of my life in the Reading, Pennsylvania, area (ranked #21 worst city overall in 2007), but fortunately, now I live 30 minutes from the city in what I like to refer to as Amish Paradise. It's a lot quieter out here for the most part, and that's a good thing.
Reading has really gone to seed in the past twenty or so years. I don't remember going downtown as a kid before going into the military, but after I came back from the Air Force in 1996, it just wasn't pretty. Now, it's a necessity for somethings, but mostly, I just stay on the edge of town where I need to be and am thankful that I don't have to live downtown.
However, we do have a couple of claims to fame. First and foremost is the Pagoda, which still looms as something to see. Despite the fact that they're still frequented, the outlets that once drew people in are now dime a dozen and spread out across the country, so it's not like they're that big of a deal. We have hockey now - the Reading Royals, and we've had baseball for quite some time. In fact, we're Baseballtown based on the strength of the Reading Phillies and their infinite promotions, which isn't such a bad thing because baseball is good and hopefully it gets kids hooked - even if they have to see baseball as something that comes with between innings games and cheering along when the scoreboard or the playing of Blur's "Song 2" tells them to. Thus, if one wants to fight with traffic for a good game and better fireworks, Reading is the place to be. Roger Maris even played here when he was an Indians minor league player.
However, back in the day, way back when (1883 to be exact), Jack Frye was the 2nd African American to ever play in organized ball. Of course, we all know that Moses Fleetwood Walker was first, but alas... many people don't know the silver medalist, but in this case, he was a catcher, pitcher, first basemen, and outfielder who played for 5 different teams up until 1891 in various cities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Reading was his first stop.
That said, in looking through a lot of different sites, it's hard to find that much information on the league and the team... at least at the point where Jack played. Nevertheless, as it was included in Shades of Glory, a National Geographic book on the Negro Leagues, I would say that it's pretty true and reliable. Thus, there seems to be a new relic to search out as the story of baseball by me goes on and on.

No comments:

Post a Comment