Diunte: Former Negro Leaguer Bill Greason shares his life story

From SABR member Nick Diunte at Examiner.com on February 25, 2013:

“Discover Greatness,” has been the theme for the traveling exhibit of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., for the past 20 years that has showcased the history of African-Americans in baseball. An increasingly rare opportunity to witness one of the legends who played in the Negro Leagues tell their story live and in-person came to Mt. Calvary Baptist Church on Saturday in Mullica Hill, N.J. Eighty-eight-year-old Rev. William “Bill” Greason, former pitcher for the Birmingham Black Barons and St. Louis Cardinals, delivered an impressive sermon for their “Take the Mystery out of Black History” event in which baseball, race, and spirituality were effortlessly intertwined.

Greason, a Montford Point Marine who served in World War II, has been the pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., for more than 30 thirty years. He found his calling during his time in the military. “In February 1945 on a little island called Iwo Jima, people were dying all around me. I took a little bible with me,” he said. “Two of my best friends were killed on that island. I prayed and I said, ‘Lord, if you get me off this island, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.’ It’s strange. A calling is strange. It’s a burden on you. You can’t shake it if you’re really called, no matter what you do or where you go. That’s what happened to me. I just threw up my hands and said, ‘Here I am, use me.’”

Read the full article here: http://www.examiner.com/article/former-negro-league-pitcher-greason-graciously-shares-his-grand-life-story

Originally published: February 27, 2013. Last Updated: February 27, 2013.