Holway: Interviewing Negro Leagues star Frank ‘Doc’ Sykes

From SABR member John Holway at The National Pastime Museum on July 8, 2013:

The pitching dentist, Doc Sykes, was 90 years old when I met him at a Negro League reunion in Ashland, Kentucky in 1982. Erect, white-haired, with a thin white mustache, he was the patriarch of the group.

In addition to baseball, Sykes played a critical role at a moment of great tension and danger in the history of the civil rights movement when he testified in the famous 1933 Scottsboro murder trial in Alabama.

Sykes and I met often at his Baltimore apartment. We went to Oriole games together, and I drove him to speak to members of the Society for American Baseball Research, which delighted both him and them. He still had his charm and good looks, and whenever we walked into the lobby of his building, the ladies fluttered around him.

Mike Stahl of Baltimore also spent many hours taping Doc’s memories and poring over newspaper files to reconstruct his playing record.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/frank-doc-sykes-told-john-holway

Originally published: July 8, 2013. Last Updated: July 8, 2013.