Man pursues plaque to recognize Negro Leaguer Country Jake Stephens

From Bill Landauer at the York Daily Record on May 11, 2012, with mention of SABR members Ike Wolins, Ted Knorr, Monte Irvin, Larry Lester and James Riley:

Paul Stephens was five days shy of his 81st birthday when he died in 1981. Since the 1940s, he’d been a York County deputy sheriff, a local notary and a café owner.

Memories about what he’d been before were fading.

About three decades after the man died, Ike Wolins drove two hours from Philadelphia to visit Stephens’ grave. Wolins found a stone box with Stephens’ name, a birth date and death date, but nothing else.

Wolins went to the caretaker. Was this the right place? He was looking for the grave of “Country Jake” Stephens, the legendary shortstop from the 1920s and 30s. For Wolins, that name was synonymous with baseball history, the Negro Leagues and York.


Still, no hint of baseball could be found at Stephens’ grave.

Wolins, a baseball history buff, has set out to change that. He contacted the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, several organizations in York and is working to raise funds to have a plaque installed at Stephens’ tomb at Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery in Springettsbury Township.

“Other players have a plaque by the grave,” he said. Wolins has gone on a lot of gravesite pilgrimages, and believes Country Jake deserves the recognition.

Read the full article here:

Related link: To learn more about or donate to the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, visit

Originally published: May 13, 2012. Last Updated: May 13, 2012.