SABR honors former Negro Leagues star Grant “Home Run” Johnson with new grave marker

From Aaron Mansfield at the Buffalo News on June 24, 2014, with SABR members Howard Henry:

A baseball legend is buried in Hamburg. Until Tuesday, he was virtually anonymous. He once clubbed 60 home runs in a season.

Another time, the .336 career hitter outslugged the great Ty Cobb. Oh, and he did it in baseball’s “dead-ball era” of the early 1900s, when it seemed as if nobody could muster much offense.

But for 50 years, Grant “Home Run” Johnson’s grave was unmarked. Buried a pauper, the black baseball hero rested underneath an unmarked patch of grass at Lakeside Cemetery.

Now, after a grave-marking ceremony through the Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR, he has a tombstone and more – a memorial about 30 yards from it with his photo, statistics and biography.

“We are recognizing a good man who made a great contribution to Buffalo history – a man who deserves to be recognized for his baseball skills, who would be in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame were it not for segregation,” said Howard W. Henry, the SABR member who organized the grave-marking.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project helps to locate the graves of former Negro League ballplayers and place markers there. So far, Henry said, more than 30 have been recognized.

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Originally published: June 24, 2014. Last Updated: June 24, 2014.