SABR’s Negro Leagues Grave Markers Project: Gone but not forgotten

From Thom Loverro at Sports on Earth on May 22, 2014, with mention of SABR members Jeremy Krock and John Thorn:

There is a group of men — the Negro League Baseball Grave Marker Project — who, like [John] DiSanto, have devoted their lives to giving former Negro League players a place marked on this earth.

“These men played in anonymity,” said Jeremy Krock, 56, a children’s anesthesiologist from Peoria, Ill., who is part of the grave marker project. “They shouldn’t have to spend eternity in anonymity.”

Grave markers touch a deep chord in society. They are seen as a way to preserve someone’s memory and also serve as a way for loved ones to cope with loss, a last remaining physical connection. They also serve a purpose for historians to document the final resting place of those who have made their mark while alive — a ballplayer, a boxer.

To find someone who people may have cheered for now without a grave marker often elicits an emotional response. In 2007, the Florida Times-Union reported Dallas Cowboys great Bob Hayes was buried in a grave in his hometown of Jacksonville without a marker. The story resulted in an outcry from Cowboys fans and former players who offered donations for a grave marker for Hayes, and soon his final resting place was marked.

In England recently, it was learned a noted soccer player — Tinsley Lindley — who played for Nottingham Forest in the 1880s, had no grave marker. A group of donors stepped forward with the money for a marker, and in April they had a public ceremony to honor Lindley and officially lay the grave marker nearly 140 years after he had played.

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Originally published: May 23, 2014. Last Updated: May 23, 2014.