Whirty: An interview with Negro Leaguer Paul Lewis of New Orleans

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Home Plate Don’t Move on April 22, 2016:

This week I trekked westward across the Bonnet Carre Spillway along I-10 to the St. Charles Parish town of LaPlace, La. (population roughly 32,000), where I met with 88-year-old Paul Lewis, one of the few living ex-members of the New Orleans Black Pelicans, and it was a fantastic experience.

When I got to his modest, one-story home just off State Highway 3188, Paul was enjoying a late breakfast — I felt a bit guilty that I arrived a bit early and surprised him a bit.

But when he was finished, he used his walker to get to his comfy easy chair in the front room while I lounged back on a sofa across from him and we had a very nice — and, for me, quite revelatory — chat.

The biggest thing I took away from the experience was the full realization that so many Negro Leaguers of Paul’s era were members of the Greatest Generation whose experience serving in the military was an even bigger source of pride for them than their hardball career. Just like my old, departed friend Herb Simpson of New Orleans — whose most cherished life memento wasn’t anything from his baseball career but a piece of an exploded bomb instead — Paul’s best memories spring from his time wearing the uniform overseas.

Read the full article here: https://homeplatedontmove.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/everywhere-i-went-i-had-a-baseball-with-me/

Originally published: April 25, 2016. Last Updated: April 25, 2016.