from one of our loyal readers and leaders sharing this piece from the News and Observer(Raleigh) with us on Mr. Ken Free, a recent inductee into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame….www.newsobserver.comGARNER — Black History Month in Garner has become as much a celebration as it is a tool to remember history.
Last Saturday, the town kicked off the month with an event honoring players from the Negro Leagues, a group of all-black baseball teams formed in the early 20th century. After a performance of “A Game Apart,” a one-man show telling the story of Jackie Robinson, three players from the Negro Leagues were available for a meet and greet.
Ken Free of Greensboro played for the Raleigh Tigers.
“Negro Leagues taught a lot of how to overcome adversity,” Free said. “I don’t believe in excuses. Build monuments out of nothing. ”Outside of the Negro Leagues, players such as Free were lucky if they were able to interact with all-white teams. In his case, he was able to travel with the New York Mets for five years to help with the team, but never played. Eventually, Free left the game and went back to school. He coached, and in 1978, became the first commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, where he stayed until 1996. And although he is far removed from his baseball-playing days, Free remembers one of the most important lessons he learned from the league. “You determine your destiny,” he said. “That’s what (the league) taught me.”
To read more, please CLICK HERE for the News and Observer out of Raleigh, N.C.