THE NEW HEADSTONE FOR TED PAGE
A Negro League star from Pittsburgh is the latest to receive a grave marker from a man dedicated to honoring the memory of those who played in the segregated baseball organization.
The grave of Ted Page was marked August 17. He played for both of the league’s Pittsburgh-area teams in the 1930s, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays.
MAKING IT HAPPEN—Jeremy Krock and Rev. Emma Smith unveils headstone for everyone to see. Rev. Smith remarked that God is good and he never forgets. (Photos by J.L. Martello)
Page was a long time spokesperson for the Negro Leagues being one of a very few still alive during the 1970s and ‘80s. Page was a long time close friend of Pirates great Willie Stargell. He loved bowling which led to him and Stargell opening the Meadow Lanes Bowling alley in Homewood, which existed for several years. He had owned a bowling alley and wrote a column for the Pittsburgh Courier several years prior to this during the late 1940s and ‘50s after he had retired from baseball. He also worked in public relations for Gulf Oil which was based in Pittsburgh at the time.
“Ted was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet,” said Ulish Carter, current managing editor of the Courier but was a sports writer during the ‘70s. “Ted would give you the shirt off his back. He was always a great interview because he loved to talk. Not about himself, but other people. It took a while for me to learn that he was an outstanding player in the Negro Leagues himself because he was always talking about Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard or some of the other greats. He had stories. He used to talk about the games they played against the White Major Leaguers and the fun they had playing the year around. They’d play in the states during the summer and then the winter they would travel to Central and South America and the Florida leagues. He loved baseball. He lived baseball. Everyone who knew him loved him. He loved life. That’s why I was shocked when I read about how he died.”
Page was murdered in a home invasion in 1984, beaten with a baseball bat by a man now serving life in prison. Page’s ashes are now buried at the Allegheny Cemetery in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.
“I think Ted was part of the selection committee for the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame. I’m not sure. If he wasn’t at least a lot of people took his knowledge of the Negro Leagues to heart in their selections. I can’t think of anyone more knowledgeable,” Carter said.
Page grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where he was offered a scholarship to Ohio State after high school, but turned it down to play baseball. He was an excellent hitter, base runner and defensive player during his 1923-37 baseball career which a leg injury shortened.
Until recently, his cremated remains waited unclaimed in a community vault at the Lawrenceville cemetery where he once raised money to mark the grave of former teammate and baseball legend Josh Gibson.
Page becomes the latest recipient of generosity from the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project, an initiative started in 2004 by Dr. Jeremy Krock of Peoria, Ill., with help from the Society for American Baseball Research. The project has provided granite markers for 27 players, most of them installed without ceremony.
“I’m proud we can honor these players in this small way,” said Krock, who is White. “We hope to keep the memory of the player alive and to keep the memory of Negro League baseball alive.”
THE MARKER WITH A PHOTO OF TED PAGE AND NEGRO LEAGUES FLAG
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