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Celebrating a Deserving Pioneer in OKC

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You might recognize the name Kent Meyers.

He’s a longtime Oklahoma resident, an attorney at Crowe & Dunlevy and one of the hosts the local TV show “The Verdict”.

But 60 years ago, he was a batboy for the Oklahoma City Indians.

This factoid came up because former Indian pitcher Bill Greason is back in town this week. He will be honored Thursday night prior to the RedHawks game. He will be celebrated for being the first black player in Oklahoma City’s pro baseball history.

It happened in the summer of 1952.

A teenaged Kent Meyers was there to see it.

Truth be told, he might’ve witnessed what Greason went through like few others did. He was the batboy for the visiting teams, so he’d sit in their dugout during the games. That meant he heard much of the verbal abuse that visitors would lob at Greason.

Remember, 1952 was still a time of deep division and segregation in this country. Integration was happening but slowly.

So, there’s no doubt that most of what Meyers heard shouldn’t be repeated. But really, that’s not what he most remembers. His most vivid memories are of how Greason handled the whole thing. He managed it with dignity and grace and class.

Meyers also told me that sometimes, as a treat, the batboys would be invited on road trips. It wasn’t all that often, and it was regularly to places that weren’t all that far away. But it was a chance for the team to thank the youngsters who worked the dugouts.

Most of the players didn’t pay the batboys much attention. They’d go off and do their own things. But a few of the more mature players made a point to always be on the lookout for the youngsters. They’d make sure they didn’t get into trouble, and sometimes, they’d even go with them on trips to the zoo or to dinner.

Greason was one of those guys — one of the good guys.

It’s just more evidence that Greason deserves all the attention that he’s receiving this week in Oklahoma City.


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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›