Thursday, February 21, 2013

Discovering Negro Leaguer, Pete Hill

With it being Black History Month and February quickly coming to a close, I thought I would finally post some photos I received a while back that feature Negro League Hall of Famer Pete Hill. 

As you may know, I've always had an interest and fascination with Negro League Baseball, and from time to time post memorabilia of the players and teams that still exist.  Well, several years ago I had made a brief mention of a Pete Hill Baseball card from the early 1900's, and was soon after contacted by a distant relative of Mr. Hill.

As I was told, members of the Hill family had recently discovered their connection to the Hall of Famer, so they went about the task of learning more about him.  They wanted to celebrate his achievements and share what they had learned with those willing to listen.  I can only imagine the elation the family felt.  After all, it's not every day that you discover that the blood of a Hall of Famer runs in your veins. 

Soon, they delved into their family archives and came across vintage images of Pete Hill.  This in itself is rare since actual period images of Hill, as well as other Negro League greats from that time period are scant.  Check out Pete Hill's portrait photo below.

A great story written by Kevin Kirkland of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette describes the process the family went through to not only discover their connection to the man, but the steps that were taken to right a historical wrong.  You see, the Hall had made some gross errors on his plaque.  They had his name wrong, his birth date wrong, and his place of birth wrong. 
So no Hill descendant was in Cooperstown, N.Y., that day in 2006 when the plaque was unveiled. They might never have known they had such a famous relative -- or that his name, birth date and other biographical information were wrong -- if not for some sharp-eyed baseball historians and a cousin's love for genealogy.
Now, thanks to their research, Mr. Hill's determination and the genealogical sleuthing of a Virginia historian/journalist, the Hall of Fame announced in late July that it will commission a new, correct plaque and unveil it on Oct. 12 -- more than a century after John Preston Hill was born in Culpeper County, Va.
I suggest reading the entire article, it's a great story about a family discovering their roots and the work of some Baseball history buffs wanting to correct some inaccurate information.

I'd like to belatedly thank Major Hill for pass along the photos that are shared here.  BTW, the highway marker at the very top was erected a few years ago in Virginia thanks to the work of Major Hill and Negro League historian Gary Ashwill.  Ashwill details his research on Pete Hill and his work on the above marker here.

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