Frank Grant Honored By Pittsfield Colonials
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ulysses Frank Grant was on the edge of being forgotten in history but now, his memory is instilled on the outfield wall of Wahconah Park.
The Pittsfield Colonials honored the Hall of Famer Friday by hanging the logo of his team – the New York Cuban Giants, of the former Negro leagues – on the walls. While the team would liked to have retired his number, he never wore one.
Team owner Buddy Lewis presented Grant's great-grand niece Marion Grant Royston, who lives in Williamstown, with a team jersey and cap and read an honorary citation from Gov. Deval Patrick, who was expected to throw out the game's first pitch but was unable to.
Grant was born in the city in 1885 and later moved to Williamstown. He made it into the minor league system before Jim Crow laws led him to the Negro league. With the Giants, he continued to play a high level of baseball until he retired in 1903. When he died he was buried in an unmarked New York City grave.
According to local baseball historian James Overmyer, who spoke at the ceremony, the Negro leagues were at the cusp of being forgotten when historians "rediscovered" them in the last 30 years – as well as Grant – and in 2006, the middle-infielder was inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Overmyer and baseball historian Lawrence Moore discussed the growth of Negro league baseball, which Grant played a role in promoting. The ceremony was a tribute to the Negro leagues that is coupled with the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival.