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Council Could Honor Local Negro Leagues Heroine

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Mamie "Peanut" Johnson pitched in the Negro Leagues from 1953 to 1955.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Mamie "Peanut" Johnson pitched in the Negro Leagues from 1953 to 1955.

By Rebecca Sheir

Several weeks before the U.S. Postal Service releases its Negro Leagues Baseball stamp, one of the League's local legends is getting closer to receiving a more personal commemoration.

A measure going before the D.C. City Council would designate the multi-purpose field at the Rosedale Center in Ward 6 as the Mamie "Peanut" Johnson Field.

Mamie "Peanut" Johnson was 18 when a Negro Leagues scout spotted her playing on the ball field in Northeast D.C. in 1953.

She became one of just three female players in the Leagues, and says, "it was a great honor to know that I was good enough to be with some of the best ball players that there were."

And she does mean the best, or so says Council Member, and baseball aficionado, Vincent Gray. Jackie Robinson came through the leagues, he points out. As did Satchel Paige, "one of the greatest pitchers to ever step on the baseball field," he says. And "Josh Gibson, who may have been the most prolific home run hitter in the history of baseball."

Gray says he's glad some players could break the color barrier and join Major League Baseball, "but some of the absolutely fantastic ball players were not in the Major Leagues, only because of the segregation that existed in this country."

Mamie Peanut Johnson faced her own challenges as an African-American and a woman. Gray says her story will no doubt inspire the Council to vote for naming the field in her honor.

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