BY JOHN H. WARD/For the Monroe Journal
AMORY – There was no money, yet a big vision. Inspired by a tour across the state of Kansas by 90+-year-old former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, Phil S. Dixon decided to pursue a career of researching and promoting his life-long love of baseball.
Oddly enough, he originally started collecting Beatles cards, but was launched into collecting baseball memorabilia after his Beatles cards were confiscated by a school teacher who considered them to be toys.
Dixon is the author of multiple books on baseball history and is a winner of the Casey Award and the Macmillan-SABR Award for his writing and research. A featured work of his is entitled, “Wilber ‘Bullet’ Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs.”
Formerly employed by the Kansas City Royals, Dixon is a co-founder and board member of the Negro League Baseball Museum. He and his wife, Dr. Kerry C. Dixon, were guests at the Amory Regional Museum July 14 on their first visit to Mississippi, presenting a fact-filled and fascinating walk down “memory lane” complete with a slide show.
Dixon dedicated the program to Starkville native James “Cool Papa” Bell and fellow Mississippian Ulysses Hollimon, a Negro league player who is still living.
Dixon told his audience that baseball has a connection to America totally different from other sports. Baseball unifies people from all paths of life and differing opinions.
Dixon mentioned numerous interesting factoids about his Negro Leagues team, the Kansas City Monarchs, which first became world champions of the league in 1924. The team continued playing up until the year 1965.
The Enid (Oklahoma) Morning News proclaimed, “The Monarchs mean to their league what the New York Giants do to theirs.” Dixon brought to light quite a roster of Negro players who exhibited superior talent, yet were handicapped by racism in those early years.
Dixon concluded his presentation by reciting a poem entitled, “The Stars That Did Not Shine.” Though the discrimination of racism was painful and divisive, baseball has survived, and continues to unify people of all kinds today – thanks in part to the stars that did not shine.
More information about Dixon may be found by visiting Facebook/Phil S. Dixon.