Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Black History Month: Bullet, baseball, & Bible

Today’s guest post is by Carl Rogan (aka Baby Bullet ), husband to Alice, father of 2 sons (Christopher and Anthony) and co-facilitator of the “Racial Harmony Roundtable” at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

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Growing up in Kansas City, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, Big Bullet and Big Momma. Many of my values were shaped by them. The summers were spent in the Ozarks where they had a cabin. Concentrated quality time with them proved to have many future benefits for me.

Big Bullet lived and breathed baseball. He played professionally in the old Negro Leagues for the Kansas City Monarchs from 1920-1938. I listened to many stories from him and his friends of his exploits over the years on how good he was. He played every position, but was known primarily for his blazing fastball.

He also talked of the bad playing conditions, money, racism, and unjust treatment in many cities. But he never expressed any regrets or bitterness, because he played for the love of the game.

These stories were not just fables. In 1998 he was voted posthumously into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a pitcher. It was a weekend to remember in Cooperstown, surrounded by the greatest players in baseball. I was part of the exclusive set, standing elbow to elbow with heroes I had admired and worshipped as a teen and young adult. It is one of the highlights of my life.

Big Momma was an outdoors person. She loved fishing and reading the Bible. I spent months with her during the summer and was her sidekick and buddy. As a strong Christian woman she planted seeds early in my life about the love for the outdoors and Christ. Every night we read the Bible together and I could recite the 23rd Psalm before 2nd grade.

She was the purest woman I have ever known and she respected everyone. She set the example for practicing what you preach, and she believed everyone, without exception, had some good in them.

Parties were a way of life for many in the Ozarks, but not for her. She would say to me sometimes when libation was at full throttle “how can something that looks so good, taste so bad?” As I have reflected on that statement over the years, it has become very profound.

The world flaunts its riches and glamour and the professional athletes are immortalized. But by God’s grace, I learned from my grandparents the truth that none of the glory we seek for ourselves has any eternal value.

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You can read more about Wilber “Bullet” Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs.

  • Leave a Comment (9)  

9 Responses to “Black History Month: Bullet, baseball, & Bible”

  1. I have really enjoyed these entries. Thanks so much!

  2. Thank you for these posts…

  3. I haven’t gone back to see if this is a yearly thing you do, but this has been a great month of blog posts. Now that I’m a grandparent, I love hearing about the influence they can have in their grandchildren’s lives. Thanks,Carl!

  4. Loved this post! I really enjoy people’s stories and this one reminded me of a few years ago when I was in Kansas City visiting a relative. We went to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. What a facinating place. I love baseball and all its history. Here we read about Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and others. Wish I had known about “Big Bullet”, as I would have read more about his career. Reading here the snippet about his life and the influence he and his wife had on their grandson are stories that are priceless.

  5. My daughter is married to Carl’s son,Christopher.He is one of the best people I know.
    He lives by high standards and has very strong faith.
    My daughter could not of done better for a husband.
    I am thankful that Carl raised his son so well.
    And some day,Carl will be a grand father to their children and I hope he teaches his grand children as well as his grand parents taught him.
    Thanks Carl…xoxox

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