Reading my Sports Illustrated yesterday, I was entranced by the story of Silas Simmons.
Silas Simmons was born in 1895, the same year as Babe Ruth. He, like Ruth, played professional baseball as a pitcher. He began playing in 1912, and retired in 1929.
Silas played ball in the Negro Leagues. Oh, and one other thing. He died last week at the age of 111.
Today’s FamilyFirst pick is a tribute article written by Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune before Si’s death.
To put a few things in perspective about this humble gentleman, let’s make some comparisons.
He retired the year of the great stock market crash.
Like me, he first got into the World series at the age of eight. Unlike me, his first World series was the FIRST World Series.
When Jackie Robinson broke MLB’s color barrier, Si was 51 years old.
Silas was “discovered” at the age of 111 by a baseball historian who remembered seeing his name in some old box scores. He visited the retirement home where Si lived and confirmed that he was, indeed, the world’s oldest professional baseball player.
His birthday party made the national news. Two weeks later, Si told his caregiver that he felt his life had been fulfilled and that he was tired. He passed away peacefully in his sleep shortly after.
Silas had a good mind right up to the end. He was president of the resident council at his place of residence.
He told an interviewer that he got to see some amazing things in his life, like airplanes.
Here’s to you, Silas Simmons.