Senate Resolution 106 - Introduced SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 106 BY HATCH , HOGG , MATHIS , DVORSKY , HORN , DEARDEN , FRAISE , GRONSTAL , KIBBIE , BLACK , McCOY , BEALL , WILHELM , QUIRMBACH , RAGAN , BOWMAN , SENG , SCHOENJAHN , BOLKCOM , DOTZLER , DANIELSON , RIELLY , and JOCHUM A Resolution honoring Art Pennington, an American 1 baseball great. 2 WHEREAS, only rarely does the Senate have the 3 opportunity to celebrate the life and work of an 4 American who still lives among us, a man, not just a 5 memory; and 6 WHEREAS, Arthur D. Pennington now lives quietly 7 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but 70 years ago, long before 8 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Mr. Pennington 9 was known as “Superman” and was a star of the Negro 10 baseball leagues; and 11 WHEREAS, as a black man, Mr. Pennington was denied 12 an opportunity to play major league baseball, but 13 for almost 20 years, Mr. Pennington played the game 14 throughout the Americas, including Havana, Cuba, and 15 Caracas, Venezuela; and 16 WHEREAS, at 17, Mr. Pennington traveled to Chicago, 17 joining the Chicago American Giants of the Negro 18 league; and 19 WHEREAS, the “Superman” was one of the Negro 20 league’s brightest stars and played in the prestigious 21 Negro League East/West All-Star Game in 1942, 1946, and 22 1950; and 23 WHEREAS, Mr. Pennington was an All-Star during the 24 -1- LSB 5157SS (8) 84 jr/nh 1/ 3
S.R. 106 golden era of the Negro leagues and maintained an 1 eight-year batting average of .336, emerging as a Negro 2 league star in 1945, batting .359 and .500 as the first 3 baseman for the Giants; and 4 WHEREAS, over the following decades, Mr. Pennington 5 played with some of the greatest baseball players of 6 all time including Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, 7 Josh Gibson, Hank Aaron, Buck O’Neil, James Thomas 8 “Cool Papa” Bell, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, and many 9 others; and 10 WHEREAS, it was during this period of time, his 11 prime years, that much of his statistical data was 12 lost because of limited record keeping for the Negro 13 leagues; and 14 WHEREAS, in 1949, Mr. Pennington returned to the 15 United States with his wife Anita, a Caucasian woman of 16 Spanish origin, at a time when in some states it was 17 still illegal for African Americans and Caucasians to 18 marry; the implications of their interracial marriage 19 had unforeseen repercussions on his baseball career and 20 quite possibly prevented him from playing Major League 21 baseball; and 22 WHEREAS, in 1959, Mr. Pennington retired from the 23 game he loved so much and made a home and a new life in 24 Cedar Rapids, where he worked at Collins Radio for many 25 years, played on the company baseball team, and ran for 26 several political offices including sheriff, mayor, and 27 safety commissioner; and 28 WHEREAS, featured in the books Baseball’s Forgotten 29 Heroes and The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro 30 -2- LSB 5157SS (8) 84 jr/nh 2/ 3
S.R. 106 Leagues and in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Art 1 Pennington was a great American baseball player; and 2 WHEREAS, to this day Mr. Pennington is a living 3 reminder of the challenges that African Americans faced 4 in our country based not on their skill but on the 5 color of their skin, and while some African Americans 6 succeeded in their pursuits during this shameful period 7 in our country’s history, others still had to endure 8 discrimination and prejudice and were prevented from 9 fulfilling their goals; for Mr. Pennington that goal 10 was playing in the major leagues; NOW THEREFORE, 11 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE, That the Senate honors 12 the “Superman”, Arthur D. Pennington, one of America’s 13 finest baseball players and a civil rights pioneer 14 whose life and contributions have for too long been 15 overlooked, and 16 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That because of the racial 17 divides of the 1940s and 1950s, Mr. Pennington never 18 received the recognition he deserved, therefore the 19 Senate urges that he be considered for admission to the 20 Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. 21 -3- LSB 5157SS (8) 84 jr/nh 3/ 3