Henry Kimbro

By Reginald Stuart

This week’s baseball victory by the Houston Astros clinching the World Series, brought a special meaning hundreds of miles away in Nashville.

“I feel like I’m on that team,” said an ecstatic Harriet Kimbro-Hamilton, daughter of the late Henry Kimbro, a Nashville award-winning outfielder in the nationally known Negro Baseball League. His nearly 20 years in the league which began in Nashville with Elite Giants playing at Hadley Park in North Nashville, carried him to Washington D.C., New York City, Birmingham, Alabama and Havana, Cuba.

“I knew Houston had several players from the Caribbean, but I was ecstatic to learn about the one batter from Cuba, said Dr. Hamilton, noting her dad met his soon-to-be bride Erbina, then a college student studying to become a teacher, when he was in Havana, Cuba on a team scheduled tour. He eventually brought her home to Nashville to start and raise a family. 

At their Nashville home, which Dr. Hamilton and husband Herbert converted into a make-shift mini-stadium to watch the series, went on to reflect on the final minutes. “We were discussing the magnitude of this moment on the game,” said Dr. Hamilton, noting her husband also played baseball in college.

The World Series competition brought back many childhood memories, said Hamilton early this week. She is now a retired college professor and author of “Daddy’s Scrapbook,” a daughter’s perspective on her dad’s career.  He rarely talked of it, until he grew older and was near death before he handed her a book filled with newspaper clips that verified his career, she said in a 2015 interview with The Tennessee Tribune.

The young player, Yordan Alvarez, hit a home run that helped seal the series for Houston and made a real weekend for her and her husband, who had three television sets running during the game. 

‘For our black kids in America, these guys look like them and that goes a long way with inclusion and diversity in baseball and getting them to choose baseball instead of the other sports,” she said.

Reflecting on Dusty Baker’s win as the Astro’s manager, Dr. Hamilton said my first thoughts were of Hank Aaron and then my dad, Henry Kimbro and every Negro Leaguer that ever played because Dusty was carrying their pride in having contributed to that moment. That moment spoke volumes in how MLB tried so hard to keep men like Dusty Baker and my dad out of baseball.

“For myself, I’m reminded that this victory is shared with every Negro Leaguer, coach and owner,” said Dr. Hamilton, a graduate of Fisk University and teacher at Tennessee State University. “And when my hat comes, it will be placed with all of the Negro League team hats and memorabilia.”