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Crawford Leads Negro League Legends

Crawford Leads Negro League Legends

By Sean Mitton, Canadian Expat Network

Canadian expats often have interesting journeys that take them form one interesting opportunity to another. For Gary Crawford, who grew up in Montreal, that journey has lead him to helping former Negro league baseball players.

Crawford now resides in Chicago and has lived in the US since 1990. For over 30 years, he's been a freelancer as a chief researcher, statistician, associate producer & director for such American networks as ESPN, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, WGN, TNT and TBS.

Having grown up in Montreal Mr. Crawford began his media career as a producer for CFQR-FM. He then free-lanced for CFCF-12, and was later hired by both the CTV network where he worked on the NHL, CFL and MLB, and later worked for the CBC on Hockey Night in Canada.

With over 24 years of U.S. and Canadian Sports Television experience under his belt, including the working at two Olympic Games, 1984 (Yugoslavia) and 1988 (Calgary), in his career, Mr. Crawford has covered thousands of Major League Baseball games both for Television and radio and as a journalist. He also has covered the NBA, the NCAA hoop tournaments and the NFL.

Player in wheelchair Sam Taylor, 84 (c) KC Monarchs. Guy standing Jim Proctor (p) Indy Clowns and 1960 Detroit Tigers. Gary Crawford (in the middle).
Player in wheelchair Sam Taylor, 84 (c) KC Monarchs. Guy standing Jim Proctor (p) Indy Clowns and 1960 Detroit Tigers. Gary Crawford (in the middle).

While in Chicago, he helped coordinate for 9 years the Sports awards gala for the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation. It was through this charity that he met Negro League ball player Johnny 'Lefty' Washington who had played ball for the Houston Eagles and Chicago American Giants. Ironically, he found out Washington lived three block from him.

Crawford found former players had little representation and created a website called the Negro League Legends that helped promote the players, sell products and offer appearance opportunities for events. "There's an estimated 170 players still alive, but they can be tough to track," Crawford comments.

The Negro Leagues teams began disbanding around 1952-55. "Most people don't realize that the players continued to play in small towns in Canada," Crawford shares.

"The guys don't like to fly much so we often car pool for events. The stories they tell are priceless, I often have to wipe the tears of laughter, and I'm so blessed to hear these stories."
 


Negro League Legends