It’s almost been 50 years since his death, but Wesley Barrow is finally going to get a memorial.
The New Orleans African-American baseball legend, whose grave has gone unmarked ever since his death on Christmas Eve 1965, will have a grave marker dedicated at the site of his grave at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Many of the athletes and community members Barrow impacted over the years will be in attendance, and the ceremony will be held at Gretna’s New Baptist Church Cemetery.
Barrow is best known for the baseball stadium that was named in honor in Pontchartrain Park, but he made his name during a 40-plus-year career as a player and manager in baseball.
He worked for numerous local African-American sandlot, semipro and professional teams during the era of baseball segregation and beyond.
Barrow, who was fondly known as “Skipper” amongst the players he coached, had stints as a manager for the Baltimore Black Sox and Portland Rosebuds, said Ryan Whirty, a local Negro Leagues baseball researcher who helped lead the effort to honor Barrow.
Barrow’s grave remained unmarked until this year when Gretna City Councilman Milton Crosby, who played for Barrow on the New Orleans Pelicans, worked with Whirty and several others to raise money for the purchase of a headstone.
“Wesley was one of the reasons I got a scholarship to Grambling,” Crosby said in a news release. “He taught me all I knew about baseball, and he was a fun guy, too.”
Another one of the primary donors involved in the purchase of the headstone was Rodney Page, son of local sports promoter, owner and entrepreneur Allen Page. Allen Page and Barrow were close friends.
“The ceremony is an occasion to honor and celebrate the life and memory of Wesley Barrow, a New Orleans-area Negro League baseball legend,” Rodney Page said. “In addition, it offers a sacred moment to ensure him dignity in death. May time never diminish his worth, significance or memory and may his soul and spirit always sense and feel our respect and remembrance.”
The dedication ceremony will feature a prayer by New Hope Baptist Church pastor Rev. Warren E. Johnson, as well as remarks by Crosby, Page and other men who played for Barrow.