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Subject: Chuck Harmon, first African-American Cincinnati Reds player

Dies at 94
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Date Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 08:46:31am

Chuck Harmon, first African-American Reds player, dead at 94

CINCINNATI Chuck Harmon, who blazed a trail as the first African-American Reds player, has died. He was 94.

Harmon was at home in Golf Manor when he passed away at about 6 a.m. Tuesday, his son, Churck Harmon Jr., said. The younger Harmon said his dad is in a better place with his mom, who died about 10 years ago.

It was April 17, 1954 when Harmon made his debut the Cincinnati Reds as a pinch-hitter. He'd had success as a college basketball player, winning two consecutive Indiana state championships, before he went into professional baseball.

Segregation was still a factor when Harmon played in the majors. He had to stay in a separate hotel or private home while on the road with the team. But he told WCPO in 2017 that he was still glad he was the first.

"Somebody says, 'Ah, that guy can do this.' If he can do this, making everybody happy I want to do that," Harmon said then.

In 1956, Harmon went to St. Louis in a trade, and then to Philadelphia in 1957. According to MLB.com, he went on to work as a scout for MLB teams and the NBA's Indiana Pacers. But he ultimately settled in the Cincinnati area and remained a figure at Reds games and events.

Even before his death, the community honored Harmon with a statue at the Reds Youth Academy in Roselawn and the street Churck Harmon Way in Golf Manor.


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