Delmarva baseball legend may get memorial

Delmarva Baseball Legend may get...

Snow Hill, Md. - An American baseball legend born right here in Delmarva could soon get a new memorial, in his hometown.

A historian from Ocean City is leading the effort to honor the life and legacy of William "Judy" Johnson. 

"From what I hear and what I've read he was an excellent baseball player. If he played today, he'd probably be one of the top baseball players in the major leagues."

Ivory Smith, like most people, didn't realize William "Judy" Johnson was originally from Snow Hill. 

Which is exactly the reason why Charles Weaver wants something dedicated to Johnson's memory and legacy. 

"I would like to see a dedication in a park where people could the accomplishments of a person who went through a lot in his life to become a Hall of Fame member from Snow Hill. Maybe a street sign or a plague detailing his accomplishments as a player and a human being," says Weaver.

Weaver says Johnson's dad was trying to push him to be a competitor in a different sport.

"He had all the natural abilities of a boxer. He could dance across the canvas of a ring. He had quick hands quick counter-punching. And his father wanted him to be a prize-fighter."

But Johnson found his passion in America's past time. 

"One day his father was coaching a baseball team when he had him star as a bat boy. And ever since then, he was 15 or 16, he wanted to be a baseball player because he saw the beauty and grace of a baseball game."

After being turned down by several teams because he was small, he was picked up by the Hilldale Stars. 

Weaver says what Johnson lacked in stature he made up for in heart. 

"After going through racism, Jim Crow rules and regulations segregation discrimination and hardships that they went through back in the 20's and 30's he always had a smile on his face."

Weaver says he loves a passage that he found in a biography about the player and hopes to get some kind of memorial  to celebrate his life, but he isn't exactly sure how that will look yet. 

"His teammates would ask him hey Judy why you smiling and he would say because the sun is shining somewhere and I'm on the ball field."

 Johnson was born in Snow Hill, but later moved with his family to Wilmington when he was four. 

 In that city, a park and bronze statue are named for him.

Worcester NAACP officials say that they plan to help Weaver in his efforts, and might plan a special dinner during Black History Month in his honor.


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