- Associated Press - Monday, August 18, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - What if a baseball player the caliber of Lou Brock came from Bloomington? Would that merit an honorific statue?

When he passed away, what sort of ceremony would that prompt?

The earthly remains of George Shively have lain in an unmarked Rose Hill Cemetery grave for over a half-century now, unceremoniously.

That is about to change.

An effort to properly memorialize and salute Shively - a two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star in the Negro leagues - is afoot. And it will receive open-to-the-public pronouncement at 6 p.m. Thursday, when distinguished Negro Leagues expert and author Phil Dixon gives a free talk at the Monroe County History Center.

That venue is appropriate in more than one respect. The center is at Sixth and Washington, on the site once occupied by “The Colored School” Shively attended while a Bloomington youth in the early 20th Century.

Dixon is currently touring 90 towns that hosted games featuring the legendary Kansas City Monarchs (the longest-running Negro Leagues franchise, with Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson among its Hall of Famers) in honor of the Monarchs’ 90th anniversary. While he is unsure if they ever played in Bloomington, Dixon said he was privileged to stop by and speak about Shively.

“I’m happy to bring attention to these ballplayers, to the many outstanding athletes who are not in their respective state hall of fames or haven’t received due recognition,” Dixon told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/1pW0V16 ). “In this particular case, also, it’s to help raise money for a monument at the grave site. I like those kinds of projects.

“I’m so excited to help get a local hero recognition.”

Just how heroic or even local Shively was, athletically, wasn’t immediately clear to former Herald-Times sports editor Bob Hammel, whose initial interest in the subject was spurred by a seemingly extraneous comment during an interview.

Hammel, while writing a brief bio about 2011 Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame inaugural class inductee Cornelius Cook, came across notes from a conversation years earlier in which the late Cook had offered an off-hand addendum: “I only pitched against George Shively once.”

Shively’s name was new to Hammel at the time. Upon further reflection, he figured that hanging-thread of a sentence had to signify something, that there was a reason the former Bloomington High School multi-sport star and Negro Leagues pitcher had said it.

So Hammel Googled George Shively and .

Lo and behold.


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