Silverman was excited to find out about a family legacy he had no idea existed. The ballpark was leased by the Philadelphia Stars, but owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad YMCA. It was home to the football club, the “Railroaders” and soon used for a multisport athletic field by local community members.
Mackenzi Parker, the co-owner of Le Cochon Noir at 5070 Parkside Ave., hosted the jazz brunch and keynote address in honor of Jackie Robinson Day and the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Baseball team. Parker said that celebrating and learning about black history in baseball brings people together.
“I think no one really knows about the history,” Parker said. “It brings awareness to people inside the neighborhood and outside the neighborhood as well as a greater appreciation of the game.”
Dr. Robert Perkel, a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, is an expert on Jackie Robinson who lectures on racial disparities and Robinson’s integration of baseball.
Perkel uses a quote by Robinson that resonates with him is his lectures, “A life is not worth living except the impact it has on others.”
“In some aspects, we are a more color-blind society than we were,” Perkel said. “I keep coming back to that legacy as a way to keep people connected in their communities.”
Perkel said he thinks the community is moving toward the ideals stated in the U.S. Constitution, but how little baseball players really knew about baseball history.
“One of the sad things today is that if you go into a major league locker room there are fewer black players because they are opting for other sports,” Perkel said. “Jimmy Rollins spoke to players in major league baseball awhile ago and mentioned the name Jackie Robinson. A lot of them really didn’t know who he was.”
Perkel said that restoring the baseball tradition in Parkside is in conjunction with the local businesses and residents resulting in Parkside being an upcoming neighborhood.
Mike Feldsher, of Napier Street and Worthington Road said he brought his daughter to see the Philadelphia Stars Memorial for the learning experience.
“This was important to Philadelphia history and baseball history,” Feldsher said. “The black players today like Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have continued to Philadelphia’s legacy."