Ed Parson Memorial 2017 Softball League Season Underway League Pays Special Tribute to Commissioner James Hartley
by Renata Toney
The Ed Parson Memorial Softball League is in full swing; excited aboutthe fun season at the popular Fillmore Avenue field named in honor of the sports legend.
Former deputy director Demetrius Richards has ascended the softball league management ladder to newly appointed Acting Commissioner. “I’m excited about leading the 12-week regular season. The most important responsibility is bringing the experience that I learned from the best,” said Richards of his role change. “We would like to broaden our growing fan base; the public is invited to come out and join us for a good time and great softball. We look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and creating some awesome memories this year.”
The League is paying special tribute to Commissioner James Hartley who is on a medical leave of absence. Hartley started going to Parson ballgames with his uncle in 1962, coached championship teams and managed the league for the last nine seasons. “I miss having him around,” acknowledged deputy commissioner Sonya Fields. “His warm smile and sense of humor remain close to my heart. His claim to fame was ordering me ‘Sonya get on your job, go harass the players with your bullhorn!”
“James brought the league back into existence when it disbanded for a couple of years,” explained Richards. “We miss his leadership and keeping things under control. Get well soon James, we look forward to your return.”
The League extends a warm, deserving welcome to newly appointed deputy commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden who credits James Hartley for rebuilding the league from a fast pitch to a slow pitch league. “He increased the number of teams and made the league more diverse,” said Doc. “We’re going to miss his tremendous connections with the city this season. The league is in good hands and we will be holding it down until he gets back.”
“Doc has been a player in the league for many years,” said Richards who says he brings fresh ideas and professional leadership. Sonya Fields appreciates Doc for stepping in and giving them a helping hand. “He knows how to keep the league going- playing many years on teams. Thanks Doc, you’re the man.”
The season will culminate with two weeks of playoff games and the much-celebrated, annual major league championship throw-down. “Photos and standings will be posted on our Ed Parson Memorial Softball League Facebook page; weekly standings will be in The Challenger,” said Richards. “We also sincerely thank Darren ‘Doc’ Thomas for the images accompanying this article and maintaining the Facebook page. Doc, you’re now our official photographer. We just need to tell you that,” laughs Richards.
Founded in 1959, Ed Parson, Sr. launched the Sunday Morning Memorial Softball League with a bold vision to design a local African American baseball and basketball alliance. With the financial backing of the late Marshall Myles, a prominent East Side socialite and businessman, they recruited the city’s most versatile all-high players forming some of the most powerful squads in the region.
“James Hartley taught us just how important this softball league has been to our community for so long and worked hard to keep it alive,” said Fields. “With all the talk of how the East Side has been ignored with all the development in other areas, the league is something we can take great pride in. It started on the East Side and after all these years is one of the few things we can still call our own.”
Come join the fun, games start Sundays at 11 AM on Fillmore Avenue at the Ed Parson Memorial Field, just south of the Kensington Expressway.