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Jimmy Porter dies
institutions sometimes die.
Jimmy Porter won't be at the opening Little League game at Carrollton this
spring. There is a first time for everything.
Porter, a Carrollton institution for more than 50 years and a onetime player in
the Negro American League died Tuesday. He was 84.
Born and raised on a Farm in East Texas, he began playing baseball at the age of
6. Porter's family later moved to the Dallas area, and in the 1920s he went to
St. Louis to pursue a career with the Negro American League. Friends
remember Porter talking about playing ball with the greats - but homesickness
for Texas brought him back after two years.
Porter then started the Carrollton Cats, a black semipro team in the late 1920s.
He also began teaching area youths about baseball, an avocation he pursued for
at least half a century until failing health slowed him down. Porter was a
driving force in establishing Little League baseball in Carrollton.
"When I was a little ol' kid growing up in town, he was just always here," said
David Claterbaugh, 47. "All the kids went out to his house and played ball with
him. He took us hunting. He always had Pepsi Cola and cookies for us."
Several years ago, Claterbaugh said, Porter had to have surgery for cancer.
"It never seemed to slow him down," Claterbaugh said. "I would always see him
going down the street with a bat over his shoulder and a baseball glove strung
on his bat."
In 1972, Porter's work with the youth of Carrollton was recognized. A field at
Sherwood and Josey Lanes was named Jimmy Porter Park.
Carrollton Parks and Recreation Director T. C. Rice Jr. said Porter spent a lot
of time at his park but also made appearances at other fields to spark impromptu
"Up until his death, you would still see him going up the street with several
bats and gloves," Rice said. "The last couple of years his health began to fail,
and I guess age caught up with him - he didn't think Porter ever married, and he
outlived his immediate family.
Services will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Rhoton-Weiland Funeral Chapel. Burial
will follow at Hilltop Cemetery.
Porter, 84, dies
Porter, Carrollton's 84 year-old baseball legend, died Tuesday at Dedman
Memorial Hospital in Farmers Branch.
He had been hospitalized for several weeks.
Services will be held at 4:30 p.m. today at Rhoton Weiland Funeral Home.
Porter was a native of East Texas who began playing baseball when he was six. He
and his family later moved to Dallas and in 1920 Porter left for St. Louis to
pursue a successful career in the old American Negro League.
After two years in the Midwest, Porter returned to Texas and organized the
Carrollton Cats, a black semi-pro baseball team. It was at that time he began
another career, teaching Carrollton children the art of baseball.
He helped organize and coached the Carrollton Little League for many years and
taught many youngsters who are now considered pillars of the community.
He was awarded a lifetime membership by the Texas PTA in April 1977 and a plaque
from the Lion's Club, and appeared on the Today show in July 1982 and on Channel
8 Insights. In 1979, Jimmy Porter Park at Sherwood and Josey lanes was
dedicated in his honor.
Although he had no living relatives, Porter was well cared for by his Carrollton
family of friends. Most recently he was presented with a one-room home built by
donations from area businessmen.
He is survived by hundreds of friends who will cherish their memories of the
little black man who walked the streets of Carrollton wearing a Little League
jacket, with a bat slung over his shoulder and a smile on his face.
Jimmy Porter Park dedication Marker
Concession Stand at the Jimmy Porter Park
Carrollton, Dallas County, Texas