BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Almost 50 years after his death, a Negro League Baseball pioneer is being honored.
On Tuesday, members of the community came out to celebrate the legacy of Grant “home run” Johnson. A headstone and roadside plaque were placed at his grave site at Lakeside Cemetery in Hamburg.
During his career, Johnson played for and managed seven top tier Negro League championship teams. He got the nickname “home run” by hitting 60 home runs for the 1894 Findlay Sluggers.
Johnson was able to break barriers during a time of segregation.
Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation President Joseph Dispenza said, “He was a pioneer when he wasn’t welcomed, too. He was a fellow who was brave enough and strong enough to raise a family, sing in a church choir, and play in a baseball league although segregated at that time.”
Johnson was born in Findlay, Ohio, and died here in Buffalo in 1963. He was 91-years-old.