A Devotional on “The Spiritual Impact of Max Manning and Buck Leonard”

Presented by Derrick C. Jones ’79
Sunday, April 12, 2015 / 10:30am
Boone Mennonite Brethren Church

Derrick C. Jones ‘79 will be bringing his love of Negro Leagues Baseball to the High Country in a variety of settings for a wide audience through interactive presentations, lectures and panel discussions. His first speaking engagement will be at Boone Mennonite Brethren Church at 161 Church Street. Rev. Mike Mathes is the pastor.

Jones will deliver a devotional on the great baseball players Buck Leonard and Max Manning that he says was inspired by his own desire “to recognize the Holy Spirit in these men.”

Tall, bespectacled Max Manning was a power pitcher in the Negro Leagues. He played for Satchel Paige's All-Stars and once struck out 14 batters in a 2-1 loss. In 1946 he was credited with 15 straight wins, losing only the season opener.

“I met Max Manning’s daughter at our Negro League Conference,” Jones, said, “and I was moved by what she shared with me about her father.” Max grew up in New Jersey and learned to pitch from the legendary Pop Lloyd. He pitched for the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League in the 1930s and 1940s. Even though he was denied the opportunity to play in the major leagues, he was known to live by the saying, ‘Forgiveness is the greater part of love.’”

Walter “Buck” Leonard, from Rocky Mount, NC, played for the Homestead Grays out of Pittsburgh from 1934-1950. He was said to be in a class by himself as a fielder and consistently hit over .320. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Jones considers Buck Leonard – known as “the black Lou Gehrig” – the greatest Negro Leagues player out of the state of North Carolina. Jones said, “Mr. Leonard had a very productive life in and out of baseball. He was a church-going man who kept Psalm 100 close to his heart. His story resonates with me as I grow and learn to be thankful for this life.”

The community is invited to join the Mennonite Brethren congregation in welcoming Mr. Jones to the High Country community at this special service.

For more information about the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, please visit http://boonechurch.com.

Mr. Jones’ “Traveling Museum of Artifacts from the Negro Leagues Era and Players” will be on display in the Multicultural Center and in the International Hallway on the first floor of Plemmons Student Union from April 13-April 17, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the public is invited.

The Derrick C. Jones Residency on the Negro Leagues Baseball Era is sponsored by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance, with support from Belk Library and Information Commons, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, and Dan’l Boone Inn.

Hosts for Jones’ presentations and lectures include the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, Appalachian’s Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Diversity Celebration, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Mabel School, the Department of Sociology and Watauga County Library.

For additional information, call 828-262-2144 or email Susan King at kingsh@appstate.edu.