Frank Evans, R.I.P.


(undated picture of Frank Evans from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.)

The Courier-Journal is reporting that Frank Evans, former Louisville Redbirds coach and Negro League phenom, has died:

Frank Evans, a former coach for the Louisville Redbirds and a former Negro League Player, died Aug. 3 in Auburn, Ala. He was 90 years old.

Evans worked under manager Jim Fregosi in 1984 and 1985 when Louisville won consecutive American Association championships.

Evans’ playing career spanned from 1937 through 1965 as an outfielder, first baseman, and catcher. He played for the Memphis Red Sox, Kansas City Monarchs, Detroit Stars, Cleveland Buckeyes, Birmingham Black Barons, and Philadelphia Stars.

Some choice quotes from Evans about his career in baseball are at his player profile page at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum site:

“We took a lot of abuse, stuff that people wouldn’t know about these days, but we were one family. We were the nice guys who finished last except on the field.”

Evans said that the big losers in those days were the white baseball fans. “They didn’t know what they were missing. They talk about all the great hitters – Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. They don’t ever talk about Josh Gibson, the greatest home run hitter of all time. Josh could hit a home run with one hand. I was there. I saw him do it. They talk about the great base runners, but they don’t talk about “Cool Papa” Bell, the greatest of them all. They talk about the great pitchers, but most of them never saw Satchel Paige . I admired him because he threw strikes. He was always around the plate. He had absolute control, and he did it for more than 50 years.”

Evans was a journeyman who played catcher, first base, outfield, and, occasionally, pitcher. However he was well-known around baseball for being one of the best hitting instructors of his day.

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One Response to “Frank Evans, R.I.P.”

  1. Yvonne DeCarlo Johnson Says:

    Thank you for honoring my Dad. He loved, lived and treasured his affiliation with baseball.

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