Obituary: Porter Reed (1923-2019)

RIP to Porter Reed, an Oklahoma Negro Leagues legend who played against the likes of Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and more. He died on January 2 at the age of 95 after experiencing chest pains the previous week and undergoing surgery to place stents in two arteries.

Reed served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1942-46. After the War, he turned to baseball. In one of his earliest at-bats, he faced Paige as a pinch hitter. He recalled to the Muskogee Phoenix that the first pitch was under his chin, but he got his hacks in on the next two pitches.

“The next pitch was a strike down the middle and I bet it was 120 mph,” he said.

Reed played the outfield for the Detroit Wolves, a Negro Leagues minor-league team in 1948 and told the Phoenix that he was invited to camp with a farm team of the Boston Braves located in Leavenworth, Kan. Instead, he stayed with Detroit, which paid better, and finished his career with a season with the Houston Eagles and two years in Canada. He retired in 1953.

Oklahoma State University recorded a 10-minute interview with Reed in 2009, where he talks about playing ball in Oklahoma and elsewhere. You can see it at the bottom of this page. He was also invited by the minor-league Tulsa Drillers to throw out a ceremonial first pitch in 2016.


Source: Oklahoma Oral History Research Program

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