JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—It is quiet - now - in the JP Small Memorial Stadium, but listen closely and the cracking sound of Buster Hair's baseball bat can be heard.
"I don't like to blow my own horn, but I did okay," said Hair.
Harold "Buster" Hair, who calls himself a 'hood rat' from Durkeeville, started his baseball career in that park
"My grandfather carried me to see a game when I was four," he said.
Six years later, at age ten, he was a regular playing for the Durkeeville Allstars. From there, it was college and then the Negro Baseball league
"I got drafted by the Birmingham Black Barons - that's when I went in the league in '53," said Hair.
He played in the league five years and finished with the Kansas City Monarchs.
"In 1958, I hit .355," said Hair. "I led the league."
Now he's 84 and his six-foot frame is not as sturdy as it used to be, but his memory is sharp. He remembers being in the dugout with Charley Pride, Roy Campenella and Ernie Banks.
"Now, he was a nut, Ernie was a nut," he said.
And Jackie Robinson.
"When Jackie walked in it was a hush," said Hair.
He remembers how he was treated because of the color of his skin, he remembers his meager days.
"My first contract was $250 a month," said Hair, "We got two dollars a day eating money."
There's only one regret: he never played in the Majors.
"If I had went to the show, that was my goal, that is why I played and played,' he said.
He went from baseball to teaching, to coaching, to preaching. He is now in Negro League's Baseball Museum.
"How do I want to be remembered? I would like to be known for a guy who tried," said Hair.
This year the Florida Star newspaper will celebrate the life of Jackie Robinson and the Negro Baseball League.
The event is April 13, at JP Small Memorial Stadium. Publisher Clara McLaughlin said the celebration is necessary to show the positive things in the black community.
"We are excited," said McLaughlin. "It is important because we are acknowledging Black history and it is positive."
Edward Waters College will play Florida Memorial College and 'Buster' Hair will be there to sign autographs.