By Ashley Nash
Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI) participant Anthony Fleming joined staff and seniors recently at the center’s Josie Barrows Center for a Black History Month presentation honoring black athletes.
Fleming, 68, delighted the audience with his impressive recall of baseball players.
Recalling his own experiences of playing baseball, he said, “We were the best, but we never had a real chance to go far, ” talking about some of the greats like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Curt Flood.
Fleming was born in San Francisco in 1949. He described growing up Black in the city “when communities were separated and opportunities were limited.”
In his youth, he joined an all-Black baseball team in the Catholic Youth League. The team members were the best in the city at their positions.
According to Fleming, some umpires were frustrated by the Black players’ success and often cheated their teams.
“After we won every game, we were kicked out of the league, but it did make us stronger,” he said.
It wasn’t until Fleming played first base in high school that he realized his uphill climb had only begun. His coach’s son also played first base. The coach looked past Fleming’s considerable talent, giving his son the playing time that Fleming rightfully earned. “I was so mad that I quit. These were the kinds of challenges we ran into as Black people.”
Fleming went on to have a successful career as a radio broadcaster. Retiring from radio 28 years later, he created Eastmont Computing Center which served 7,000 children before closing in 2009.
That was the year that Fleming suffered a debilitating stroke. To this day, he is extremely grateful that his family found CEI, where he receives the medical and social support he needs to remain living independently at home in Oakland.
“Because of CEI, I can get everything I need in one place,” he said. “I can have fun at the center and also receive home care.”
Fleming, a lifelong Giants fan, still has great love for baseball. “Celebrating Black History Month and acknowledging the greats helps us to remember the challenges we’ve overcome.”
For more information about Center for Elders’ Independence, please visit cei.elders.org or call (510) 433-1150.