Results tagged ‘ Herb Simpson ’

RIP Herb Simpson, last surviving Seattle Steelheads player

Herb Simpson

Herb Simpson

We learned today of the passing of an important part of Seattle sports history. Herb Simpson, the last-known surviving member of the Negro Leagues Seattle Steelheads, died surrounded by family in a New Orleans hospital on Tuesday. He was 94.

Herb became a member of the Mariners family with his participation in the African American Heritage Day celebrations at Safeco Field in 2013 and 2014. He was a dear man who gladly shared stories of his time in the 1940 and 50s playing a game he loved.

Herb “Briefcase” Simpson, played first base and outfield for the Steelheads, one of six teams in the short-lived West Coast Baseball Association. The league only survived a few months in the summer of 1946, but the Steelheads lived on another year as a traveling all-stars team. Simpson went on to play for the Albuquerque Dukes and Spokane Indians from 1952-1954.

Jerry Brewer, of the Seattle Times, profiled Simpson in 2013, and noted Negro Leagues historian Ryan Wirthy wrote about Herb’s 2014 trip to Seattle.

Herb Simpson with Mariners Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Alvin Davis.

Herb Simpson with Mariners Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Alvin Davis.

Simpson’s niece, Lisa Broussard, said via email that the Simpson family wanted to thank the city of Seattle for embracing her uncle as “one of your own.”

Those of us at the Mariners who got to know Herb are feeling his loss, but glad to have had a chance to get to know the humble, unassuming man who was an important part of Seattle sports history.

Rest in peace, Herb Simpson.

African American Heritage Day

The Mariners will celebrate African American Heritage Day at Safeco Field today with a pregame ceremony to honor contributions of noted African Americans to the Northwest community. Among the honorees will be Herb Simpson, the last known surviving member of the old Negro Leagues Seattle Steelheads.

Here is a great story on Herb by Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer from last year.

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Here is a pretty amazing photo of Herb taken by Seattle photographer Rick Takagi.