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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar

Morehouse AD Patillo retires , ending 40 year stint with the college

Morehouse College Athletic Director Andre Patillo has announced his retirement, ending a 40 year stint with his alma mater.

Patillo’s seat will become vacant as of June 30.

Patillo has been a part of the Morehouse campus since his graduation from Decatur high School of Decatur Georgia in 1974. He became an outstanding student and a two-letter man in football and baseball. He was so proficient in the latter sport, he received an invite to the developmental league of the Atlanta Braves following his graduation from Morehouse in 1979.andre patillo head shotPatillo

He returned to the college and took on several responsibilities between 1985 and 2000, including service as the college’s director of admissions.

In late 2000, after serving in a post away from the school, he returned to the college and was named Athletic director, replacing the retiring Arthur McAfee.

While carving a envious record of service as Morehouse AD, Patillo also officiated basketball games principally in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and from that, generated a 25 year career wearing the stripes. He was chosen for three SEC championship games and four NCAA final four matchups.

In what will be his final season as AD Morehouse's athletic programs performed admirably under his watch.

The football team ended its 2018 season at 7-3 which included a 6-0 string the first half, basketball achieved a 20-5 record and a number 3 ranking nationally,

40 year head track and field and cross country coach Willie Hill was named SIAC Coach of the year in both sports.

The school’s tennis team finished third and the baseball team was seeded 8th in this years’ tournament .

“Andre’s contribution to Morehouse is too long to list and will likely never be matched,” wrote the school’s new president, David A Thomas. “ We’ll announce a national search for Andre’s position soon, but we’ll never replace his presence nor his love for Morehouse.”

Later, I caught up Patillo who said he would now spend time resting and mulling the possibility of joining some non-profit effort. …………..


Those who read what I am writing probably think they know one candidate for the looney bin….me. But before you yank out the straight jackets and summon the brothers in the white suits, consider the three sisters I think deserve the nod. To whit:

MAMIE” PEANUT” JOHNSONMamie Peanut JohnsonJohnson
The native of Ridgeway, South Carolina began playing baseball at the age of 8. While pursuing a nursing degree in the early 1940s, she continued playing baseball . Rejected by a white women only baseball league, she eventually caught the eye of Bunny Downs, owner of the Indianapolis Clowns of Negro League baseball. Pitching her first game with the club, an opposing batter yelled she was too small to play ball and too short to strike him out. “You ain’t big as a peanut, “ he said. Sister Johnson never spoke a word back. She just struck him out!

The nickname stuck.

In three years with the Clowns (’53-’55), she was 33-8 on the mound and batted a healthy .262-.284 . She eventually left baseball, got her nursing degree from North Carolina A&T and devoted 30 years to the profession.

TONI STONEtoni stoneStone
Born Marcenia Lyle Stone in St Paul, Minnesota in 1921, she became the first woman to play in the Negro leagues when she was signed with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953. Stone had reportedly played on men’s teams long before that however, and thanks to the publicity that was attracted by her uniqueness, earned a spot with the Clowns as a second baseman

She played with the Clowns alongside Mamie “Peanut” Johnson until 1954 when her contract was sold to the Kansas City Monarchs where she ended her career and reportedly spent her remaining years caring for her husband A.P. Alberga until his death in 1987 at age 103.

Her playing skills drew a lot of attention from the black press and even a glance or two from white reporters. In a 1996 story in the New York Times, writer Robert Thomas Junior noted ’although she played mostly in exhibition games and rarely more than a few innings a game in league play, she maintained a .243 batting average and was so tough in the field that to the end of her days she would show off the scars on her left wrist and recall the time she had been spiked by a runner trying to bull past a woman who would not budge (She reportedly said later the runner was out). Stone’s career, however short it was, did manage to earn her induction into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

CONNIE MORGANconnie morganMorgan
The native of Philadelphia got a break in 1954 when she read in a local newspaper about black women playing for the all-male Indianapolis Clowns. She wrote to Clowns’ manager Syd Pollock about a tryout. He signed her to a two year contract to replace Toni Stone who’s contract was sold in ’54 to the Kansas City Monarchs. Morgan only played one year with the Clowns but generated a batting average believed to be close to .300 and was so fast on the base paths she earned the nickname “lightning”. After baseball, she returned to studies at William Penn Business School and graduated in 1955. In 1974, Morgan was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Johnson, Stone and Morgan faced the same trials and tribulations that beset Negro league baseball and then some. Not only did they tolerate the gruel of long bus rides, 175 game schedules annually, poor accommodations and even poorer record keeping, they often had to deal with insults, passes and jokes from their male counterparts. But, Stone was once quoted as saying, “once you let the guys know there wasn’t going to be any monkey business, they soon give you their respect.”

It’s now time for the world of baseball to render similar plaudits. Let’s send the pioneering trio to Cooperstown.


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