Genealogist David Lambert gets the credit for finding Silas Simmons—a player from the golden age of Negro League baseball who turns 111 next month.
That Simmons is still living was unknown to baseball researchers until this summer, when a genealogist near the nursing home where he lives in St. Petersburg alerted a Negro leagues expert.
A member of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research confirmed a baseball historian’s dream: that Simmons was indeed a man who had pitched and played the outfield in the equivalent of the black major leagues on and off from about 1912 through at least 1929, and that he had played against such stars as Pop Lloyd, Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey.
Wayne Stivers, who spearheaded the fact-finding committee that led to 17 people associated with the Negro leagues being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, said: “We were aware there was a Si Simmons and that he played. But we didn’t know he was still alive. We figured, 110, no — this man is not alive. My reaction was, ‘We need to talk with him immediately.’” [Link]