Bob Motley is the only living umpire of Negro League Baseball. A shot-calling legend, Motley is known for his splits, lunges and dramatic calls at the plate. It was Motley who made the game-time decisions with Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Willie Mays on the field. Bob Motley was not only a Negro League pioneer, he was also a member of the honorable Montford Point Marines of WWII.
Motley was born in Autaugaville, Alabama near Selma, in 1923. The Ku Klux Klan was heavy in his town and there were frequent memories of their actions on the black townspeople. While working for a local hotel in the town of Anniston, Motley had his first acquaintances with baseball player of the minor leagues. He knew he would one day play baseball like the gentleman he admired as a young man.
On May 21, 1943, Motley enlisted in the U.S. Army. He would be among the first group of black Marines to serve; the Montford Point Marines. He was honorably discharged in 1946 after the war. Like many early black soldiers, Motley fought for his country on dangerous grounds then returned home to a place of bigotry and racism. Even though he served time with the decorated pioneering Montford Point Marines, he was still privy to the ‘whites only’ Jim Crow laws of the south.
When he joined the Negro Leagues as an umpire, Motley faced a different challenge; he would ride along with the players on away games, and was forced to answer to them on his calls in previous games. In one instance, Motley called a strikeout on Hank Bayliss of the Kansas City Monarchs. Bayliss was so upset, he started by cursing Motley, then bumping him and later refusing to retire to the lockers. That was followed by a later attempt by Bayliss to stab Motley with a knife on the bus.
Motley was a diehard fan of the game and despite any animosity expressed by players both black or white, he continued to umpire the Negro Leagues for 25 years. Though much of his memorabilia was discarded before he realized its worth, he kept a few baseballs with special dates and notes on them to remember the experience.
In 2012, Motley received the President’s Congressional Medal of Honor. As he looks to celebrate his 90th birthday this month, Motley reminds baseball fans about his release entitled “Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants & Stars: True Tales of Breaking Barriers, Umpiring Baseball Legends, and Wild Adventures in the Negro Leagues” with foreward by friend, Dionne Warwick.
Bob Motley currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Negro Baseball Leagues Museum in Kansas City, MO. He lives with Pearline, his wife of sixty years. His son, Byron Motley, has captured his father’s legacy in his television own documentary, The Negro Leagues: An American Legacy.
Watch video of Bob Motley recalling his time an a Negro League umpire below.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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