November 15, 2005

November 15, 2005

Darby Hilldales Marker Project News

The Hilldale project, designed to acknowledge the legendary Darby Hilldales 1925 Negro League World Series championship team with a historic marker where the team once played at 10th and Cedar Streets in Darby, has taken another positive turn.

The movement, initiated by former Darby resident John Bossong, just received an unspecified grant from the Philadelphia Phillies last week. The donated money will be a substantial bonus toward the financial goal of putting the marker in place.

Bossong started the project in the summer of 1999, after visiting the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. While there, Bossong noticed how the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most legendary Negro League teams, were revered by the local community, while a team from Darby, which had five Hall of Famers (and very soon possibly six), went largely ignored.

"We're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the Phillies involvement is huge," said Bossong, a systems analyst for Universal Health Services in King of Prussia. "Gene Dias, from the Phillies community relations department, has been a very big supporter of the project and huge help in getting us the backing from the Phillies.

The Judy Johnson Foundation has also been a big financial supporter of the project. Without them, I might have given up on the whole thing. Instead, it looks like we're going to get the marker."

Bossong is also hoping to have a Hilldale Day with the possible induction of former Hilldale catcher Raleigh "Biz" Mackey, who could be selected for nomination to the Hall of Fame Nov. 21. Legend has it, Mackey taught former Brooklyn Dodgers great Roy Campanella how to catch.

"From what we're hearing, there is a excellent chance Mackey will be nominated for induction," said Bossong. His interview about the Hilldale project is running locally on Comcast Newsmakers/CNN Headline news, appearing at the 54-minute mark of each hour today and Tuesday.