When Jesse Owens Brought Baseball to Portland

THE UNFINISHED PYRAMID

Today is the birthday of one of the most important athletes of all time, Jesse Owens.  His story is an incredible one, with an interesting  baseball twist that not many people know.

Jesse Owens was the grandson of a slave who grew up in rural Alabama picking ten pounds of cotton a day.  When he was 9, his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio.  There, Jesse worked every day after school at jobs like shoe repair, in a steel mill, and delivering groceries.  In his P.E. class, the track coach saw how talented he was, and asked him to come out for the team.  Jesse said he had to work every day after school, so the coach arranged to meet Jesse before school for practice.  It was also at this middle school that Owens met a girl named Minnie Ruth.  They would get married in 1935, and remain married until his…

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