The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire

 

Oklahoma’s last known Negro Baseball League player Eugene Golden was laid to rest today in Weleetka, Oklahoma.  Eugene Golden, was born in 1925 Clearview, Oklahoma to Ashford T. Golden and Julia A. (Roberson) Golden. At age 95, Goon passed this life into the next, December 23, 2020.  He would grow up with 11 brothers and sisters. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Upon returning home, he garnered the name “Earthquake McGoon”, a comic book character with rowdy behavior.  Later, it was shortened, and most people in the community came to know him as “Goon”.

Goon grew up in the community playing sandlot baseball. He played in surrounding communities like Nuyaka and Okfuskee.  After his stint in the Navy, he continued to play baseball.   As a pitcher, he was known to throw a 100 mile an hour fast ball. He also played with several different teams in all Negro League, including Kansas City Monarchs.

In 2015, a Big Show Legend event in Muskogee honored him and several other players who played in the Negro Baseball League. They were, the great grandson of Babe Ruth, the great grandson of Josh Gibson, and Lefty O’Neal, who became instant friends.  The younger men were in awe of him and his good friend, Porter Reed as they talked about Satchel Page and Jackie Robinson with their stories about playing ball in the Jim Crow era. Instead of going to a parade, they all attended his annual fish fry, promising to come back someday.

The Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief, George Tiger also honored Eugene Golden with a certificate of recognition and attended his birthday party. Goon was also highlighted in several baseball events for his participation in the Negro Baseball League.

In February of 2008, The Tulsa World highlighted Eugene Golden for Black History month.

In 2012 Eugene Golden joined Roosevelt Jackson to throw the commemorative pitch at the Tulsa Drillers Game annual tribute to the Negro Baseball League and kick off the 2012 Juneteenth Celebration in Tulsa

He never got used to the attention, especially when people asked him for an autographed baseball.  The Oklahoma Sports Museum added Eugene to their list of Oklahoma athletes, recognizing his affiliation with the Negro Baseball League.  He had many stories about his traveling experiences with teams.

Goon is preceded in death by his parents; sisters:  Jesse Mae, Susie, Ersie, Leota and brothers: Ross, Bailey, and Alfred; and five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He is survived by sisters: Colleen, Almeda and Elletha; brothers: Andy and Joe. His children: Julia, Sandra, Eugene Jr., Sanford, Jerry, George, James, Theresa, Lendy, Brenda, Tim, Mark, Myra Kim, and Crystal. Also, his adopted children: Linda, Becky, Connie, Kathy, Sharon, George, Ronnie, Dale, Mike, and Frank. And, finally, his special coffee buddies, John, Kenny, Bill, and Garland.  He leaves 65 grandchildren, 115 great grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren as well as many special nieces and nephews and cousins.

Goon faced adversity and racism as a Negro Leaguer due to the social climate in which he played, knowing the only thing that kept him apart from the MLB, was the color of skin, rather than the ability to play.”

Now the MLB has finally recognized the Negro Leagues as the Major Leagues marking a long-overdue acknowledgment of the accomplishments of African American players who did not have the opportunity to play in the American or National Leagues.

His daughter Sandy Golden, and Cousin Rebecca Marks Jimerson, says the family received numerous condolences via email and social media from the US and former and current MLB Players.

Go to: www.williamsonspradlin.com for complete obituary.