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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Getting his due

   July 31, 2006 -- Frank Grant finally received a little bit of justice on this day. It was long overdue.

   Grant was formally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was considered one of the greatest players of the 19th century, and was talented and popular. However, Grant never got the recognition he deserved, because he was an African American and never played in a major league game.

   Grant did get to display his enormous skills from 1886 to 1891 in the minor leagues, which included almost three full seasons with the Buffalo Bisons. In 1888, Grant hit .346 with 11 homers and 23 stolen bases. Think of Joe Morgan, and you have an idea what an all-around talent Grant was.

   The second baseman was the victim of racial prejudice throughout his career, as he had to battle for a fair paycheck and constantly put up with slights from opponents. It's been guessed that the "feet first" slide was invented around this time so that it would be easier to spike Grant on double plays, although that's difficult to prove.

   Grant played in the minors until 1891, when he finally gave up at the age of 25. He is considered to be the last great black baseball player in organized ball until Jackie Robinson arrived on the scene in 1946.

   Grant died in 1937 and was buried in Clifton, N.J. He received a gravestone this past June that listed his baseball accomplishments.

--- Budd Bailey

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