Ed Parson Softball Season opener kicked off with naming ceremony in honor of the late James Hartley

by Renata Toney

The Ed Parson Memorial Softball League kicked off in full swing Sunday, May 19,  at the field named in honor of the sports legend. To start the season, two diamonds will be officially named with signage to honor Commissioner James Hartley who passed in 2017. 

The naming ceremony  included remarks, a City of Buffalo proclamation and balloon release,” said Commissioner Demetrius Richards. “Mr. Hartley’s family was on-hand to toss the first ball.”

Hartley’s affiliation with the league spans over decades–in 1962 his uncle took him to his first game. He went on to later coach some of its championship teams and managed the league for more than 20 years.

Games for the 12-week season start at 11 AM each Sunday on Fillmore Avenue, just south of the Kensington Expressway. Come on out for food, laughs and down-home family fun. Sonya Fields and A.C. Brown return as deputy commissioners.

The season will culminate with two weeks of playoff games and the popular annual major league championship throwdown.

Many thanks to Daren ‘Doc’ Thomas for his ongoing support with photography. “We also extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to The Challenger and Al-Nisa Banks for your unrelenting support of the league that spans over decades,” said Commissioner Demetrius Richards.

Founded in 1959, Ed Parson, Sr. launched the Sunday Morning Memorial Softball League with a bold vision to design a local African American baseball and basketball alliance. With the financial backing of the late Marshall Myles, a prominent East Side socialite and businessman, they recruited the city’s most versatile all-high players forming some of the most powerful squads in the region.