Former Negro League ballplayer and erstwhile Riverfront Times
columnist Joe Henry
is reportedly in grave health. Henry's grandson, Sean Muhammad, passed along word that the 80-year-old baseball legend has spent much of the past few weeks in the hospital. The doctors, according to Muhammad, have diagnosed an early stage of dementia. For much of the past decade, Henry also has suffered debilitating arthritis.
"Prince" Henry, as Joe was known on the ball diamond, played in the Negro Leagues throughout the 1950s, most notably for the Indianapolis Clowns -- baseball's equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters.
In 2004 Riverfront Times chronicled Henry's fight
to receive a pension from Major League Baseball designed to benefit former Negro League players. Henry finally won his battle last November when MLB agreed to pay
the impoverished former ballplayer an $833-a-month pension. This past June Henry was again recognized when the St. Louis Cardinals
ceremoniously drafted him as part of an MLB effort to honor players of this vanishing era of baseball.
From 2005 to 2007 Henry penned the advice column "Ask a Negro Leaguer"
that appeared each week in the RFT
. This fall, Sean Muhammad published "Princoirs,"
a book based on Henry's columns and other stories.
Any one wanting to pass along well-wishes to Henry can send cards to the following address:
c/o Sean Muhammad
P.O. Box #140154
St. Louis, MO. 63114
-- Chad Garrison