(CBS Local)- Cam Perron’s story of befriending and then helping former Negro League players obtain their deserved recognition and pensions from Major League Baseball has been covered across media platforms through the years. He has appeared in local papers, on HBO’s Real Sports and more telling the story of his friendships with these living legends and his role in bringing hundreds of them together for reunions in Birmingham, Alabama through the years. Now, Perron is telling his story in his own words with a new book Comeback Season: My Unlikely Story of Friendship with the Greatest Living Negro League Baseball Players that is now available for sale.
“A lot of the former baseball players that I’ve been friends with and interviewed over the years are starting to pass away. We’ve opened a museum in Birmingham, Alabama dedicated to the preservation of the Negro League,” Perron said in an interview with CBS Local’s Ryan Mayer. “We’ve now had annual reunions for almost ten years now where we’ve had hundreds of players congregate at these reunions over the years. So I think all of that, all those stories put together, has now just left me with the time and place to put it all together.”
MLB has begun to give more recognition to the Negro League and its players, in December of last year announcing that the leagues were given official recognition, incorporating the statistics and records into MLB history. That self-admitted “long overdue recognition,” brings seven Negro Leagues and over 3,400 players into the league’s history going forward. As nice as that recognition is, Perron wants people to understand and celebrate the Negro League for what it was, an independent, thriving, black-owned business.
“One thing in that regard that is being brought to light more recently with Major League Baseball’s acceptance of Negro League statistics is, the Negro League was its own independent league that for quite some time was thriving,” Perron said. “They had a huge fan base of their own fans that didn’t necessarily cross over to the major leagues. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be put into the category of, or under the wing of Major League Baseball. It was its own great league and it had its differences and it was one of the largest black owned businesses in America. I believe it was the third largest black business in America. And I think it needs to be accepted for its uniqueness.”
For Perron, he sees the book as being one more about relationships and memories than baseball. For that reason, he thinks that any reader, sports fan or not, can take something away from his journey.
“One of the big things is that, while the topic of the book is about Negro League baseball, it’s not a baseball book. It’s more of a history book, a book about memories and history, relationships, friendships, loss, discovery all of those kind of elements. As a young kid, I was a big baseball fan and over the years I’ve personally just not watched baseball as much or kept up with the modern games and athletes. But the history and memories and relationships of that have really stuck with me. And I think this book can appeal to those who aren’t really sports fans at all.”
Comeback Season: My Unlikely Story of Friendship with the Greatest Living Negro League Baseball Players is now available for sale everywhere.