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Mr. George Crowe

George Crowe graduated from Franklin Community High School in 1939. He graduated from Indiana Central College, which is better known today as the University of Indianapolis, in 1943.

A standout athlete, Crowe didn’t start playing basketball until his junior year of high school when he was approached by Coach Fuzzy Vandivier.  His senior year the Grizzly Cubs played for the state championship, and after the loss, Crowe was overlooked by the committee who selected the tournament’s outstanding player.  The Hammond Times wrote that “George Crowe was reminded by five little men that his color wasn’t right.”  When the Indianapolis Star invited its readers to vote for an all-state team, Crowe, the only black player on a small-town team, finished first with just over 48,000 votes out of more than 103,000 cast.  As the people’s choice, he was named the first Indiana Mr. Basketball.

While in college he played basketball, baseball and ran track.  Mr. Crowe always maintained that basketball was his best sport, but because professional basketball was on shaky financial ground, he tried out with the New York Black Yankees baseball team.   Though Crowe never played baseball in high school, as there was no school baseball team back then, he went on to have a successful career. He made his Major League Debut in 1952, at the age of 31, for the Boston Braves.  Crowe is remembered as a mentor to many of the young African American players that came after him.  Jackie Robinson described him as articulate and far-sighted.

Mr. Crowe retired in 1961 and the Franklin High School baseball field was named Crowe Field shortly thereafter.     

Throughout his life and athletic career, George Crowe faced discrimination and segregation, but chose to, in his own words, ‘play through it’, and did so with a quiet confidence.