Ralph J. Grant’s Crowning Glory

ralphgrant1.jpgRalph Grant has been added to the list of great baseball stars whose names appear on Oakland’s playing fields, ballparks and recreation centers. When Greenman Field was renamed in Grant’s honor last week, he joined his friends Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan and Curtis Flood and other baseball and professional stars who have guided youth. His wife Gloria (upper left), councilmember  Desley Brooks, former Mayor Elihu Harris and John Burris were among the hundreds who dedicated the field and placed Ralph Grant’s name alongside of other Oakland Hall of Famers. Photos by Gene Hazzard and graphics by Alapi Bhatt.

Friends, fraternity brothers and family of Ralph J. Grant came together on Sunday, November 23 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center to honor a great man in the community.

The City of Oakland held the ceremony, changing the name of Greenman Field Park to the Ralph J. Grant Park, located on 66th Avenue near International Boulevard. Widely recognized for his passion for baseball and his commitment to his profession as an accountant, he dedicated his energies in both to serve the community for a span of 30 years.

Ralph became a Babe Ruth coach in 1985. He was the head of the Bill Wright Payne team, which consisted of 8, 9, and 10-year olds. They took first place.  Three years later, he went on to coach 10, 11 and 12 -year olds in the major division.

Known as the “Kappa” from Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Ralph helped disadvantaged youth from West Oakland afford the opportunity to play baseball.  Supporting many kids, he would personally buy uniforms, provide transportation, feed and mentally support all of his team members.

Ralph embraced all young people interested in the game of baseball, regardless of their mental and physical challenges.  Together with coaches with Eddie Abram and Wil Ash, he won the California state championship, Pacific Southwest Regional Championship and the World Series Championship in Aberdeen. Maryland.

Besides his work youth in baseball, Ralph has been of service in financial and tax preparation for many businesses, elected officials and nonprofits.

Saundra Andrews, representing Congresswoman Barbara Lee, opened Sunday’s event, which drew more than 200 people, with an expression of gratitude.

Councilwoman Desley Brooks, whose efforts began the process of dedicating the baseball diamond to Ralph Grant, talked about her gratitude for Ralph’s support and fundraising to improve the field to allow older players to continue playing baseball.

Former Mayor and Chancellor of Peralta College Elihu Harris spoke with humor and affection about the Ralph’s persistent efforts to encourage his family, friends and business associates to help support his love of children and the game of baseball.  Daniel Stuart delivered the Spoken Word.

Teams coached by Eddie Abram, Wil Ash and Jim Stuart played a game of baseball.  Team Grant beat the Saints 2 to 1.  Team Grant’s pitchers’ Alex Martinez, and Chaning Nesbit threw a combined no hitter.