Local philatelist faults Talker’s Edgerton Park hoopla. Et tu,Tucker?

Local philatelist faults Talker’s Edgerton Park hoopla. Et tu,Tucker?

Jackie Robinson commemorative postcard with stamp. Eugene Kramer’s 85th birthday gift from the Yankee Clipper in the Village Gate [Courtesy: Eugene]

dean fungo

The 10,001st fungo! Dean Tucker in his Yale shirt. He spent thousands of fungos sending his daughter to New Haven, but got the nice gear. Reifsteck Field, Brighton, Easter, 2016 From 10.000 Fungos later

You met Dean Tucker in 10,000 fungos later. And marveled at his photo montage in On a leaf mound at Cobb’s Hill  Without Dean, Talker would be merely an insipid version of dear Rachel’s The Rochesterian.

Now Dean has found displeasure with the magazine.


Dean’s centerpiece, “Leaf Erickson” [Photo: Brutus] From On a Leaf Mound on Cobb’s Hill.

Recently, we endored a proposal to create a U.S. commemorative stamp for Earl Lloyd. Earl Lloyd was the first African-American to play in the NBA and his first game was at right here in Rochester at the old Edgerton Park Arena on Halloween 1950.

As Dean is a stamp connoisseur — a philatelist — we surmised he would approve. But, when we advanced a theory that a statue of Lloyd should be erected at Edgerton Park, we offhandedly remarked:

Think about it. With all due respect to philatelists, a bronze statue beats a paper stamp.

Our errata drew Dean’s attention. And a closer investigation into our theorem. And the stamp of his censure. Perhaps his ducts poisoned by an overdose of  unhealthy stamp licking (or philating as sometimes called), Dean purged his bile:

In a recent article in Talker, Kramer proposes that Rochester should support an Earl Lloyd postage stamp. As Kramer’s only philatelist friend, I am compelled to weigh in on the matter.

Lloyd was the first black player in an NBA game, a commendable and noteworthy event. There are a few issues at play, however, when it comes to the matter of whether Earl should be on a stamp, and whether Rochester should support it.


Images provided by Brutus

When researching the historical event, it seemed odd that there was much to say about Jackie Robinson breaking the Major League Baseball color barrier (and Jackie has at least 4 US Commemorative Stamps dedicated to him in the US alone.)

But the other major US sports seem to be devoid of color line heroes. The NFL color barrier was broken before Jackie’s breakthrough, but it doesn’t garner the same attention. Not a lot is written about why that is – it could be that multiple individuals were involved, or that the sport wasn’t as popular at that time as baseball.

Lloyd’s feat may be overshadowed by these same factors. He wasn’t the first black player drafted, nor the first signed to a contract, but he did manage to get into the game first. The event also happened several years after the big baseball watershed event in a league that clearly didn’t have the same popularity as baseball back in the day.


Et tu, Brute? Is it really Rochester’s  My signature slogan! What am I, chopped liver?

Even if it were a more significant event, is it really Rochester’s?  Llyoyd wasn’t on our team, rather just visiting. We were just the ever-polite spectators — a fact already proven years before when Jackie was in town.

Then there’s the matter of supporting the creation of the stamp . . .

I won’t argue that the event itself is commemoration-worthy based on the stamp subject criterion of the U.S. Postal Service. Some may see the subject event having a significant impact on American history, culture or environment, albeit to this point in time an overlooked one.

spainish stamp

Tucker calls this semi-pornographic image “art.” It’s all in eye of the philatelist.

The new stamp selection process itself is handled by the Stamp Development office that accepts and vets proposals. Petitions don’t seem to be a factor in the selection process, so in this case that may be an unnecessary effort. There’s also the rule that commemorative events must be at 50 year intervals, so are we really that excited about waiting another 35 years for this stamp?

My view as a collector is that this has little interest. Stamps which are interesting to view such as national parks, or have more dramatic impact (Space!) tend to be more popular with collectors and postal customers alike.  The world view on interesting subjects leans towards art.

Whatever your preference, the good news is that on April 10th the price of a stamp is actually decreasing for the first time in 97 years. Perhaps we need a commemorative stamp on the 100th anniversary of that last reduction. Regardless, collecting just got cheaper – so join this hobby before it dies out with the rest of us.

Dean’s points are certainly well researched, valid and appreciated. Our only relief is that Dean has not yet dismantled our proposed statue.


Rochester especially should support an Earl Lloyd U.S. Postage Stamp

Blessing the Boats and a statue where history was made at Edgerton Park

65 years ago today at Edgerton Park Arena when the NBA color line was first broken. And Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Rochester; summer of ’46

“An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later

On a mound at Cobb’s Hill! And how the City of Rochester handles its loose leaves.

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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