Stanley "Doc" Glenn, a catcher with the Negro National League's Philadelphia Stars, died Saturday, just hours after two of his teammates were honored during Citizens Bank Park ceremonies commemorating Jackie Robinson's historic debut.
The Phillies said Mr. Glenn, 84, died of natural causes. He had been in failing health and was, according to the Phillies, too ill to attend Saturday's ceremonies. Ex-Stars Mahlon Duckett and Harold Gould, along with four World War II-era Tuskegee Airmen were introduced before the Marlins-Phillies game.
A Virginia native, Mr. Glenn moved to Philadelphia and graduated from John Bartram High School. Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston saw him play at the Southwest Philadelphia school and signed him for the Stars three years before Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
A Star from 1944-50, the strong-armed Mr. Glenn said a highlight of his career was catching Hall of Famer Satchel Paige during the legendary pitcher's two stints with the now-defunct club, in 1946 and 1950.
"As hard as he threw, the ball was like a feather," Mr. Glenn recalled. "It was so easy to catch him, mainly because he was always around the plate."
Mr. Glenn authored a 2006 book, Don't Let Anyone Take Your Joy Away: An Inside Look at Negro League Baseball and Its Legacy. In it, he chronicled the joys and hardships he and other players encountered barnstorming through Jim Crow-era America.
"All of the hotels in every city, North and South, were prejudiced and we weren't allowed," Mr. Glenn recalled in a 2010 interview. "They simply wouldn't rent you rooms, that's all. But that's the way it was all over."
His career came toward the end of the Negro leagues' existence. Robinson's 1947 debut with the Dodgers opened the door to big-league integration and hastened the demise of the Stars and the rest of the remaining black teams.
"We would play at old Shibe Park," Mr. Glenn recalled. "And the Phillies and Athletics would draw 10,000-12,000 people for a doubleheader, which would be on Sunday. We would have the ballpark - they would rent the ballpark to us for Monday night games - and we'd draw 30,000 people."
Later, Mr. Glenn played briefly in a Canadian professional league. In the last decades of his life, he was a fixture at Negro leagues reunions and other gatherings.
He and others were honored by vice president Al Gore at a 1994 White House ceremony. Mr. Glenn, who retired to Philadelphia and worked in the electrical-supply business, served as a board member of the Negro Leagues Baseball Players Association.