April 10, 2003

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Photos & editorial by Bert Orlitzky, NLBPA.com webmaster

Former Negro Leaguer Mr. Ernest Burke, was a guest speaker this morning on WIYY-FM, 98-Rock, Baltimore’s home of Rock-n-Roll.

Ernest discussed his experiences as a player with the Baltimore Elite Giants in the 1940’s.  He also covered topics such as Negro League history,  modern day baseball, and other life experiences.

He brought along one of his original baseball mitts and a pair of cleats. The hosts were amazed that anyone could catch a ball in the tiny webbing of the old style gloves.

Ernest cleverly replied that “ball players today should be able to catch a basket of peaches with the size of modern baseball mitts.”

When asked about Jackie Robinson, Ernest pointed out the Jackie was indeed the “right man” to integrate the Major Leagues... “Jackie’s education at UCLA, his experience as a second lieutenant in the Army, and his disposition made him the perfect choice.”

On Oct. 23, 1945, Robinson was signed by Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers and finally broke through the color lines of Major League Baseball.

Ernest also pointed out the tremendous hardships that Jackie’s wife Rachael must have endured. He said that she should be equally credited for helping to integrate baseball.

Chip Franklin, radio personality with WBAL, Radio 11 listened in on Ernest’s interview.

At the end of the program, Chip and Ernest had a lengthy conversation about their baseball experiences and their love of sports.

Their common passion for sports formed an instant friendship between these guys.

98-Rock Morning show (left to right) featuring the infamous Lopez,  Jerry Coleman (sports guy), Mark Ondayko, and our own Ernest Burke.

Missing from this photo is the lovely Stephanie Drummond, Producer for the KML Morning show.  Her energy kept things moving and her graciousness made us feel welcome!.

Thank you to the entire gang at