April 24, 2003

APRIL 24, 2003

Obituary - Sherwood Brewer, 79
(Aug. 16, 1923 - April 23, 2003)

Sherwood Brewer, of Chicago, Illinois, an All-Star second baseman in the Negro Leagues, founded a fellowship organization that worked to make sure history remembered the players and they remembered each other, died yesterday (Wednesday, April 23, 2003) in his Chicago home, at the age of 79.

He helped demonstrate fielding fundamentals to Jackie Robinson and Ernie Banks, his teammates on the Kansas City Monarchs. An Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Mr. Brewer was raised in Downstate Centralia by an aunt and uncle after his father died when he was 11 months old.

He credited his uncle with sparking his love for baseball and said his break came after he played baseball with his military unit while stationed in Guam. "I guess someone saw me. When I got out of service and back home, I had a lot of letters from different ball clubs," Mr. Brewer told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1995. Mr. Brewer briefly managed the Monarchs and played on two other teams, the New York [New York] Cubans and the Indianapolis [Indiana] Clowns, in the 1940s and 1950s.

Banks has said in interviews that when he was homesick on a road trip with the Monarchs, Mr. Brewer made him feel better and helped keep him in the game. "My brother was always proud of being a part of the league," said his sister, Geanette Coleman. "He talked about it all the time. He said it was hard at first to be recognized for who they were as players because there weren't a lot of people coming to watch the games of the black players. But he always spoke highly of everyone and said he was treated fairly by the fans." Mr. Brewer also helped keep the memory of the Negro Leagues alive after he left baseball.