Youngstown native makes it big in the Negro Baseball League and - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Youngstown native makes it big in the Negro Baseball League and in business

  • More NewsMore>>

  • Remembering Idora Park over the years

    Remembering Idora Park over the years

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of the devastating fire that led to the closing of the Idora Amusement Park. Glenn Stevens took a look back at Idora Park's history and the memories it made for generations. More >>
    This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of the devastating fire that led to the closing of the Idora Amusement Park. Glenn Stevens took a look back at Idora Park's history and the memories it made for generations. More >>
  • Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere talks about hostage situation

    Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere talks about hostage situation

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:29:48 GMT
    Following the five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail that ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates, Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere spoke to 21 News.More >>
    Following the five hour hostage situation at the Trumbull County jail that ended with the safe release of a corrections guard taken hostage by 3 inmates, Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere spoke to 21 News.More >>
  • GM ships kits to repair ignition in recalled cars

    GM ships kits to repair ignition in recalled cars

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:27:38 GMT
    General Motors says it has shipped thousands of kits consisting of ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets for older model small cars subject to a safety recall.According to a notice posted Wednesday on the General Motors corporate website, letters were mailed last week to about 1.4 million owners of 2003-2007 models telling them to contact a GM dealer to make an appointment for repairs, which GM says should take about 90 minutes. Wait times may be longer depending on the busyness ...More >>
    General Motors says it has shipped thousands of kits consisting of ignition switches, ignition cylinders and key sets for older model small cars subject to a safety recall.According to a notice posted Wednesday on the General Motors corporate website, letters were mailed last week to about 1.4 million owners of 2003-2007 models telling them to contact a GM dealer to make an appointment for repairs, which GM says should take about 90 minutes. Wait times may be longer depending on the busyness ...More >>

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Can you imagine being one of the very best in baseball and having to walk through the back gate every time you stepped onto the field?

This was the battle that thousands of black Americans had to face as they struggled to make names for themselves in the baseball arena and life in general.

As part of Black History Month, Jennifer Brindisi has the story of a Youngstown native who was one of those who fought for his rights to play ball.

James Cobbin grew up in Youngstown in a time of heavy discrimination, but he loved baseball and he pursued it with a passion, despite the racial challenges.

Not only did Cobbin make it in baseball, playing with the Negro Baseball League for two years, he ended up becoming an entrepreneur and making it in business as well, bringing that success all the way back to his hometown.

It was a time of great talent, a great love of baseball and great racial disparity and James Cobbin was in the middle of it all.

As a young boy, he lit up when he got to hold a bat in his hands. "My total passion was baseball. In fact, when I was younger and it rained i cried; I couldn't play baseball that day," Cobbin said.

At 15 he played semi-pro ball under an assumed name and after two years at Allen University in South Carolina he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His contract stated that baseball was serious and it was; serious discrimination. Nothing in the contract was written for him; not the hotel rooms, not the food, not the camaraderie.

"Everybody else came in the front gate. We came in the back gate. As we had spring training, and as we started to have batting practice and so forth; when I came up to bat, everything got quiet," Cobbin said.

He took his frustration out on the ball. So when the Black Yankees came calling, James accepted and would start his career with the Negro Baseball League.

He played from 1956 to 1958 with the Black Yankees and the Indianapolis Clowns. He was once called "The Thief" for stealing so many bases.

"The white major league had the money, but the Negro league had the talent. All of the guys who came from the Negro league to the other major leagues were stars when they arrived; Satchel Page, Larry Doby, Campanella, you could just go on and name them all," Cobbin said.

The memories from that time are indescribable. The crowds were huge and the skills that would change baseball forever were perfected in the Negro League.

"The bunt, the hit-and-run, the double steal, all those things happened in Negro League Baseball. They invented all of those things including the lights at night," Cobbin said.

After being drafted by the Army, Cobbin continued his baseball career with the European league and celebrated a World Series win.

After his baseball career, Cobbin came home and created a booming business. In 1978 he created a transportation company, CCS Trans, Inc.

Cobbin, a true entrepreneur, said he got lucky. But if you know Jim Cobbin, you know it had nothing to do with luck and everything to do with passion and perseverance; succeeding in spite of segregation and moving forward minus the color lines.

Youngstown is the headquarters of the Negro League Baseball Foundation, of which Cobbin is Vice President. Jim has an incredible memorabilia store at his building on Fifth Avenue called the W.J. Cobbin Office Tower.

There are only 61 surviving members of the Negro Baseball League.

  • SpotlightSpotlightMore>>

  • Updated

    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:04:57 GMT
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark,More >>
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark, presented by Stanley E. Shearer with Northwestern Mutual and 21 WFMJ on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Eastwood Field.More >>
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Restaurant plans new statue of Joe Paterno

    Restaurant plans new statue of Joe Paterno

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:57:56 GMT
     (AP) - Fans of the late Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno are planning to commission a new bronze statue of him, and place it across from the school. Organizers say the statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000 and would hopefully be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. But a restaurant owner in downtown State Col...More >>
     (AP) - Fans of the late Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno are planning to commission a new bronze statue of him, and place it across from the school. Organizers say the statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000 and would hopefully be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. But a restaurant owner in downtown State Col...More >>
  • Woman allegedly sold heroin from hospital bed

    Woman allegedly sold heroin from hospital bed

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:01:45 GMT
    A woman in western Pennsylvania is accused of selling heroin from a hospital intensive care unit and a hospital room.More >>
    A woman in western Pennsylvania is accused of selling heroin from a hospital intensive care unit and a hospital room.More >>
  • Jet stowaway undetected for hours before departure

    Jet stowaway undetected for hours before departure

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:44:25 GMT
    Surveillance cameras at San Jose International Airport successfully captured the teenager on the tarmac, climbing up the landing gear of a jet. But in the end, the cameras failed because no one noticed the security...More >>
    A 15-year-old stowaway who survived a flight over the Pacific in a jet's wheel well spent seven hours undetected in what is supposed to be a highly secure area of San Jose International Airport before the flight...More >>
  • Hot ClicksHot ClicksMore>>

  • Can an app save the planet?

    Can an app save the planet?

    This startup's Earth Day launch has a massive goal: Cut carbon emissions globally. It has its work cut out for it.
    More >>
    This startup's Earth Day launch has a massive goal: Cut carbon emissions globally. It has its work cut out for it.
    More >>
  • 'Captain America' holds onto top box office spot

    'Captain America' holds onto top box office spot

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-04-22 02:47:39 GMT
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Captain America really is unbeatable - at least at the box office"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has been the top draw at theaters for three consecutive weeks, vanquishing would-be foes including the new thriller starring Johnny Depp.According to Monday's final box office figures, the Marvel sequel added $25.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend. "The Winter Soldier" has made more than $200 million domestically since logging the best April opening in history."Hea...More >>
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - Captain America really is unbeatable - at least at the box office"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has been the top draw at theaters for three consecutive weeks, vanquishing would-be foes including the new thriller starring Johnny Depp.According to Monday's final box office figures, the Marvel sequel added $25.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend. "The Winter Soldier" has made more than $200 million domestically since logging the best April opening in history."Hea...More >>
  • Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

    Netflix poised to raise prices after strong 1Q

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-04-22 02:37:26 GMT
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the first time in three years to help pay for more Internet video programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards."The increase, to take place sometime before July, will hike prices by $1 or $2 per month for new customers. The company's nearly 36 million current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for at least the n...More >>
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Netflix is preparing a sequel unlikely to be a hit with its subscribers. The Internet video service is about to raise its prices for the first time in three years to help pay for more Internet video programming such as its popular political drama "House of Cards."The increase, to take place sometime before July, will hike prices by $1 or $2 per month for new customers. The company's nearly 36 million current subscribers will continue to pay $8 per month for at least the n...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms