Muhlenberg County Public Libraries will host the final Kentucky Chautauqua program in their 2018 “Thursdays at Thistle” series this month.
Dick Usher will present “Peewee Reese: Hall of Famer” at Thistle Cottage on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
Harold Henry “Peewee” Reese was born in Meade County, Ky. in 1918 and grew up in Louisville. In 1937, he joined the Louisville Colonels minor league team and by 1940 had been recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers. He won the starting shortstop position in his first year with the team and continued in that position for 16 years, except for a three-year span during World War II when he was serving in the United States Navy.
Reese held his own as a player, but he really shined as team captain. His leadership skills were impressive. Those skills were put to the test in 1947, when the Dodgers hired Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball’s first black player. Some players for the Dodgers as well as other teams across the league opposed Robinson’s hiring, but under Reese’s guidance, Robinson gradually won acceptance in the league. With his actions towards Robinson, Reese was “the catalyst of baseball integration,” in the words of author Roger Kahn.
Reese retired in 1958 and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. He died in 1999.
Dick Usher of Benton, Ky. portrays Reese for Kentucky Humanities. Usher taught educational psychology at the university level for 33 years, and he has appeared in more than 25 theater productions.
Kentucky Chautauqua programs feature a costumed presenter who portrays a notable Kentucky historical figure. The presenter speaks about the life of the notable Kentuckian, followed by a short question-and-answer session.
This Kentucky Chautauqua program will be presented free of charge. Light refreshments will be provided.
Kentucky Chautauqua is a presentation of Kentucky Humanities. Local funding is provided by the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation.
For more information about the Hometown Teams exhibit or upcoming programs, contact Muhlenberg County Public Libraries at 270-338-4760.