Former Negro Leaguer Silas Simmons dies at 111

Updated: November 1, 2006, 6:59 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Silas Simmons, a pitcher-outfielder in the Negro Leagues who was said to be the oldest living professional baseball player, died two weeks after his 111th birthday.

He died Sunday in a retirement nursing home, Zion Hill Mortuary said Wednesday.

Simmons, a left-hander, played for several teams from 1912-29, including the New York Lincoln Giants of the Eastern Colored League, the Cuban Stars and the Blue Ribbons of Germantown, who later became the Homestead Grays.

He was born in Middleton, Del., in 1895, the same year as Babe Ruth, and honored by the Center for Negro League Baseball Research on his birthday Oct. 14. A Tampa Bay Devil Rays fan, Simmons was presented with a No. 111 jersey. Researchers this year identified him as the oldest living man to have played professionally.

A funeral is scheduled for Saturday at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, where Simmons was a member after moving to St. Petersburg from East Orange, N.J., in 1971.

Survivors include a grandson, Wadsworth Casselle, of Newfield, N.J., and a granddaughter, Paulette Ligon, of Philadelphia.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press