New Jack Graney mural unveiled in his hometown of St. Thomas, Ontario

The new Jack Graney mural in downtown St. Thomas, Ont. Photo: St. Thomas Development Board/Facebook

July 6, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

A new mural of former major league outfielder and legendary broadcaster Jack Graney was unveiled in his hometown of St. Thomas, Ont., last week.

The mural is on the side of a downtown building which houses The Power Alley, an indoor baseball training facility which is also the home of St. Thomas Minor Baseball.

“Thank you St. Thomas for continuing to honour Jack,” said Perry Mudd Smith, Graney’s granddaughter, in a Facebook post on June 30. “He would have been so humbled, but so pleased.”

The mural was done by artist Kevin Ledo with help from Dave Todaro.

It’s the latest honour bestowed upon Graney, who died in 1978, in his hometown.

On July 27, 2022, just four days after he was honoured posthumously with the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, which is handed out annually for major contributions to broadcasting, St. Thomas held Jack Graney Day in the city. The day featured several special events, including a baseball game and the renaming of the broadcast booth at Emslie Field in his honour.

This celebration came less than a year after he was honoured with a sculpture created by local artist Scott Mckay at a roundabout on Fairview Avenue at Bill Martyn Parkway in the city. The roundabout is at the entrance to the city’s Doug Tarry baseball complex.

Seven years earlier, Graney was added to the city’s Wall of Fame.

“My dad would’ve been flabbergasted by all of this,” said his daughter Margot Mudd at the 2014 ceremony in St. Thomas. “He was a very modest person and he was a wonderful father. He was always funny and good-natured.”

Graney’s big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When Graney walked to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth. Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he would be the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform.

After parts of 14 major league seasons, mostly as an outfielder and scrappy leadoff hitter with Cleveland, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for Cleveland from 1932 to 1953. He called the World Series for a national audience in 1935 and also broadcast that year’s All-Star Game in Cleveland.

Graney passed away on April 20, 1978. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame six years later. The Canadian ball shrine now presents an annual award named in his honour to a media member who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball in Canada through their life’s work.

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