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Former Senators first baseman R.C. Stevens passes away

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  • Former Senators first baseman R.C. Stevens passes away

    In the late 1950s and early 1960s, R.C. Stevens mingled with the likes of Henry Aaron and Willie Mays and commiserated with them as some of the earliest black players in major league baseball.

    But even though he spent parts of four years in the big leagues, Stevens always seemed thoroughly unimpressed with what he had done.

    “It seems like it means a whole lot more to the general public than it does to me because I didn’t accomplish a whole lot up there …” he said in a 2008 interview with the Quad-City Times.

    Stevens, who passed away Friday at the age of 76, was a strapping first baseman who never seemed to get an opportunity to show what he could do with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators. He batted .210 with eight home runs in 104 games at the big-league level, including a short stint with the Pirates’ 1960 world championship team.

    “Every place I went, they already had an established guy at the position,” he said.

    Although he was not from the Quad-Cities, the Georgia native moved to Davenport shortly after his major-league career ended in 1961, apparently because this is where his close friend and teammate, Gene Baker, lived.

    Stevens worked for Ametek in East Moline for awhile and spent a dozen years as a Davenport city bus driver. His longtime wife, Carrie, passed away in 1995 and Baker, the first black player signed by the Chicago Cubs, died in 1999.

    Stevens never left, maintaining a very low profile for someone who had spent time at the highest levels of his sport.

    “I’m just like anybody else,” he said in that 2008 interview. “I put my pants on like anybody else, make the same mistakes as anybody else.”
    http://qctimes.com/sports/baseball/p...cc4c002e0.html

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