Art Pennington was born in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1940, at the age of 17, he signed with the Chicago American Giants of the Negro Leagues. Art was selected three times to play in the prestigious Negro League East/West All Star Game and played with some of baseball’s greatest players including Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson. In 1946, he played for teams in Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, & the Dominican Republic that were less discriminatory than those in the United States. Art returned to the United States in 1949 to play in the minor leagues. After the 1959 season, he retired from baseball and settled in Cedar Rapids after he was hired at Collins Radio, where he worked for 25 years and played on the company baseball team.
This video is from the oral history project “The Only One,” completed in partnership with the Johnson County Historical Society in 2011 for a temporary exhibit of the same name.