Premier Bank Donates $15K to Robinson-Shuba Statue Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Premier Bank has donated $15,000 to the Robinson-Shuba statue project planned for downtown Youngstown.

“We are pleased to support this statue and the important statement it will make about racial equality,” said Frank Hierro, Premier Bank Mahoning Valley regional president, in a statement. “The principles of equality, fairness and teamwork are important to Premier Bank and our foundation; we’re looking forward to seeing this statue in Wean Park.”

With the gift, the fundraising effort to create and install the seven-foot-tall statue has raised more than $236,000 of the project’s $400,000 goal.

The statue commemorates the 1946 handshake between Jackie Robinson and Youngstown native George “Shotgun” Shuba while they were teammates with the Montreal Royals. A year later, Robinson would go on to break Major League Baseball’s racial barrier. The handshake between the two is seen as a marker of warming race relations in professional baseball.

“We appreciate the support of Premier Bank in our efforts to mark this important moment in Youngstown and American history,” said Ernie Brown, co-chairman of the statue project committee. “George Shuba’s simple gesture of respect to an African American teammate helped bring down the race barrier in mainstream professional baseball. We’re very proud of that in Youngstown and look forward to honoring the moment with this beautiful statue.”

Greg Gulas, co-chairman of the statue committee, added, “As teammates with the Montreal Royals and later with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie and George worked together successfully, despite being from different races and backgrounds. This statue aims to celebrate the mutual respect demonstrated by their historic handshake and encourage all of us to work together despite our differences.”

Plans call for the statue to be dedicated on April 18, the 75th anniversary of the handshake. The statue is being made by Marc Mellon, a Connecticut-based sculptor who’s prior subjects include Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, Pope John Paul II and many athletes.

More information about the project can be found at

Pictured: A rendering of the Robinson-Shuba statue in Wean Park.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.