Robinson-Shuba Project Gets $25K from Crandall Foundation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Supporters of the proposed statue to mark the historic 1946 handshake of baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson and George “Shotgun” Shuba of Youngstown today announced a $25,000 grant for the project from the J. Ford Crandall Memorial Foundation. 

“We appreciate this grant and the momentum we’re establishing as more people learn about this project and its important message about racial unity,” said Ernie Brown, co-chair of the Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue Committee. “Community leaders like the J. Ford Crandall trustees reflect the mindset of Jackie Robinson, George Shuba and many others who believe people from different races should always treat each other with fairness and respect.” 

Attorney Andrew G. Bresko, managing member of the J. Ford Crandall Foundation board of trustees, said the grant reflects the wishes of the late J. Ford Crandall, who established a grant through the probate court to support such important causes in Mahoning County. 

Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. stated that J. Ford Crandall “would be pleased to be part of this historic statue commemorating the principles of fairness and respect demonstrated by George Shuba.”  
The historic handshake occurred on Opening Day 1946, when Robinson and Shuba were teammates for the Montreal Royals, a farm team for Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson was making his debut as the first African-American player in modern professional baseball. 

In his second at-bat, with two other Royals on base, Robinson hit a home run. Neither of the teammates who scored on the homer moved to congratulate him. Shuba, the on-deck batter, noticed that, so he stepped right up to shake Robinson’s hand just as the future Hall of Famer was crossing home plate. Several photos captured that moment — the first handshake of black and white players on a professional baseball diamond.  

Plans call for the statue to be dedicated on April 18, 2021, the 75th anniversary of the handshake. The proposed site for the statue is near the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. 

A photo now owned by George’s son, Mike Shuba of Youngstown, will be the basis of the statue, which will stand nearly 7 feet tall and feature the two players shaking hands, with Shuba holding his bat. Marc Mellon, a Connecticut sculptor, has agreed to craft the bronze Robinson-Shuba statue. 

Since announcing the project in late November, the statue committee has already more than $127,000, or nearly a third of its $400,000 goal, mostly through local foundations.  

Pictured at top: Robinson-Shuba Statue Committee co-chairs Greg Gulas (second from left) and Ernie Brown (fourth) pose near the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre with Crandall Foundation trustee Mike Ray, Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert Rusu and foundation trustee Kevin Chiu.


Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.