Martin Mathews Obituary, Death – Martin Mathews, who passed away recently, was the man who over the course of more than half a century welcomed more than a million youngsters through the doors of the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club and onto a field of dreams. He was 97.
At initially, there were only boys among them, and the majority of them were of African American descent. In the 1960s, when St. Louis was still segregated, Mathews and his friend Hubert Habib “Dickey” Ballentine had a fantasy of providing black youngsters with their own own baseball grounds.
Both of these gentlemen played baseball on a semi-professional level and later coached youth baseball teams in their north St. Louis community. Mathews coached a total of 30 boys, while Ballentine oversaw only 15. Both of them wanted to accomplish more. They desired for their baseball teams to compete with the white clubs in the league. They hatched a scheme while daydreaming in the shade of a tree in Handy Park, which is located in the Ville district of north St. Louis, according to the account provided by Mathews.
Mathews claimed that after the chat about the shade tree, he quickly forgot about it, but Ballentine did not. One late night, he gave Mathews a call and offered him an enticement: Mathews could have top billing in the club’s name. Mathews accepted the offer. “When you had to be up for work at one o’clock in the morning, I didn’t care what it was named,” Mathews remembered in an interview with the St. Louis American in 2014. “I didn’t care what it was named.”
Because to Ballentine’s dogged determination, the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ Club was established in 1960. (In 2001, it was officially rebranded as the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club.) The two guys established a league that started out with five teams and eventually expanded to more than thirty over the course of the following five years. A benefit supper was conducted in local churches, in addition to the small dues that parents were required to pay, in order to finance the club. Despite this, both of the men took out loans in order to bankroll the club. Matthews put his house up as collateral for a loan and got a job selling coffee at a discount for 10 cents a cup.
In the end, Mathews was able to persuade local titans of industry to give him millions of dollars, which assisted him in maintaining what would eventually become one of the most well-known and well-liked children’s community centers in the entire country. At the age of 90, he decided to step down. Monday was the day when Mathews passed away at Evelyn’s House, which is a hospice care center located in St. Louis County.