I’ve been sitting on this story for a long time.. On this gorgeously sunny Detroit day I stopped by Greene Playground to take a snap of the park. I met Curtis Green [same name as the park] and his friend Baxter. We chatted a while and they pointed me in another [the right] direction to my next destination. A lucky day; Baxter has an El Camino [luv the El Camino] and you don’t see many of those outside the southwest. Yes, it was a lucky day indeed; time well spent. It’s the small things.. PS This one is for you too Tim Bailey of the Detroit Mower Gang because I know this is your favorite pocket park to mow. It is a sweet park. ag
NATIONALLY KNOWN AND LIKED
How many people can be described like this? A southern gentleman with a battered fedora, a grin, a dry laugh and a cigar that he smoked down until the ash smudged his lips. This was Sam Greene.
Sam Greene [1895-1963] was the son of an editor and publisher; after the baby bottle he was weaned on the mechanics of publishing and the smithing of words. His first job was at his hometown paper The Clinton Forge Review in Virginia. He landed in Detroit in 1922 after serving in the Navy and working other press stints in Virginia and Texas. Initially, he spent two years at the Free Press and finished out his 40+ year journalism career at the Detroit News.
The ‘sweet science’ was Greene’s first love. His writings about boxing were dramatic and masterful, especially during the 1930’s when boxing was known for its amazing cast of characters. An early Lions fan, Greene followed the franchise since its Detroit inception in 1934. What would he think today?
SHE WAS HIS RIDE
He married Kittie while serving in the US Navy during WWII. Afterwards, as a reporter, Greene worked afternoons and evenings. During their marriage, Kittie drove the car; Sam never learned to drive and had no license. Kittie was quickly admired as the “the model newspaper wife” adjusting her household schedule to accommodate Greene’s sports centered career. Tiger players coming out of the stadium after a late evening game were accustomed to see Kittie waiting in the parking lot behind the wheel. Greene moved from Detroit News reporter to the sports editorship succeeding Harry Salsinger [Ty Cobb devotee – Park #16 ] when he passed in 1958. The Greene’s son Edgar Carlton Greene interned at the Detroit News and on his own accord became a respected and beloved reporter eventually writing the “Press Box” sports column.
LISTENING TO HIS DREAM
On a Thursday in September 1963, Sam laid down in bed to listen to the Tigers – Red Sox game on the radio. His wife Kittie later found him deceased. He lived and died loving sports. Nominated by Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, the city honored Greene with a four acre park located at Robson and Ellis Streets shortly after his death.
Thanks for reading – Andrea G.