YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – CBS crews were in town on Monday interviewing two men about their roles in erecting a statue to celebrate a historic moment in baseball history.
The Valley’s Michael Shuba and Herb Washington have put a lot of time and money into the project — building a statue in downtown Youngstown that memorializes one of baseball’s all-time greatest moments.
CBS’ segment with Michael and Washington will air on CBS Sunday Morning in the upcoming weeks.
The event the statue memorializes happened in Jackie Robinson’s professional debut, one year before he was called up to the Majors. Robinson hit a home run and Youngstown-native George Shuba did what any other teammate in that situation would have done.
“They shook hands on April 18, 1946, which is called ‘A Handshake for the Century,’ which would be the very first time a white hand clasped a black one in congratulations in organized baseball history,” Michael said.
But Michael said it was far from an ordinary celebration.
Washington lives in Boardman and won three World Series with the early ’70s Oakland Athletics. He said Shuba’s actions represented the Valley well.
“I think it shows how progressive we are and how we recognize how important it is to have relationships such as this and how we can grow,” he said.
Michael hopes the statue will be an example for others to follow.
“We can unite together and be strong as one team, like when Jackie and George shook hands as teammates. We’re on the same side and we’re on the same team,” he said.
Michael is also proud of what his father did and said he was a great role model.
“I’m very fortunate to have the father I had. He was a great father and a great baseball player. I consider myself very lucky,” he said.
The Robinson-Shuba statue is expected to be dedicated on the 75th anniversary of the handshake, April 18, 2021, near the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.