Felton Snow’s gravesite in Eastern Cemetery was unmarked for nearly 50 years.
Now, it has a memorial detailing his impact on the game of baseball and the city of Louisville.
Snow played in the Negro Leagues, the all-Black baseball league created before the sport integrated. He was a member of several teams, including Louisville’s Black Caps and White Sox.
“He made two all-star teams in 1935 and ‘36, and he played with Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Buck Leonard. He played with all the greats, you cannot take it away from him,” said Larry Lester, co-founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Lester said Snow was one of the best third baseman in the league, placing him in the top three players. His career spanned 21 years.
He played 15 of those with Columbus Elite Giants, working as both manager and player on the team as it moved from city to city. During his time working double duty, Snow led the team, then known as the Baltimore Elite Giants, to their first and only Negro Leagues pennant win.
“Not only was he a professional baseball player, but he was also a professional man,” said his nephew Billy Snow. “Even when he was playing, he brought so much pride to our family, and even today we all have so much pride for Uncle Snow.”
Billy Snow can’t remember hearing anything bad about his uncle growing up. From anecdotal stories told by those who spent time with him, Felton Snow stayed the “professional man,” as his nephew described him, when he returned to Louisville after retiring.
After his baseball career, Snow worked at a barber shop in St. Matthews, where several people remember speaking with him about baseball and getting their haircuts.
Bats Baseball CEO Greg Galiette and his dad were some of Snow’s clients. Galiette’s dad was sick in the last few years of his life, and Snow would come over to cut Galiette’s hair.
“He’d take me out back and play catch with me, take my older sister and myself around the neighbor when the ice cream would come around and walk us back, put me on his lap and tell me some interesting stories,” Galiette said.
Galiette credits Snow for igniting his love of baseball, leading to where he is today.
Even in retirement, Snow continued to love baseball and shared that passion with those around him.
When children would come into the barber shop wearing their uniforms, Snow was there to give advice. Pee Wee Reese Chapter member Ken Draut was one of the many children who learned from Snow.
“He would give us tips on how to bunt, how to hold the bat. He would tell us how to field a ball, how to catch with a glove, sometimes he’d even bring a bat to show us,” Draut said. “He also loved to see our uniforms dirty, because that meant we had put in the extra effort that day.”
Though Snow’s impact on the sport has been known to some, and his personal impact on the community was remembered by those who encountered him, his grave did not reflect this status.
“Just think about, these players play in anonymity, and even today they died and were buried in anonymity,” Lester said. “For 50 years, this man has been in an unmarked grave. That’s unacceptable.”
Lester said the dream of placing a marker on Snow’s grave has been fulfilled and he can now rest.