GREAT FALLS — A mural of Great Falls baseball icon Eddie Reed is now on display at Centene Stadium.
"This is a project we're really excited about here at the ballpark,” said Great Falls Voyagers president Scott Reasoner.
Reasoner was eager to talk about the man known as "Fast Eddie" being immortalized on the concourse wall at the stadium. Reed played baseball in Great Falls in the 1950s and 60s.
"This was actually a project that was started by the Diversity Initiative and Inclusion Council at Malmstrom Air Force Base that was formed here about a year ago. They've been working with the city on lots of different projects,” said Reasoner.
Reed's daughter Kathy said she loves the mural not just because it honors her father, but also because it honors the city's history.
"We have a legacy in this country of having very narrow history. It doesn't encompass everyone. We don't really do a good job educating our general public the history that involves multiple ethnicities, so it's nice to see that celebrated locally," Kathy said. "A lot of people don't think there have been very many African-Americans in Montana, let alone Great Falls, but we have a very rich history."
Reed's son John and other family members were at the game to celebrate the unveiling on Friday.
John also shared his thoughts in a Facebook post, including this excerpt:
Eddie started playing baseball in the military and then played in the Negro Leagues. He played for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Memphis Red Sox. He is now part of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He had so many great stories about baseball and some of you may have had the experience of him telling those stories. My family and I are so humbled by this gesture to remember our father. We were able to hear the stories and listen to others talk about how great he was, but we never got to see him play. So thank you to everyone who had a hand in bringing this special day into existence.
Kathy hopes her father's mural inspires people.
"We make history every day in our lives, we just don't realize we're doing that," she said. "No one is sure if they're going to be remembered or not, so we need to think twice about how we treat each other. People remember things. That was something he was always very good about, treating everybody like he had known them for 50 years.”
The mural was created by Great Falls artist Sheree Nelson.
Reasoner said to expect more murals in the coming years.
"There will definitely be a new mural every year, so look forward to 2022 and 2023 as we work with folks to kind of keep working on those names," he said.
He added that one mural could be of Pedro Martinez, who was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. Reasoner said Martinez got his start in Great Falls.