James Hansbury Sr., who founded the Chelsea Youth Baseball League in 1963, died on April 9, 2010, at home after a lengthy illness. He was 82 years old.
Mr. Hansbury recognized that there was no organized baseball league for youth who had graduated from Chelsea Little League and were now teenagers. With the assistance of Al Palladino, Ralph Briggs, Paul “Choc” Glazer, and Mayo Satin, Mr. Hansbury was able to realize his dream by starting the new baseball league for players, ages 13 through 16.
Former Mayor Alfred Voke also helped Mr. Hansbury with resources so the youth league could survive and prosper. Everett Square Sporting Goods was also generous to the league.
“I’m so proud that my father was able to fight and advocate for young people so they could also enjoy the sport that he grew up with and loved,” said James Hansbury Jr., Mr. Hansbury’s son.
James Hansbury Jr. said he and his father were always very close and they shared an appreciation of people who helped Mr. Hansbury realize his dream of founding the youth baseball league.
Mr. Hansbury was born in Chelsea and was a lifelong resident of the city. He left school to help support his parents and siblings. Mr. Hansbury served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant near the end of World War II. He later served in South Korea.
Mr. Hansbury worked at Samuel Cabot Paints for 40 years prior to his retirement. He also worked part time at Heller’s Liquor Store.
Mr. Hansbury continued his involvement in sports as a player in the Chelsea Municipal Softball League. He was a very good player for the Max’s Delicatessen team and earned All-Star recognition. One of his teams won a state softball championship.
Prior to founding the Chelsea Youth Baseball League, Mr. Hansbury was a coach in the Chelsea Little League for several years.
Besides sports, he helped in some political campaigns including the election of Chelsea Mayor Joseph Margolis.
Upon Mr. Hansbury’s retirement, he and his son, James Jr., would go on annual vacations to Fort Myers, Fla., to view Red Sox spring training sessions. He also attended Chelsea Day in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to reunite with many of his former classmates and friends.
Mr. Hansbury enjoyed talking with friends, family, and community members – especially his associates who helped him found the Chelsea Youth Baseball League.
A tribute to Mr. Hansbury’s life was held Tuesday at St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea. The Rev. Loring, former pastor at the church, came out of retirement to officiate at the service because of his love for Mr. Hansbury.