Few men alive are part of the living history of America’s Pastime the way Oliver “Son” Ferguson is.

At 94, he is one of the last of a dying breed, men who came up in the industrial baseball leagues of a tough steel town and went on to play professional baseball before the color barrier fell. Ferguson was part of the 1938 Birmingham Black Barons, the stalwart Negro League team that brought fans out by the thousands to Rickwood Field.

So when Ferguson gives advice on the sport he played for decades, it doesn’t hurt to listen. Here’s a bit of the advice he has given to kids who might be undecided about which sport they want to play:

“If you’re going to play baseball, go on and play baseball. If you don’t want to play baseball, don’t try to play baseball.”

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