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Posted on: February 19, 2021

Commission Honors Dedicated Baseball Legend

Commission presenting award

A single day hardly seems enough for a Key West legend who was honored by the City Commission this week. They proclaimed James “Rocky” Portier Day.

“Most people would have to live three times to accomplish the things this man has done,” said Commissioner Clayton Lopez. “He’s retired from two law enforcement agencies, played in the negro leagues, and taught baseball to generations of our kids.”

Portier grew up in Key West and has been a fixture on the baseball and softball diamonds of Key West since 1961, serving as an umpire for generations of Conchs.

In 2018 Portier travelled with the Southernmost Trappers 12-and-Under team to Cooperstown, New York where he umpired three games a day, and became part of the Cooperstown Fields of Dreams Hall of Fame in recognition of his longstanding support of youth baseball.

In 2019, Portier was recognized during a Negro Leagues Tribute Game hosted by the Milwaukee Brewers. At that event he tossed a ceremonial first pitch, and his name was installed on the Negro Leagues' "Wall of Fame," in recognition of his professional career as catcher and outfielder for the Indianapolis Clowns and the New York Black Yankees from 1956-58, along with spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Portier has served the sports of baseball and softball for more than 60 years, and more importantly, he has served the youth of Key West as a supporter and as a fair and impartial umpire.

Proclaiming James “Rocky” Portier Day is the community’s way of commending him for his lifelong service to our children, to baseball and to our town.

“I want to thank all my kids in Key West,” said Portier. “I love them.”

Commission presenting award

 In the photo: Commissioners Gregory Davila and Jimmy Weekley, Mayor Teri Johnston, James “Rocky” Portier, and Commissioner Sam Kaufman, Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow. Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover is in attendance virtually on the screens above.

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