Sherman "Jocko" Maxwell, 100, a pioneering black sportscaster who chronicled the Negro baseball leagues before the sport's racial barrier fell, died Wednesday at a hospital in West Chester, Pa., after battling pneumonia, according to his son, Bruce Maxwell.
Supporting himself with a post office job during the day, Maxwell worked at night as a radio sportscaster. He was a prolific writer, submitting stories to the Ledger in Newark, N.J. -- the predecessor of the Star-Ledger -- on games played by the Newark Eagles.
"The first thing about Jocko to know is that there would be very few records of the Negro leagues that are accurate and there would be almost none without him," Jerry Izenberg, a longtime Star-Ledger sports columnist, said.
Maxwell, a Newark native, began his broadcasting career in 1929, doing a five-minute weekly sports report on WNJR in Newark. He went on to broadcast on other stations in northern New Jersey and became the announcer for Sunday afternoon Newark Eagles games. His broadcasting career ended in 1967.
Maxwell, who served in the Army during World War II, also founded and managed the Newark Starlings, a semi-pro mixed-race baseball team.