By Michael Bartley
Families packed Magee Field for the annual Fourth of July Races. Kids of all ages lined up for foot races, wheelbarrow races, an egg toss and more, hoping to win big prizes. The Greenfield Baseball Association grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and sold Greenfield 4th of July t-shirts. After the races, each child got a bag of candy.
But this 4th of July tradition in Greenfield took on special meaning as the day was proclaimed Jimmy Gregg Day in Pittsburgh. The unstoppable community volunteer received the honor for his 58 years coaching Greenfield Baseball and 50 years coaching Saint Rosalia basketball.
Many of Mr. Gregg’s former players and friends were there to honor him and his family.
Mr. Gregg serves on the planning committee for the Annual Greenfield Awards Dinner, an annual event honoring everyday Greenfielders of all ages for their achievements and community-based work to ensure Greenfield is a wonderful place to live. He also co-founded Greenfield Organized Against Drugs and sold raffle tickets to fund this year’s July Fourth Races.
He is now retired but worked for decades as Deputy Warden at the Allegheny County Jail.
District 5 Councilperson Barb Warwick read the City Proclamation declaring it “Jim Gregg Day,” saying Mr. Gregg has touched the lives of countless Greenfield families and holds a special place in many Greenfield hearts.
Mr. Gregg thanked the crowd and the committee who organized the event. He said he was extremely honored by not just the proclamation, but with the honor of having a street near Hammer Field named in his honor.
There was never a time that Jimmy turned down helping a neighbor or organizing and executing an event to make this neighborhood better. He is a living legend. Congratulations, Mr. Gregg! We are truly grateful for all you’ve done to make our community better.
The Greenfield Community Club organizes the all-volunteer event under the direction of Mr. Dennis Brown. In addition to raffle tickets sales, the event gets sponsorship from individuals who sign up to donate at area taverns and businesses.
No one knows how long the 4th of July celebration in Greenfield has been going on, but some of the old-timers believe it could date back more than 90 years. With the energy of dedicated neighbors, volunteers and all those who make it happen, I hope this unique Greenfield celebration will continue for another 90 years.
Michael Bartley is a 17-time Emmy winner who retired from WQED and is now CEO of his own video production company. He lives in the Greenfield home where he grew up.