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01/08/2009 4:10 PM ET
'Prince' Joe Henry dies at 78
Prominent Negro Leaguer spent time in Minor Leagues
Joe Henry earned his nickname, 'Prince', from his performance in the Negro Leagues, but he also spent time in the Minors in 1952 and '53. (AP)

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ST. LOUIS -- Joe Henry, the former Negro Leagues player who earned the nickname "Prince" for his skill at entertaining crowds, was being mourned by family, friends and baseball fans.

A funeral service was planned for Thursday at the Lovejoy Civic Center in Brooklyn, Ill., followed by burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Henry died Friday. He was 78.

Henry grew up in Brooklyn, Ill., and played in the Negro Leagues from 1950-59 as an infielder for Memphis, Detroit Stars, Indianapolis and the Detroit Clowns.

In between stints in the Negro Leagues, Henry signed a contract to play in the Minors with the Canton Citizens in 1952 and the Mount Vernon Kings in 1953, both of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League (precursor to the current-day Midwest League).

Henry tied Edward Gilde for the team lead in batting average (.303) in Canton's only year of existence. Injuries kept Henry from continuing his Minor League career and he returned to the Negro Leagues following the 1953 season.

According to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Henry later worked for American Motors. He became one of the first African-Americans in United Auto Workers' history to serve as a chief steward.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.