Gene Locklear

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King, C. Richard, Stilling, Glenn Ellen Starr. “Gene Locklear.” Native Americans in Sports Vol. 1. 2004.


Lumbee baseball player Gene Locklear was born in 1949 in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Locklear would go on to play 10 years of pro baseball, five of which were in the major league, making him the first player of Lumbee origin to play in the MLB.

In the minor leagues, Locklear won two batting championships in 1971 and 1972, with the Eastern League’s Three Rivers (Quebec) team and the American Association’s Indianapolis team, respectively. From 1973 to 1977, Locklear played outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, the San Diego Padres and the New York Yankees and had a career batting average of .274.

After his career in baseball, Locklear moved on to painting, focusing mainly in sports and Native American themes. He has paintings in the Smithsonian Institution and restaurants owned by baseball greats, Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. He has also helped design special edition baseball cards, murals for the Super Bowl and the Baltimore Orioles, and live paintings for the NBA Playoffs.

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