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Negro League Veteran Dead at 85

August 20, 1999 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Robert ``Bob″ Normand Bissant, a player and manager in the Negro Leagues, died Tuesday of lung cancer. He was 85.

Bissant was a lifelong resident of New Orleans, where he worked for a roofing and siding company and the city’s recreation department.

After attending Xavier University for two years, Bissant began a semi-pro baseball career on numerous teams. He played initially with the Algiers Giants and the Jax Red Sox before jumping in 1935 to the Zulu Cannibal Giants, a barnstorming team that had grass skirts as uniforms and traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.


He also played for the Nashville Cubs, Miami Ethiopian Clowns, New Orleans Royals, New Orleans Black Pelicans among others.

Bissant, an infielder, played with some of the great players from the Negro Leagues, including Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and James Thomas ``Cool Papa″ Bell. Bissant gave up playing for managing in 1940.

He is survived by his wife, Annabel H. Bissant, a son, two daughters, three sisters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A Mass will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Holy Ghost Catholic Church. Visitation will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Providence Memorial Park.