Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Negro League baseball history fact for today

Maurice Peatross was born on this date in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 1927.  In 1944, while 17 years old, Peatross played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the short lived United States Negro Baseball League; which many believed was funded by General Manager Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers to secretly recruit African Americans to play for his team in the Major Leagues.  Peatross was called “Baby Face” because of his age.  The 6’1”, 230 pound first baseman went into the military after high school and returned in 1947 to discover that both his former team and the league had folded.  Peatross was then signed by the Homestead Grays as backup support for the aging Buck Leonard.  The legendary first baseman was 40 years old and still the main drawing card for the Grays.  During the season, Leonard would play seven innings and then Peatross would replace him.  Peatross would also at times relieve Grays’ veteran Jerry Benjamin in the outfield.  After one season with the Grays, Peatross was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and spent the next four years in their minor league system.  For a player his size, he did not hit with power; never hitting over nine homeruns in a season.  Peatross gave up playing baseball after the 1953 season to spend more time with his growing family.              

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