Thursday, October 24, 2013

An overlooked World Series history fact

There have been six baseball players who have appeared in both Negro League and Major League World Series games.

Satchel Paige – The most renowned personality in Negro League baseball, Paige pitched in the Negro   League World Series for the Kansas City Monarchs twice.  In 1942, Paige and the Negro American League (NAL) Monarchs beat the Homestead Grays of the Negro National League (NNL) four games to zero and in 1946 the Monarchs were defeated by the Newark Eagles (NNL) four games to three.  After signing with the Cleveland Indians in 1948, Paige pitched in the 1948 World Series, retiring the two batters he faced.  The Indians defeated the Boston Braves four games to two.

Larry Doby – The first African-American to play in the American League, Doby played second base on the 1946 Negro League World Series Champion Newark Eagles.  Also along with Satchel Paige, he played in the 1948 World Series with the Cleveland Indians.  In Game Four, Doby became the first African-American player to hit a Major League World Series home run.  He batted .318 in the Series with six hits.  Doby and the Indians were swept in the 1954 Series by the New York Giants.

Monte Irvin – Two Years after playing at shortstop alongside Doby for the 1946 Negro League World Series Champion Newark Eagles, Irvin signed with the New York Giants.  In the 1951 World Series, Irvin    hit .458 batting (11 hits) in the Giants’ four games to two lost against the New York Yankee.  But in the 1954 World Series, Irvin and the Giants beat the Cleveland Indians.

Hank Thompson – Before his brief Major League stint with the St. Louis Browns in 1947, Thompson played second base for the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1946 Negro League World Series.  He returned to the Major Leagues in 1949 with the New York Giants and played in both the 1951 and 1954 World Series.

Willie Mays – While only seventeen years old, Mays was the center fielder for the Birmingham Black Barons (NAL) in the 1948 Negro League World Series, won by the Homestead Grays four games to one.  Mays played in the World Series three times in the Major Leagues while with the New York/San Francisco Giants; 1951, 1954, and 1962(won by the New York Yankees four games to three), and once in 1974 with the New York Mets (won by the Oakland A’s four games to three).  He made his famous over the shoulder basket catch in the 1954 Series.

Al Smith  With the Cleveland Buckeyes in the Negro American League, Smith played in the 1947 (won by the New York Cubans four games to one) and the 1948 (won by the Buckeyes four games to one over the Birmingham Black Barons) Negro League World Series.  While in the Major Leagues, Smith played in the 1954 World Series with the Cleveland Indians, and with the Chicago White Sox in the 1959 Series; won four games to two by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Negro League World Series

The 2013 World Series is scheduled to begin on October 23.  Will it be another series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, there have been three (1946, 1967, and 2004)?  The Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers have also played three previous World Series (1934, 1968, and 2006).  In the eighteen World Series they have played, the Los Angeles (Brooklyn) Dodgers (Robins) have never had the Red Sox or Tigers as an opponent.  We will know next week if the League Championship Series results will produce a new World Series match up or if history will repeat itself.
Negro League baseball also had a World Series.  During the black ball era, there were eleven Negro League World Series held.  The first was in 1924.  The Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League (NNL) defeated the Hilldale Daisies of the Eastern Colored League (ECL) five games to four.  Hilldale got its revenge the next year by defeating the Monarchs five games to one.  The Negro League World Series games were played not just in the cities of participating teams, but also in other cities with large African-American populations.  This was to give more fans opportunity to see the games and maximize attendance; and ticket revenues.  After the 1927 season due to the economic instability of Negro teams that caused both leagues to disband, the Negro League World Series was discontinued.    

However; when some degree of economic growth returned to Negro League baseball in the late 1930’s, its World Series began again in 1942.  The Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League (NAL) defeated the Homestead Grays (NNL) in four straight games.  When racial barriers were broken down to allow African-Americans to play Major League baseball in 1947, the end of Negro League baseball became inevitable.  Overall Negro League game attendance dramatically dropped and teams went out of business. The last Negro League World Series was held in 1948; the Homestead Grays (NNL) beat the Birmingham Black Barons (NAL) four games to one.

What is your 2013 World Series prediction?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Negro League baseball history fact for today

Larry Nathaniel Kimbrough was an ambidextrous (pitched right handed and left handed) Negro League baseball pitcher in the late 1940’s.  Nicknamed “Schoolboy”, Kimbrough began pitching for the Philadelphia Stars in 1942, when he was nineteen years old.  He started with a flash pitching a shutout against the Newark Eagles.   After two seasons, he was drafted into the military and did not return to the Stars until 1946.  But Kimbrough did not reach his pre-military promise on the mound and never became a star pitcher.  However, he did pitch one game both ways; right handed and left handed.