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.

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