In 1937, Satchel Paige hurt his arm while pitching in Mexico. He was 32 years old and it was rumored he had lost the speed on his pitches due to the injury. No team wanted to sign him for the 1938 season. However, J. L. Wilkinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed Paige for a touring team that travelled through the northwest United States and Canada playing small town semi-professional and local teams. Named “The Satchel Paige All-Stars”, the team’s appearances were big events for those small towns even though Paige pitched only one or two innings each game. In 1939, Paige’s arm healed and he regained his all-star form. He joined the Monarchs and helped pitch them to three straight Negro American League pennants (1939 – 1941).
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Monday, March 11, 2013
Lyman Bostock, Sr. was born on this date in Birmingham, Alabama; 1918. The slick fielding first baseman had a promising Negro League baseball career disrupted by World War II. While playing for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1941, Bostock was selected for the East-West All Star Game. He got a hit and scored a run in the game that was played in front of 50,026 fans. Drafted into the Army the next year, Bostock did not return to baseball until 1946. The Black Barons traded him to the Chicago American Giants the next year and he also played for the New York Cubans before finishing his career in the Canadian minor leagues. Bostock's son, Lyman Bostock Jr., played in the Major Leagues four years before being murdered during the 1978 season.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Due to restrictions from “Jim Crow” racial discrimination laws, Negro baseball leagues in the south were less successful than those in the north. However, the only official Negro baseball league that operated the entire 1932 season was the Negro Southern League (NSL). The Chicago American Giants, Nashville Elite Giants, Memphis Red Sox, Monroe (La.) Monarchs, Montgomery (Ala.) Grey Sox, Louisville Black Caps, and Indianapolis ABCs were the teams in the league. The NSL lost its perception of a “minor league” that year because it was the only official representation of Negro League baseball. However, the league’s status declined when the Negro National League was revived the next year; Chicago and Nashville leaving the NSL to join it. Memphis left the NSL and joined the Negro American League in 1937.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
In 1929, the sports editors of African-American newspapers proclaimed the Baltimore Black Sox as having a “million dollar infield”. The Black Sox that year had Jud Wilson playing first base, Frank Warfield playing second base, Oliver “Ghost” Marcelle playing third base, and “Sir” Dick Lundy at shortstop. The sports writers believed the Black Sox infielders would have been worth a million dollars if they were white and playing in the Major Leagues.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Andy "Pullman" Porter was born on March 7, 1911; in Little Rock, Arkansas. The 6'3" or 6'4" hard throwing right hander was one of best pitchers for the Negro League Elite Giant franchise. First when the team was in Nashville (1932 - 1934), then Columbus, Ohio (1935), Washington, D.C. (1936 - 1937), and finally in Baltimore (1938). Like many other Negro League players, Porter was given the opportunity to maker more by playing in the Mexican League after the 1938 season. He returned to the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1942 and was again one of their best pitchers. "Pullman" Porter pitched on teams in South America, Cuba, and Canada.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
There were four Taylor brothers involved in Negro League baseball. The oldest, C. I. (Charles Isham), was the well-respected field manager of the Indianapolis ABCs who were a charter member of the Negro National League in 1920. He was elected the league’s first Vice-President. “Candy” Jim Taylor was a good fielding third baseman and later in his career became a manager. “Steel Arm” Johnny Taylor was a pitcher. The youngest brother, Ben, became one of the best first baseman in Negro League baseball and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Just as African-American players were banned from Major League baseball prior to 1947 because of racism, so were players from Latin America. There were a few light skinned Cubans that played, but they faced racial discrimination and racial insults. Faced with the same racism as African-Americans, Latin American ballplayers found a home in Negro league baseball. The Cuban Stars, operating out of Cincinnati, were one of the initial teams in the first major Negro professional baseball league formed; the Negro National League (1920). The New York Cubans, made up of a mixture of African-American and Latin American players, were in the revised Negro National League that was formed in 1936 and won the Negro League World Series championship in 1947.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Bernard Fernandez was born on this date in Tampa, Florida; 1918. Fernandez was a 6’1”, 200 pound hard throwing right handed hurler who had control problems with his pitches. With his size and difficulty throwing strikes, Fernandez was an intimidating figure on the pitching mound for some batters. Discovered by Negro League veteran Oscar Charleston, Fernandez played for a number of Negro League teams during his career. While there is no mention of Fernandez playing for the Philadelphia Stars in some historical records, he always claimed in interviews of being on the team in 1941, 1943 -1944. He also played with the New York Black Yankees; 1945 -1947.
Monday, March 4, 2013
The first book about Negro League baseball was written in 1906 by an African-American; Sol White. “The History of Colored Baseball” gives an account of African-American ballplayers in the earliest years of organized baseball; from the end of the 19th Century through the beginning years of the 20th. White was one of the few African-Americans that played on integrated minor league teams before the “invisible color line” was established in the 1890s. In the book, he paints a vivid picture of the obstacles faced by African-American ballplayers during his time.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
On this date in 1987, Negro League baseball third baseman Ray Dandridge was elected by to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Dandridge played the majority of his Negro League baseball career with the Newark Eagles. Also on this date in 1998, former Negro League pitcher Joe Rogan (Kansas City Monarchs 1920 - 1938) was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame along with Larry Doby; former Negro League star (Newark Eagles 1942 -1943, 1946 – 1947) and the first African-American to play in the American League (1947).
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Joe Taylor was born on this date in Chapman, Alabama; 1926. Taylor was a streak hitting outfielder who played for the Chicago American Giants in 1949; during the decline of Negro League baseball. He was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1951 and made his Major League debut in 1954. In his four year Major League career, Taylor also played with Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Baltimore Orioles; compiling a .249 career batting average.
Friday, March 1, 2013
In 1930, the Kansas City Monarchs became the first professional baseball team to play night games. Monarch’s owner, J. L Wilkinson, believed playing at night would increase attendance by allowing fans who worked during the day an opportunity to come to games; making more money for his team. With their lights on retractable poles which were transported on six trucks and powered by a portable generator run by a loud gas engine, the Monarchs were able to play night games wherever they travelled. The noise of the generator was so loud it supposedly once disturbed the zoo animals in a town where the team was playing. Major League teams would not begin playing baseball at night until 1935.