Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Today's African American fact from baseball's "Golden Era"

In the bottom of the first inning at the Polo Grounds on May 28, 1951, Willie Howard Mays stepped into the batters’ box to face Warren Spahn.  The New York Giants had brought Mays up from its Minneapolis Triple AAA minor league club earlier in the month and made him their starting centerfielder.  However; as the rookie prepared to go against one of the best pitchers in baseball at that time, batting third in the Giant lineup that day, his batting average stood at a measly .063.
But on a 0 – 3 pitch, Willie Mays connected to hit the first home run on his career;  the first of his 660.  The Giants beat Spahn 4 to 1.  Mays went on to hit .274 that year with 20 home runs and 68 RBI, winning the 1951 National League Rookie of the Year Award.     

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today

Born on May 23, 1918 in Akron, Ohio; Leonard “Lennie” Pearson played first base for the Newark Eagles for 12 years (1937 – 1948).  6’2” and 200 pounds, Pearson attended the same high school in East Orange, New Jersey as Eagle teammate Monte Irvin.  A good fielder, he had “soft hands” that allowed him to dig out the low throws in the dirt.  He also had some seasons where he hit over .300.  Fans elected him to play in the East-West All Star Game five times.  In the 1943 Negro League World Series, Pearson hit .393 to help the Eagles defeat the Kansas City Monarchs.

Said to have had a romantic relationship with Eagles’ co-owner Effa Manley, Pearson stayed with the team until she sold it after the 1948 season.  He then became player/manager for the Baltimore Elite Giants.  After playing in the minor leagues (1950 – 1951) and the Canadian League (1953), Pearson retired and lived in Newark until he died in 1984.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Today's African American fact from baseball's "Golder Era"

Born on May 9, 1936 in Prescott, Arkansas; Floyd Andrew Robinson keyed the offense of the pitching rich Chicago White Sox teams of the early 1960s.  The 5’9”, 175 pound outfielder began his pro baseball career in 1957 with the Cleveland Indians’ San Diego minor league team.  The White Sox obtained him in 1960.  Known for his hitting, not fielding or throwing arm, Robinson on average hit .301 for the years 1961 – 1964.  He also hit with some power, averaging eleven home runs per year for the period.  In his best season, 1962, he hit .312 with 109 RBI and 42 doubles.