Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today - Alton King

Born on August 14, 1922, Alton King lived most of his life in Detroit although he as born in Thomaston, Georgia.  King played on African American baseball teams in Detroit during the 1940s that were not officially a part of the Negro National League (NNL) or Negro American League (NAL).  The Kansas City Monarchs, Homestead Grays, and other Negro League teams scheduled exhibition games against local black teams like the ones in Detroit and other cities during the season.  The games did not count in the league standings, but generated additional revenue for the Negro League teams and provided entertainment for the black baseball fans in that city.

King, a shortstop, first played with Detroit’s Motor City Kings beginning in 1942 and become the team’s player/manager by 1945.  After playing for the Detroit Wolves from 1946 – 1949, he retired from baseball to get a more secure job to take care of his family. 
The local black team I remember growing up in my hometown during the early 1960s was the Kansas City Giants.  On Sunday’s the word would get around that the Giants would be playing at either Heathwood Park or Waterway.  One of my neighbors pitched for the Giants at that time.  The team’s origin went back to the first decade of the 20th Century; however it was never a part of an official national Negro League.
What’s the name(s) of the local African American team(s) that were in your hometown? 

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