Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Negro League baseball history fact for today - Dave Whitney

David Whitney’s first love in sports was baseball.  He was born on January 8, 1930 in Midway, Kentucky, a little town not far from the state capital of Frankfort.  As a teenager he was on a semi-professional baseball team in nearby Lexington that played against barnstorming Negro League baseball teams in the mid-1940s.   Although small in stature, Whitney was a good fielding infielder that could hit.  The Indianapolis Clowns offered him a contract, but Whitney’s father coaxed him to go to college at nearby Kentucky State.
After college Whitney signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1952.  He was the number two shortstop behind Ernie Banks.  Whitney went into the military and returned as the team’s number one shortstop.   Banks had left the Monarchs to begin his Hall of Fame Major League career with the Chicago Cubs.   With the dismal economic condition of Negro League baseball in the mid-1950s and not getting offers from Major League scouts as he had hoped, Whitney left the Monarchs to coach high school basketball in Tennessee.
He went on to coach basketball for over 30 years in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), first at Texas Southern and then Alcorn (Miss.) State.  At Alcorn he won 12 SWAC championships and was nine times named Coach of the Year. 
Which three of Dave Whitney’s teammates on the 1955 Kansas City Monarchs went on to play in the Major Leagues?

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