Friday, July 1, 2016

Texas and Negro League Baseball

Due to coaching two teams in a machine pitch baseball league,6 – 10 year old future stars learning the basic fundamentals of the game, I have fallen behind on my blog postings this summer.  Below is a re-post of a June 24, 2015 blog on John Miles.  Miles is from San Antonio Texas; which is where I am this Fourth of July holiday.  The south central Texas area I passed on I-35 to get here produced a number of baseball Hall of Fame inductees from the Negro Leagues;  Andy Cooper (Waco), Biz Mackey (Luling), “Smokey” Joe Williams (Sequin), Willie Wells (Austin), Hilton Smith (Giddings), Andrew “Rube” Foster and Willie Foster (Calvert).

Born on August 11, 1922 in San Antonio, Texas, John “Mule” Miles was a power hitting outfielder for the Chicago American Giants from 1946 – 1948.  A basketball star in high school and junior college, Miles served in the military beginning in 1942.  He was stationed in Tuskegee, Alabama and worked as an airplane mechanic for the Tuskegee Airman; the first black military air unit.
After military service in 1946 on the suggestion of a friend, Miles attended a tryout for the Chicago American Giants and made the team.  An adequate outfielder with a strong throwing arm, Miles was best known for his power hitting.  His manager gave him the nickname “Mule” because, “he swung harder than a mule kicked”.   In 1947, the right handed slugger hit 11 home runs in 11 straight games.

A member of the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fames and the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame, John Miles died on May 24, 2013 in San Antonio.

To learn more about Andy Cooper, Biz Mackey, and the 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees from Negro League Baseball, read "Last Train to Cooperstown" at

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