Walter “Rev” Cannady’s twenty-four years (1921 – 1945) Negro League baseball journey encompassed nine cities and included him playing for fourteen teams. Born on March 2, 1904 in Lake City, Florida (or Norfolk, Virginia); his baseball experiences in that long career include being traded three times and playing with a Negro League Baseball World Series Championship team.
With a reputation of being a good defensive second baseman, Cannady had the versatility to play any infield position solidly. On a few teams; he also played in the outfield, put on the catcher’s gear, and even pitched.
Everyone in the Negro Leagues also knew “Rev” Cannady could hit a baseball. At 6’0” and 180 lbs., he had a batting average of over .300 with home run power several times; consistently hitting in the middle of his team’s batting order.
Although his career began in 1921 with the Cleveland Buckeyes, he spent most of his career with teams in New York. His longest stint with the New York Black Yankees (1933 – 1939). In 1938, Negro League baseball fans elected “Rev” to play in the East-West All Star Game. After playing for the Homestead Grays in 1923 – 1924, 1929, and 1932; he returned to the team in 1944. Playing third base, Cannady helped the Grays win the 1944 Negro League World Series Championship.
In 2005, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame commissioned a special committee of Negro League baseball historians to make recommendations of individuals from Negro League baseball for Hall of Fame induction in 2006. After an extensive research of the Negro League baseball era, the committee developed a group of 97 in which they would vote on to make up the final list that would be recommended. They included Walter “Rev” Cannady in that group. He did not garish enough votes from committee members to be one of the seventeen recommended for Hall of Fame induction. However, to be included by the committee in the group of 97 indicates at the very least Walter “Rev” Cannady’s legacy as a good Negro League ballplayer.
To read more about the Negro League baseball era Last Train To Cooperstown