Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Cuban Giants

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cuban Giants

    Does anyone know of sources for information about the Cuban Giants team of the late 1880s to early 1900s? I know that in 1894, I believe, one of the Sporting newspapers quoted their manager as saying their won-loss record for the season was 133-45 or close to that. I managed to find about 20 of those games and their losses were mainly to minor league clubs. The newspaper writeups range from racist to favorable. I indicated in another thread elsewhere that they were the pioneers in the "entertainment" or "showboat" field for African-American sports teams long before the Harlem Globetrotters picked up a bucket.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

  • #2
    From James A. Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues:

    Organized in 1885, the Cuban Giants were the first salaried professional black baseball team. Frank P.Thompson, the headwaiter at Long Island' Argyle Hotel in Babylon, New York, recruited players from the P Philadelphia Keystones to work at the hotel as waiters and form a baseball team to play for the entertainment of the summer guests. After the end of the tourist season, the team added more players from the Philadelphia Orions and the Manhattans of Washington, D.C., to form the Cuban Giants, and toured as the first black professional team.

    The Cuban Giants were the Colored champions in 1887 and 1888, and annexed the eastern championship in 1894. They were considered the top ballclub of the era, often playing as representatives of a host city in that city's regular league. They represented Trenton, New Jersey (1889), and York, Pennsylvania (1890), in the Middle States League and Ansonia in the Connecticut State League (1891). The New York Gorhams did the same, representing Philadelphia in the Middle States League in 1889.

    The Cuban Giants were the first and most successful black professional team and remained a top attraction for the remainder of the century, generating imitation teams who copied their success and and who appropriated a variation of the Cuban Giants' name as their own. Several of these ballclubs played a quality of baseball close to that of the original team flourished during the early years of the century.


    I hope that helps you.

    Here is also a link to an article about them:

    http://www.nlbpa.com/1887_cuban_giants.html
    Last edited by 538280; 11-13-2005, 09:11 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Mr. October! I wonder if anyone has ever read the newspaper accounts of their games? It would make an excellent research topic.
      "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
      "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's a link to a piece I wrote on a figure who was central to the success of the Cuban Giants in their earliest days:

        http://home.nyc.rr.com/vibaseball/govern.html

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks VI! Excellent article with a lot I did not know. Didn't realize the 1885 "Cubes" were made from 3 different teams. It seems they were showmen from the first year on, and maybe that was due to entertaining at the hotel?

          The lean years of 1892-1895 and a few years afterward are mainly what I'm interested in. If you consider they may have played 100 games a season for 12 seasons you realize there are plenty of boxscores available to a researcher.
          "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
          "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

          Comment


          • #6
            I had a chance to review my notes on the "Cubes". Here are their won-loss records for some of the years I'm after:

            1889 55-17 (as Trenton in Middle States minor league)
            1890 40-16 (as York in Eastern Interstate minor league)
            1891 96-4 (as the Big Gorhams, a team made up of Cubes and NY Gorham players)

            1894 124-22-3 (reported by their manager to the press)

            TOTAL: 315-59-3

            This is quite a record when you consider most of their games were on the road before hostile crowds and partial umpires. The 1890 club divided into two teams after the minor league folded. One played in PA, and the other played in NY. The 1891 team won 39 consecutive games, and their total wins may have been greater than 96.

            The dissapointing thing to me is someone should try and research these seasons along with others to fill in their records and stats. Boxscores of minor league games are often available and local papers often printed boxscores of their town team's games too. The Sporting News and Sporting Life would also have writeups from time to time.

            For example, the 1890 Cuban Giants that toured NY state had a 9-7 record against mainly minor league teams from the NY State League, and were managed by J. Bright. I kept track of this while researching the NY State League.

            It would be worthwhile to have this information if only to compile their acts of showmanship that amused the crowds and opposing players.
            "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
            "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TonyK
              The dissapointing thing to me is someone should try and research these seasons along with others to fill in their records and stats. Boxscores of minor league games are often available and local papers often printed boxscores of their town team's games too. The Sporting News and Sporting Life would also have writeups from time to time.

              .
              it will always be disappointing until the curious take the needed measures to get it done

              Comment


              • #8
                It might be impossible for one person to do since one could easily lose their trail for a month or two. The best way I know of is if one person could be the compiler with others feeding them the boxscores or other information. Maybe a SABR committee project?

                They tended to follow the train routes so their whereabouts could easily be plotted on a map.

                As you can see, they might easily have won over 100 games a year for several years since they barnstormed all summer. Most of the boxscores I have seen of theirs mention their showmanship and clowning and some even have direct quotes from the players. Yet I have only looked at 1% or 2% of their boxscores so who knows what is out there?

                It would be a treasure to have maybe 500 or 1,000 of their boxscores from 1885 to 1897.
                "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Does electing both Frank Grant and Sol White to the Nat'l Baseball Hall of Fame mean historians will pay more attention to the Cuban Giants? They were the double play combination at SS and 2B for the Giants as well as two of the team's best hitters.
                  "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                  "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cubans & Cuban X Giants

                    Originally posted by TonyK
                    Does electing both Frank Grant and Sol White to the Nat'l Baseball Hall of Fame mean historians will pay more attention to the Cuban Giants? They were the double play combination at SS and 2B for the Giants as well as two of the team's best hitters.
                    Doing some research into the Asylum BBC and in 1894 they beat the Cubans 3 of 5 games with Jack Chesbro (age 20) pitching.
                    Frank Grant played in a few of the 18 games versus the Asylums including one in 1905.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by spring fever
                      Doing some research into the Asylum BBC and in 1894 they beat the Cubans 3 of 5 games with Jack Chesbro (age 20) pitching.
                      Frank Grant played in a few of the 18 games versus the Asylums including one in 1905.
                      Was the Asylum BBC from the Albany, NY area? Chesbro played in 1895 for Albany of the NY State League and I think his team played the Cuban Giants that year too. I'll have to look it up.
                      "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                      "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is one photo of the 1887 Cuban Giants team that includes player names. I have never seen another photo of the team. The closest thing is the 1903 Cuban X-Giants team picture. Does anyone know if there are other photos available?
                        "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                        "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1894 Cuban Giants Roster (as of 12/18/11):

                          CARROLL, ?
                          DOUGLASS, George
                          GRANT, Frank
                          JACKSON, Andrew "Ajax"
                          JACKSON, Oscar "Ojax"
                          JACKSON, William (TL)
                          JOHNSON, Grant "Home Run"
                          MILLER, Jamsie
                          NELSON, John "Nellie"
                          PATTERSON, John
                          PELL, Ted "Teed"
                          PENNO, Dan
                          ROBINSON, James "The Black Rusie"
                          SELDEN, William "Fatty"
                          SNEEDEN, James
                          TERRILL, Windsor
                          THOMAS, Art
                          WHITE, Sol
                          WILLIAMS, Clarence "Bow Wow"
                          WILSON, Ed

                          I'm having trouble finding biographical information for some of these players. We don't know when they were born, where they were born, what amatuer teams they played for, and where they lived after their careers are over.
                          Last edited by TonyK; 02-10-2012, 06:47 PM.
                          "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                          "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            An interesting aspect of the Cuban Giants is their time in Florida and Cuba - which have been scarcely researched as yet. They were truely a pioneering team in several aspects.

                            Tony has picked up on a good point - researching biographical information on African-Americans, especially during this period, is extremely difficult. It's not only the newspapers that ignored them but it's still happening today. I often use familysearch.com to help research people - but plug in the name of a black player and forget it. The bank is empty. Census searching is a crap shoot at best.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              They were pioneers when it came to traveling from town to town and seeing what tomorrow would bring. Unlike the white pro clubs, the Cuban Giants usually only played one game in a town and then it was off to catch a train to the next town. They must have built up incredible endurance. Keep in mind they carried only 12 or 13 players on the club.

                              Their managers tried to book ballgames year-round. That's why we hear of them playing in sunny Florida or down in Cuba. One season, after playing more than 130 games, they went on a Midwest trip and had plans on continuing out to California to play winter ball. Manager Bright claimed the winter trip was cancelled due to lack of competition, but I suspect his players (especially his pitchers) wanted to go home and rest for a few months.
                              "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                              "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

                              Comment

                              Ad Widget

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X