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  • Charlie Grant

    Charlie “Cincy” Grant

    Charlie Grant Jr. was born on August 31, 1877 (per his WWI Registration card) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    In the 1880 U.S. Census the Grant family is listed as mulatto (later Censuses would just refer to the family as Black or Negro). Father Charles, 31 years old, is listed from Ohio with parent born in Kentucky (father) and mother’s birthplace unknown. Mother Mary, 23 years old, was born in Kentucky with both parents born in Kentucky.

    Charlie Sr.’s occupation is listed as “hostler” who is a tender of horses. Charles Jr. would later describe his father as a horse trainer. In subsequent Censuses he would be listed as a laborer in a warehouse and an apartment house janitor.

    Grant grew to be about 5’8” and weigh between 160 and 175 pounds. He threw and batted righthanded. Author and researcher John Holway says that prior to 1896, “Grant had been a pitcher and – some said – invented the screwball.” This claim seems dubious and may be confused with another player with the same last name (Grant was 17 to 18 years old prior to the 1896 season).

    At age eighteen in 1896 Grant joined the famed Adrian, Michigan-based Page Fence Giants (of the Page Woven Wire Fence Company) which was founded by all-time greats Bud Fowler and Home Run Johnson. The Page Fence Giants, an independent club, existed from 1894-98.

    Grant replaced Fowler at second base in 1896 and stayed with the club until it folded after the 1898 season. With many of the Page Fence Giants, Grant shifted to the Chicago-based Columbia Giants for the 1899 season.

    SPRING TRAINING 1901

    Grant was expected to rejoin the Columbia Giants for the 1901 season. In March he was working as a bellhop at the Eastland Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas. During the era, it was not uncommon for black ballplayers to work in hotels in the South during the off-season and play exhibition games whenever a decent gate could be attracted.

    The Baltimore Orioles, managed by John McGraw, and the Chicago White Sox, managed by Clark Griffith, were also in Hot Springs getting ready to start the inaugural season of the American League (as a major league).

    How exactly Griffith and McGraw met up with Grant is left to conjecture. There are several ways this could have happened:
    -McGraw and Griffith, one or both of them, may have known Grant on sight or by reputation.
    -McGraw and Griffith may have spotted Grant playing ball and approached him.
    -Grant may have approached the managers.
    -A go-between (such as another player or reporter) may have introduced Grant to the major leaguers.

    Either way, it is unlikely that with all the baseball and media men in town that no one knew the actual identity of a veteran professional player like Grant (by which I mean it is more likely Grant was familiar to at least someone close to McGraw and Griffith if not the managers themselves). What makes it more unlikely is that Grant had been playing with a Chicago-based club for the last two seasons (as Chicago had been Griffith’s home since 1893.

    Despite his dark skin, McGraw and Griffith gave Grant a try out on or about March 13, 1901. The major leaguers may have been intrigued with Grant’s light-skin (remember his parents were mulatto), high cheek bones and straight hair.

    Grant was worked out on the grounds of the Eastland Hotel. Griffith hit fungoes to him and pitched a little batting practice. McGraw was definitely interested. On March 15 it was announced that McGraw had signed a new ballplayer; however, instead of being identified as “Charlie Grant, the ballplayer of the Columbia Giants,” McGraw’s new find was dubbed Charlie Tokohama (at times spelled Tokohoma or Tokahama), a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. Acknowledging that Grant was a second baseman, the papers claimed that McGraw eventually saw the player in right field instead.

    The origin of the name Tokohama is also up for conjecture. Some sources identify it as a small body of water near the Eastland Hotel or perhaps a creek in Oklahoma. Another source says that it is a play on the “hit a home run.”

    It wasn’t long before the cat got out of the bag. Exactly how it did is another mystery; however by the time the rumors reached White Sox owner Charles Comiskey’s ears, the experiment was doomed to fail. Possible scenarios on how Comiskey found out:
    -The simplest way is for Griffith, a ballplayer or a reporter to tell him.
    -Comiskey may well have known Grant on sight (and he surely knew of him by reputation).
    -Even if the previous two methods didn’t happen, the celebrations of other black ballplayers and fans raised an eyebrow or two. For one, word spread and black ball fans came out to enthusiastically cheer Grant on. Also, a black club was in town for an exhibition. At a ceremony the club roundly cheered, “Our boy, Charlie Grant.” They also gave him an expensive alligator bag to celebrate his entry into organized ball.

    Comiskey was quoted as saying, “If McGraw keeps this Indian, I’ll put a Chinaman on third base.”

    On March 29 a Boston newspaper reported that Grant would soon be leaving Hot Springs with Jimmy Sheckard and Joe McGinnity headed for New Orleans and then onto Baltimore for the start of the season.

    Two days later, news stories were breaking about Tokohama’s actual identity. Some newsmen understandably confused Grant with the acclaimed (thou older) Frank Grant, Hall of Fame inductee in 2006. A Chicago paper on April 4, though clearly identified McGraw’s find as Charlie Grant of the Columbia Giants. Actually, Baltimore Sun on March 11 had perhaps let the cat out of the bag when it identified the players as, "the Cheroke Indian player Grant."

    With the scheme blown, Grant rejoined his Giants on April 6. McGraw, to his credit, forged ahead, still trying to field Grant. On May 18 McGraw announced that Grant was expected to join the Orioles in Boston on the 20th. It never happened though and several newsmen wrote some snide columns wondering where the ballplayer was.

    BEYOND 1901

    Grant finished the 1901 season with the Columbia Giants. James A. Riley fills out his career as follows:

    1902 – Philadelphia Giants

    Grant joined manager Sol White with the newly formed Philadelphia Giants.

    1903 – Cuban X Giants

    At the end of the 1903 season, the first black baseball playoff took place. Grant’s X Giants (with star Rube Foster) defeated Sol White’s Philadelphia Giants.

    1904 – Philadelphia Giants

    Grant and Foster switched to White’s Philadelphia Giants for the 1904 season. Another playoff took place at the end of the season with Grant and company defeating the X Giants.

    1905 – Philadelphia Giants

    The Philadelphia Giants won another championship at the end of 1905, defeating the Brooklyn Royal Giants.

    1906 – Philadelphia Giants and Cuban X Giants, also playing in Cuba

    Grant played in Cuba at the end of 1906, placing 13 hits in 70 at bats for a .186 average.

    1907 – Philadelphia Giants
    1909 – Quaker Giants

    Sol White and Grant moved to the Philadelphia-based Quaker Giants for the 1909 season.

    1910 – New York Black Sox and New York Lincoln Giants
    1913 – Philadelphia Giants
    1914 – Cincinnati Stars
    1915 – Cincinnati Stars
    1916 – Cincinnati Stars

    Intermixed between the above were affiliations with some lesser semi-pro black clubs. Notice that toward the end of his baseball career Grant was playing at home in Cincinnati.

    The fact is he never really left Cincinnati, living there his entire life. Oddly, Grant identifies his occupation as a messenger in Cincinnati in the 1910 U.S. Census. At the time he was listed as residing at his in-laws house or apartment. He had married fellow Cincinnatian Eva Chromy. The two would be divorced by at the latest 1918.

    By the time Grant filled out his WWI Registration card in 1918, he was residing with his parents at 802 Blair Avenue, an apartment building, in Cincinnati. Both male Grants were employed as a janitor at the location. Grant Jr. lived and worked at the address until his death.

    On July 9, 1932 Grant was sitting outside his apartment building relaxing. A passing motorist blew a tire, lost control of the vehicle, hopped the curb and killed Grant. The former star second baseman is interred at Spring Grove Cemetery, near another Cincinnati second baseman, Miller Huggins.
    Last edited by Brian McKenna; 06-23-2008, 06:24 AM.

  • #2
    "Charlie Grant" at the Hall of Merit (especially #9 by 'burniswright').
    If that interests you, follow the link to "Bill Monroe" and skim the later articles.

    (I do not know burniswright, who was not a regular participant in the HOM project, and maybe visited only at the very end of the main effort when he made these contributions.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Did he play?

      Was wondering... does anyone know whether Charlie Grant (as Chief T.) actually played in any Spring Training games for McGraw and how he did?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dagdagdag123 View Post
        Was wondering... does anyone know whether Charlie Grant (as Chief T.) actually played in any Spring Training games for McGraw and how he did?
        I may have notes on reports in Sporting Life that I will summarize here if they find me someday. As I recall Sporting Life did not have a Baltimore correspondent or their Baltimore corr. did not travel with the "team", which would limit SLife coverage severely.

        About that time, 1901, it was common for a team to spend much of its time in the South getting into shape, pitching/batting/fielding practice, and playing games intrasquad with some local pickup players (eg, Grant?). Hot Springs AR, where the Orioles met Grant, was sometimes the first of two training sites, using the springs to assist getting into shape before convening elsewhere. The second site would be the primary one listed by researchers today. It might be with a college or minor league team, by contract to use their field or the same field they would rent. For illustration only, a Baltimore team might then play something like six games against the University of Georgia and three games in Norfolk VA en route north, one with the Yale college team and two with the local minor league team. A major league team or a high minor team might play no games with teams at the same level. For his Milwaukee team one year, Connie Mack scheduled a four-game series with the Chicago-based Columbia Giants(?).

        Comment


        • #5
          The White Sox, Pirates and Dodgers were also in Hot Springs for at least part of spring training in 1901.

          Haven't found any references that Grant actually played with the Orioles. I wouldn't rule it out but you would think that someone would have made a stink about it - so it would have at least hit the papers.

          I live in Baltimore County. The Sun archives are kept in the city, when I get down there.

          ------
          After reading some info, I'm getting the feeling that ML teams may not have been playing games until April - which suggests that Grant may have been gone by then.

          Which also suggests that McGraw and Griffith and a few others showed up a lot earlier than others. So maybe when Grant was worked out, there really wasn't that many ML personnel around - especially considering that this was 1901 and there was so much commotion going on and a signing frenzy that roster wouldn't be amassed, for the most part, until April.
          Last edited by Brian McKenna; 03-07-2008, 08:48 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bkmckenna View Post
            After reading some info, I'm getting the feeling that ML teams may not have been playing games until April - which suggests that Grant may have been gone by then.

            Which also suggests that McGraw and Griffith and a few others showed up a lot earlier than others. So maybe when Grant was worked out, there really wasn't that many ML personnel around - especially considering that this was 1901 and there was so much commotion going on and a signing frenzy that roster wouldn't be amassed, for the most part, until April.
            All that is plausible for 1900 or 1905 without benefit of special 1901 commotion. Some players would go to Hot Springs every month December to March if not so early as November or so late as April. Two or five players from a team might be there together with or without the manager or captain.

            In 1901, it is also likely that AL stalwarts such as McGraw and Griffith would go there early, or visit more than once, not primarily to train or scout but to recruit NL players whom they knew very well.

            When players were supposed to or required to report, at least according to advance notices in the newspapers, there would be many no-shows. And some players would be excused. Not only for family emergencies as today, and not only distinguished veterans such as Pedro Martinez or Manny Ramirez today, but players with college coaching gigs.

            In 1900 or 1901 one AL team did not play a single pre-season game thanks to a late start and bad weather (not all traveled south at all). I think it was Cleveland in 1900.

            add: It was Cleveland, a new team with zero games played before Opening Day.

            As a team the 1901 Orioles trained at home. Some of their players were in Hot Springs on their own, which was common. McGraw traveled to Hot Springs from the East late in the winter, after the league meetings, for "rest" --and, no doubt, recruiting.
            Last edited by Paul Wendt; 06-23-2008, 08:23 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Paul Wendt found some new articles on the Grant affair in 1901:
              http://agatetype.typepad.com/agate_t...ght-on-th.html

              The workout Griffith and McGraw gave Grant was probably at the latest on March 11. The "Grant" actually name appears the following day in the Baltimore Sun calling him "the Cherokee Indian Grant." Note though that the reference was only in a tiny snippet in the paper.

              McGraw and Griffith were in Hot Springs on a pre-spring training jaunt. The note suggested that McGraw was headed back to Baltimore to meet his men and intended to bring Grant back with him.

              It is also probably clear that McGraw enlisted reporters into the plan to identify Grant as an Native American. A longer, more detailed, piece appeared in the Sun five days later but for some reason the Grant name was not mentioned. He is only referred to as "Tokohama."

              McGraw played his hand well. When some first sought to call him on the discrepancy, he played on further confusion which misidentified Tokohama as much more popular Frank Grant rather than his true identity, Charlie Grant. Grant himself then gave interviews, declaring himself as the product of an Indian mother and white father.

              McGraw was certainly knowledgable about baseball men through the country and may very well have known Charlie Grant prior to 1901. Perhaps more likely though, Griffith identified Grant before McGraw, as they were both Chicago-based baseball men. Or perhaps if Griffith/McGraw didn't personally know Grant they knew friends of Grants who were in Hot Springs (more likely Griffith as they were more likely Chicago-based friends).

              Mr. Wendt points out that McGraw's motives may have evolved (after leaving Hot Springs) into sticking it to Ban Johnson which I don't doubt. Johnson and his good friend Charles Comiskey were also Chicago-based baseball men and would have certainly known the truth if Griffith knew it. The three were tight, especially in 1901.

              McGraw was among the, if not the, most vindictive men in the history of the game. His motives for repeatedly bringing up Grant's name in April and May may have certainly been a challenge to Johnson whom McGraw was already beginning to clash with. McGraw was probably trying to goad Johnson into making a public statement or formal ruling which would humiliate the AL president.

              It's also clear that Grant had already moved on from the deception. On April 1 he was claiming his Native American status but a week later he was resigned to the fact and was headed to join his Columbia Giants, a black team.

              The Agate Type article also notes something I don't fully get - a suggestion by Mr. Wendt that the articles don't necessarity imply that Grant is black despite the fact that he is listed with a "colored" team. To the intent and implications here I'm unsure. Perhaps Mr. Wendt can enighten. To me, such a distinction was probably not made by 1901 readers.
              Last edited by Brian McKenna; 06-23-2008, 07:17 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                Paul Wendt found some new articles on the Grant affair in 1901:
                http://agatetype.typepad.com/agate_t...ght-on-th.html

                The workout Griffith and McGraw gave Grant was probably at the latest on March 11. The "Grant" actually name appears the following day in the Baltimore Sun calling him "the Cherokee Indian Grant." Note though that the reference was only in a tiny snippet in the paper.
                It seems casual, nothing to indicate that it is news, within a quotation of Captain Wilbert Robinson, who is among the ballplayers (Orioles and others) training in Baltimore. None of the teams have yet reported for spring training, at home or elsewhere.

                Robinson is McGraw's sidekick. They were partners in a successful sporting club (beer, billiards, and bets?), in a 1900 holdout against transfer to St Louis, and now back in Baltimore partners in the 1901 Orioles. Robinson providing the name Grant suggests that McGraw's plan was not yet clear, at least not to Robinson at the other end of the telegraph.

                The Agate Type article also notes something I don't fully get - a suggestion by Mr. Wendt that the articles don't necessarity imply that Grant is black despite the fact that he is listed with a "colored" team. To the intent and implications here I'm unsure. Perhaps Mr. Wendt can enighten. To me, such a distinction was probably not made by 1901 readers.
                Previously I understood that McGraw tried to pass Charlie Grant as an Indian but when people identified him as Charlie Grant of the Columbia Giants the jig was up. Now I believe that to some white newspapermen it was plausible that Charlie Grant of the Columbia Giants was not black at all. (That he played for a colored team didn't prove that he was black.) In the end one of the newspapers says that McGraw would need to cover him in red paint to convince some in Chicago that he is a red man, but another newspaper is vague. Now I suppose that when Charlie Grant explained his racial background as mixed Cherokee and white, that was plausible to many people. If Comiskey was involved in "outing" him it was by insisting, or finding others in Chicago or his hometown Cincinnati who would testify, that Charlie Grant is black, not that "Tokohoma" is Charlie Grant.

                add one paragraph:
                The particular article where I made this observatoin, Milwaukee Daily News 1901-03-29, precedes the resolution that Grant will not play for the Orioles because he is part black. See agatetype. In the MDN notice that identifies Grant, there is no suggestion that he is black.
                “Tokohama, the Indian ball player signed for the Baltimore American league team, is Charley Grant, second baseman of the Columbia Giants, probably the best team of colored players in the country.”

                --
                All my sources are white newspapers (Milwaukee, Chicago, Baltimore, and trivially Washington). Evidently there was no black daily until the Chicago Defender in 1905. The weekly Baltimore Afro-American, National Edition, microfilm by Recordak, is missing about 18 months in 1900-1901.
                Last edited by Paul Wendt; 06-23-2008, 11:25 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                  The White Sox, Pirates and Dodgers were also in Hot Springs for at least part of spring training in 1901.

                  Haven't found any references that Grant actually played with the Orioles. I wouldn't rule it out but you would think that someone would have made a stink about it - so it would have at least hit the papers.
                  The Orioles did not travel to Hot Springs. Only a few players worked out there before they reported to Baltimore.

                  I live in Baltimore County. The Sun archives are kept in the city, when I get down there.
                  I used the Baltimore Morning Sun. Maybe there is another Sun edition preserved by a local microfilm edition.
                  I checked the National Edition of the Baltimore Afro-American Ledger, then weekly. More than a year in 1900-1901 is missing. Maybe there is a local edition preserved locally.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                    It seems casual, nothing to indicate that it is news, within a quotation of Captain Wilbert Robinson, who is among the ballplayers (Orioles and others) training in Baltimore. None of the teams have yet reported for spring training, at home or elsewhere.

                    Robinson is McGraw's sidekick. They were partners in a successful sporting club (beer, billiards, and bets?), in a 1900 holdout against transfer to St Louis, and now back in Baltimore partners in the 1901 Orioles. Robinson providing the name Grant suggests that McGraw's plan was not yet clear, at least not to Robinson at the other end of the telegraph.


                    Previously I understood that McGraw tried to pass Charlie Grant as an Indian but when people identified him as Charlie Grant of the Columbia Giants the jig was up. Now I believe that to some white newspapermen it was plausible that Charlie Grant of the Columbia Giants was not black at all. (That he played for a colored team didn't prove that he was black.) In the end one of the newspapers says that McGraw would need to cover him in red paint to convince some in Chicago that he is a red man, but another newspaper is vague. Now I suppose that when Charlie Grant explained his racial background as mixed Cherokee and white, that was plausible to many people. If Comiskey was involved in "outing" him it was by insisting, or finding others in Chicago or his hometown Cincinnati who would testify, that Charlie Grant is black, not that "Tokohoma" is Charlie Grant.

                    add on par:
                    The particular article where I made this observatoin, Milwaukee Daily News 1901-03-29, precedes the resolution that Grant will not play for the Orioles because he is part black. See agatetype. In the MDN notice that identifies Grant, there is no suggestion that he is black.
                    “Tokohama, the Indian ball player signed for the Baltimore American league team, is Charley Grant, second baseman of the Columbia Giants, probably the best team of colored players in the country.”

                    --
                    All my sources are white newspapers. Evidently there was no black daily until the Chicago Defender in 1905. The weekly Baltimore Afro-American, National Edition, microfilm by Recordak, is missing about 18 months in 1900-1901.
                    Good work, Paul. Highlights how strange race identification/relations in this country are/were.
                    Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                    Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                    A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Does anyone have any photos of Charlie Grant? I seem to remember seeing a photo in a baseball book years ago. I think it showed Grant pitching in motion or soemthing like that.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is one photo in the Chicago Tribune 1901-03-24, reproduced poorly at agatetype,
                        more on "chief tokohama"

                        (Many public and university libraries provide access to the Historical Chicago Tribune via proquest.com. Check it out --especially if you are already an internet user of library resources. Otherwise set it up.)

                        --
                        There is one in Sol White's History of Colored Base Ball, page 68 in the U Nebraska /Bison Books edition, 1995 paperback.
                        It is posed in profile, squatting as if to field a ground ball.
                        That one is courtesy the Negro Leagues Museum.

                        That book includes two studio(?) photos of the 1905 Philadelphia Giants team including Grant. One is reproduced twice for this edition, small two-tone on the cover, excellent large b&w as the frontispiece. One is poorly reproduced p60.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                          P
                          His... McGraw was probably trying to goad Johnson into making a public statement or formal ruling which would humiliate the AL president.

                          ...
                          Yikes. Not just mindreading, but reading what was in someone's mind 107 years ago.


                          Excellent article otherwise.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
                            Yikes. Not just mindreading, but reading what was in someone's mind 107 years ago.

                            Excellent article otherwise.
                            My article on Grant was in the first post from March 4, 2008. The quote you selected was from post #7 on June 23 discussing the 1901 Tokohama affair as the issue continues to evolve.

                            My use of the word 'probably' clearly denotes speculation. Please provided me with any historical writing or research that does not provided at least a measure of speculation or your so-called 'mindreading.' Also, please describe for me how topics from the past are brainstormed or scrutinized by a multitude of people without such.

                            Great post otherwise. Thanks for the historical insight and research provided. Looking forward to your further insights and posts on the topic.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                              My article on Grant was in the first post from March 4, 2008. The quote you selected was from post #7 on June 23 discussing the 1901 Tokohama affair as the issue continues to evolve.

                              My use of the word 'probably' clearly denotes speculation. Please provided me with any historical writing or research that does not provided at least a measure of speculation or your so-called 'mindreading.' Also, please describe for me how topics from the past are brainstormed or scrutinized by a multitude of people without such.

                              Great post otherwise. Thanks for the historical insight and research provided. Looking forward to your further insights and posts on the topic.
                              No. What you are writing is not true. The word "possibly" clearly denotes speculation. The word "probably" - and your explanation, if that's what it was meant to be, of that word's precise placement in your essay is not remotely relevant to its meaning - implies that you are claiming to have a good reason (which you did not actually provide) for your allegation.

                              If you're going to write history, write history. If you're going to turn everything you write into a vindictive attack on John McGraw, fine. Up to you to decide how you want your work to be perceived.

                              Comment

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