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  • Early Negro Teams & Players

    Since Jackie no longer is a member, and his photos have been deleted, I am taking this thread over. I will post a lot of Negro League photos.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 07:49 PM.

  • #2
    A few notes on a couple of the other players pictured, from James A. Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of Negro Baseball Leagues (a fantastic book, BTW):

    "[Walter Ball] was one of the best pitchers of the early decades of black baseball. At the end of the first decade of the century, he, Rube Foster, Dan McLellan,and Harry Buckner were considered head-and-shoulders above other moundsmen. He was a smart pitcher with good control, and made frequent use of the spitball, but was not a power pitcher. Off the field, the premier hurler was noted for his sartorial splendour, wearing tailored suits and earning a reputation as the 'swellest' dresser.

    "Ball pitched for eighteen years (1906-1923), primarily on Chicago-based teams, including the Leland Giants, Chicago Giants, Chicago Union Giants, and the Chicago American Giants. He also played with the Milwaukee Giants, and was one of the first black pitchers to play in the Cuban winter league, spending three winters on the island."

    "A fleet-footed, slightly bowlegged, sharp-hitting center fielder during the deadball era, Spot Poles usually batted in the leadoff position to utilize his incredible speed, which was comparable to Cool Papa Bell. Once in spring traing he was clocked under 10 seconds for the 100-yard dash. A left-handed batter, he watched the ball all the way to his bat, and consistently hit for a high average. He was also a good bunter, but despite a stocky build and arms described as massive for his size, he had only moderate power. in the field he had excellent range, good hands, and an accurate arm. An intense competitor, he was confident but not cocky in his baseball ability."

    Poles played from 1909 to 1923, and remained in the game as a coach after his retirement. During World War One, he served in the US Army as a Sergeant in the 369th Infantry Division, earning five battle stars and a Purple Heart for his service in France. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetary.

    John McGraw said that Poles was one of the four black players he would pick for the major leagues if the color line was erased; Paul Robeson ranked him with Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, and Jack Johnson as one of the greatest black atheletes he had seen.


    • #3

      1920 Negro Leagues formed with 19 teams:

      Negro National League 1920-31
      Southern Negro League 1920
      Eastern Colored League 1923-28
      Negro Southern League 1926, 32, 45
      American Negro League 1929
      East-West League 1932
      Negro National League 1933-48
      Negro American League 1937-60
      Last edited by prof93; 09-05-2004, 06:11 PM.
      "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." - Leo Durocher -


      • #4
        Introducing Wilbur "Bullet Joe" Rogan.

        First, a few personal details. A Negro L. star player, he was formost a great pitcher, but also played OF, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, manager, umpire. His playing career extended from 1917-38, and his umpiring days from 1939-46.
        His teams were:
        Kansas City Colored Giants, 1917
        All Nations, 1917
        Kansas City Monarchs, 1920-38
        League: Negro American League; BR, TR; 5'7, 180;
        Born: July 28, 1889, Oklahoma City, OK
        Died: March 4, 1967, Kansas City, MO

        An outstanding pitcher with a tremendous fastball, a fine curve, and good control. "Bullet Joe" Rogan was a star for the Kansas City Monarchs for almost twenty years. The right-hander was a smart pitcher who used a no-windup delivery, a sidearm motion, and always kept the ball down. In addition to his basic pitches, he included a forkball, palmball, and spitter in his repertory.. A durable workhorse averaging 30 starting assignments per year for a decade and rarely being relieved, this versatile player's value to the team was inestimable. He also was a superb fielder and a dangerous hitter with good power.

        He had strong wrists and used a heavy bat, and when not pitching, he played elsewhere to keep his bat in the lineup.

        He showcased his stamina and versatility when he gained two victories in the 1924 World Series against the great Hilldale club, pitching three complete games and relieving in another, and batting .325 while playing in the outfield the other six games. That winter, in his only trip to Cuba, the hard worker continued his winning pace, recording a 9-4 worksheet.

        The following year without Rogan on the mound in the World Series, the Monarchs lost to the same Hilldale club. In 1926, Bullet hit .331 and compiled a 12-4 record on the mound, which was tops for the first-half champion Monarchs, who lost a heartbreaking five-out-of-nine play-off to the second-half champion, Chicago American Giants. In a valiant effort to stave off defeat, Bullet Joe started both ends of a double-header on the last day of the play-off, but to no avail.

        During his twilight years, Rogan served as manager of the Monarchs prior to his retirement in 1938.

        He was known as a good curveball hitter with a smooth swing, often hit cleanup, and led the league with 16 homers in 1922. From 1922-30, he hit .351, .416, .412, .366, .314, .330, .353, .341, .311, while, for the 1st 7 yrs. of those years, he registered these pitching records:

        13-6, 12-8, 16-5, 15-2, 12-4, 15-6, 9-03.

        In exhibitins against MLers, Rogan is credited with a .329 BA, making his last appearance at age 48, when he collected 3 hits against Bob Feller's All-Stars. Jocko Conlon, who often played against black teams before beginning his career as an umpire, regarded Rogan as one of the greats of the Negro L., describing his motion as "a nice, easy delivery" and declaring him to be faster than Satchel Paige.

        On June 29, 1949, both Oscar Charleston and Ed Bolden, chose their all time Negro L. teams for the Sporting News. Both chose Bullet Joe as their 1st starting pitcher and Paige as their 2nd starting pitcher. Charleston's other pitchers were:Leblanc Western, Pat Doherty & William Dismukes. Ed Bolden's other pitchers were: Smokey Joe Williams Cannonball Dick Redding & Rube Foster.

        In 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, polled 31 Negro league players, writers, officials and managers and they selected a A & B teams:

        ----A team pitchers-------B team pitchers

        P - Smokey Joe Williams----P - Dave Brown
        P - Satchel Paige-----------P - Cannonball Dick Redding
        P - Bullet Joe Rogan--------P - Nip Winters
        P - John Donaldson--------- P - Dizzy Dismukes
        P - Willie Foster------------P - Don Newcombe

        Later in 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, polled its fans as to the greatest Negro leagues players. They chose 5 teams. The first team was as follows.

        First team: (1B) Buck Leonard, (2B) Jackie Robinson, (SS) Pop Lloyd, (3B) Oliver Marcelle, (OF) Monte Irvin, (OF) Oscar Charleston, (OF) Cristobel Torriente, (C) Josh Gibson, (C) Biz Mackey, (P) Joe Williams, (P) Satchel Paige, (P) Bullet Rogan, (P) John Dondaldson, (P) Bill Foster, (Utility) Martin Dihigo, (Utility) Sam Bankhead, (Mgr) Rube Foster, (Coach) Dizzy Dismukes, (Coach) Danny McClellan.

        Joshua (Josh) Gibson:
        1929-46; Positions: C, OF, 3B, 1B; Teams: Homestead GHrays ('29-31, '37-'40, '42-'46), Pittsburgh Crawfords ('32-'36), Santo Domingo ('37), Mexican L. ('40-'41); BR/TR; 6'1, 210; Born: Dec. 21, 1911, Buena Vista, GA; Died: Jan. 20, 1947, Pittsburgh, PA

        In black baseball, only Satchel Paige was better known than Joshua Gibson. Hit for both distance/ave. Was aptly titled "the black Babe Ruth", and his charisma electrified the crowd. Like Jimmie Foxx, he rolled up his sleeves to bare his huge arm muscles. Used a semicrouched, flat-footed stance and without striding, he generated a compact swing that lauched so many tape measure shots, that, like Ruth, they came to become expected.

        Black kids idolized him, and he is credited with blasting one out of Yankee Stadium, but, like Ruth's "called shot", it is more folklore than fact.

        Gibson was credited with 962 HRs in his 17 yr. career, although manyh of these wre against nonleague teams. Many of the individual season marks that are accredited to him also are against all levels of opposition.

        In Mexico, he hit 44 HRs in 450 ABs with an .802 SLG. and, in one winter season in Puerto rico, hit 13 HRs in 123 ABs, smashing a HR every 9.5 ABs.

        He compiled a .354 BA in the NL, .373 BA for 2 yrs, in Mexico, .353 BA for 2 winters in Cuba, .412 BA. in exhibitions games against major leaguers.

        Defensively, he had a rifle arm, and worked hard to make himself one of the better receivers in the league. His only flaw in his game was weakness on pop-upsbehind the plate. He was quick, behind the plate & on the bases, & ran the bases well. Both Walter Johnson and Carl Hubbell placed him among the all time great catchers. Johnson assess his value at $200K, twice what he placed on Bill Dickey. His fans voted him to start 9 East-West all star games, in which he hit .483.

        Despite his sucess on the field, by 1942, a dark side began showing itself. By the end of '42, a decline in his physical and mental well-being was obvious.
        In Jan., 1943, he was committed to the hospital afer having a nervous breakdown. From then until his death, he was plagued with personal problems, depression, compounded by his excessive drinking, and possible substance abuse.
        James Raleigh (Biz) Mackey:
        1920-47, '50; Positions: C, SS, 3B, 2B, 1B, OF, P, Manager; BB/TR; 6'0, 200; Born: July 27, 1897, Eagle Pass, TX; Died: Sept. 22, 1965, Los Angeles, CA.

        Biz Mackey was an incredibly talented receiver who remained cool under pressure, and his defensive skills were unsurpassed in the history of black baseball. Considered the master of defense, he possessed all the tools necessary behind the plate, but gained the most acclaim for his powerful and deadly accurate throwing arm. He could snap a throw to second from a squatting position and get it there, harder, quicker, and with more accuracy that most catchers can standing up. Mackey delighted in throwing out the best basestealers, and his pegs to the keystone sack were frozen ropes passing the mound belt high and arriving on the bag feather soft.

        Although barely literate, Mackey was intelligent, had a good BB mind, and employed a studious approach to the game. The ballpark was his classroom, and inside BB was his subject of expertise. He relied on meticulous observation and a good memory to match weaknesses of opposing hitters with the strengths of his pitching staff. An expert handler of pitchers, he also studied meople and could direct the temperments of his hurlers as well as he did their repertoires.

        He was also a jokester, and utilized good-natured banter and irrelevant conversation to try to distract a hitter and break his concentration at the plate, and was a master at "stealing" stikes from umpires by framing and funneling pitches. Pitchers recognized his generalship and liked to pitch to the big, husky receiver who, for his size, was surpreisingly agile behind the plate. Hits unexpected quickness, coupled with soft hands, enabled the versatile athlete to play often at SS, 3B, or in the OF, and although lacking noteworthy range, he proved adept at any position. He was also a smart base runner and, while not fast, stole his share of bases.

        In his prime, the swithc-hitting Mackey was one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, with power from both sides of the plate. In his initial season for Hilldale, he hit .423 BA, 20 HRs, and .698. SLG.

        From 1923 on, he hit .337, .350, .327, .315, .327, .337, .400, .376. Biz learned the craft of baseball under his 1st manager C.I. Taylor, a master teacher. In 1923, Mackey was a plum plucked by raiding Hilldale owner Ed Bolden. Initially, with the Hilldale Daisies, he split his playing time between catching and SS, sharing duties behind the plate with aging superstar Louis "Santop" Loftin. But for the '25 season he won the position full time, and for the next decade retained recognition as the premier receiver in black baseball.

        Mackey was in demand for postseason exhibitions and played against ML all star squads. In 1926, Hilldale won 5 of 6 games from the Philadelphia Athletics with Lefty Grove. In balloting for the inaugural East-West All-Star game in 1933, Mackey's all-around skills were preferred over the slugging ability of young Josh Gibson. Mackey was then 36 yrs. old and past his prime, while Gibson was just beginning to hit his stride. However, Mackey's defensive skills were still so far above those of other catchers that he played in 4 of the 1st 6 midsummer classics. Even as late as 1937, he was still considered the best all-around receiver in the Negro Leagues. One of his proteges with the Elites was Roy Campanella, who credits Mackey with teaching him the finer points of catching. Observers say that watching Campanella was like seeing Mackey behind the plate again.

        Biz had enough left to hit .307 in '45. He was a nonsmoker/nondrinker, and served as an exemplary role model for young black kids.

        He hit .335 BA. in league play, .326 against white ML competition.

        Offense/Defense: Depends on how much one values brute power/ good defense over balanced power/master defensive technician. I take Mackey over Gibson.

        Although Gibson supposedly was a good defensive man, in the NL, he was outranked defensively by, at the very least, Mackey, Bruce Petway, Larry Brown, Frank Duncan, Roy Campanella, Ted Radcliffe, Louis "Santop" Loftin.

        If the Negro Leagues had a Top 10 Defensive Catchers list , Josh Gibson might fairly rank at the bottom of the Top 10, but the Top of the Top 10 Catchers Offensively.

        If the Negro Leagues had a Top 10 Offensive Catchers list, Biz Mackey might fairly rank 4th, beneath Gibson, Santop and Campy. There might be a few others, but I'm still studying the Negro Leagues. All told, I'd indeed take Mackey over Gibson. In catchers, I value defense over offense. Same as at SS.
        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 08:36 PM.


        • #5
          It might serve a purpose to see how many former members of the Negro Leagues have presently been enshrined.

          1971 - Satchel Paige --------- Negro L. committee
          1972 - Josh Gibson --------- Negro L. committe
          1972 - Buck Leonard --------- Negro L. committee
          1973 - Monte Irvin ---------- Negro L. committee
          1974 - "Cool Papa" Bell -------- Negro L. committee
          1975 - Judy Johnson -------- Negro L. committee
          1976 - Oscar Charleston ------ Negro L. committee
          1977 - Martin Dihigo -------- Negro L. committee
          1977 - "Pop" Lloyd -------- Negro L. committee

          1981 - Rube Foster - ---------Veterans committee
          1987 - Ray Dandridge ---------- Veterans committee
          1995 - Leon Day ----------- Veterans committee
          1996 - Willie Foster ----------- Veterans committee
          1997 - Willie Wells ------------ Veterans committee
          1998 - Bullet Joe Rogan --------- Veterans committee
          1999 - Smokey Joe Williams ------ Veterans committee
          2000 - Turkey Stearns ----------- Veterans committee
          2001 - Hilton Smith - -------------Veterans committee
          A. In 1952, the Pittsburgh Courier polled 31 Negro league players, writers, officials and managers and they
          selected the following team:

          1B - Buck Leonard-----------1B - Ben Taylor
          2B - Jackie Robinson---------2B - Bingo DeMoss
          SS - John Henry Lloyd-------SS - Willie Wells
          3B - Oliver Marcell-----------3B - Judy Johnson
          LF - Monte Irvin-------------LF - Pete Hall
          CF - Oscar Charleston-------CF - Cool Papa Bell
          RF - Christobal Torriente----RF - Chino Smith
          C - Josh Gibson / Biz Mackey-C - Campanella / Bruce Petway
          P - Smokey Joe Williams------P - Dave Brown
          P - Satchel Paige------------P - Cannonball Dick Redding
          P - Bullet Joe Rogan---------P - Nip Winters
          P - John Donaldson ----------P - Dizzy Dismukes
          P - Willie Foster-------------P - Don Newcombe
          Utility OF - Martin Dihigo---Utility 1B - John Beckwith
          Utility IF - Martin Dihigo----Utility 1B - Newt Allen
          Utility IF - Sam Banheart---Utility - Clint Thomas
          Coaches - Dizzy Dismukes--coaches - C. I. Taylor
          Coaches - Danny McClelland--coaches - Dave Malarcher
          Manager = Rube Foster-------Manager - Cum Posey
          The Pittsburgh Courier, a black newspaper, polled of its fans in 1952. Their readers listed the following players into 5 teams:

          First team: (1B) Buck Leonard, (2B) Jackie Robinson, (SS) Pop Lloyd, (3B) Oliver Marcelle, (OF) Monte Irvin, (OF) Oscar Charleston, (OF) Cristobel Torriente, (C) Josh Gibson, (C) Biz Mackey, (P) Joe Williams, (P) Satchel Paige, (P) Bullet Rogan, (P) John Dondaldson, (P) Bill Foster, (Utility) Martin Dihigo, (Utility) Sam Bankhead, (Mgr) Rube Foster, (Coach) Dizzy Dismukes, (Coach) Danny McClellan.

          Second Team: (1B) Ben Taylor, (2B) Bingo DeMoss, (SS) Willie Wells, (3B) Judy Johnson, (OF) Pete Hill, (OF) Cool Papa Bell, (OF) Chino Smith, (C) Roy Campanella, (C) Bruce Petway, (P) Dave Brown, (P) Dick Redding, (P) Nip Winters, (P) Dizzy Dismukes, (P) Don Newcombe, (Utility) John Beckwith, (Utility) Newt Allen, (Mgr) Cum Posey, (Coach) C.I. Taylor, (Coach) Dave Malarcher.

          Third Team: (1B) Jud Wilson, (2B) Bill Monroe, (SS) Dick Lundy, (3B) Jud Wilson, (OF) Rap Dixon, (OF) Larry Doby, (OF) Fats Jenkins, (C) Double Duty Radcliffe, (C) Louis Santop, (P) Slim Jones, (P) Bill Holland, (P) Phil Cockrell, (P) Webster McDonald, (P) Bill Byrd, (Utility) Emmett Bowman, (Utility) Dick Wallace, (Mgr) Ed Bolden.

          Fourth Team: (1B) Ed Douglas, (2B) George Scales, (SS) Doby Moore, (3B) Ray Dandridge, (OF) Jimmy Lyons, (OF) Mule Suttles, (OF) Spotswood Poles, (C) Frank Duncan, (C) Bill Perkins, (P) Double Duty Radcliffe, (P) Frank Wickware, (P) Danny McClellan, (P) Leon Day, (P) Bill Jackman, (Utility) Rev Cannady, (Utility) Jose Mendez, (Mgr) Vic Harris.

          Fifth Team: (1B) George Carr, (2B) Bunny Downs, (SS) Pelayo Chacon, (3B) Dave Malarcher, (OF) Frank Duncan, (OF) Turkey Stearnes, (OF) Jelly Gardner, (C) Doc Wiley, (C) Speck Webster, (P) Stringbean Williams, (P) Ray Brown, (P) Rats Henderson, (P) Luis Tiant, (P) Leroy Matlock.

          Others receiving votes: (1B) Leroy Grant, Mule Suttles; (2B) Nate Harris, Sammy T. Hughes, Frank Warfield, Ray Dandridge, George Wright, Harry Williams; (SS) Gerard Williams, Bobby Williams, Morton Clark; (3B) Bill Francis, Jim Taylor; (OF) Minnie Minoso, Jap Payne, Blaine Hall, Ted Strong, Ted Page, Vic Harris; (P) Jose Mendez, Laymon Yokely.

          *Some players that weren't listed but could have been: (1B) Buck O'Neil, Red Moore, Steel Arm Davis, George Giles; (2B) Bonnie Serrell; (SS) Jake Stephens; (3B) Alec Radcliffe, Bobby Robinson; (OF) Jumbo Kimbro, Willard Brown, Bill Wright, Neil Robinson, Ducky Davenport; (C) Quincy Trouppe, Larry Brown, Buck Ewing, Pops Coleman; (P) Chet Brewer, Hilton Smith, Barney Brown, Ted Trent, Max Manning, Sug Cornelius, Harry Salmon, Barney Morris; (Mgr) Buck O'Neil, Double Duty Radcliffe, Quincy Trouppe.

          Bill Burgess
          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 08:37 PM.


          • #6
            Not sure if this has been poste din this thread as it has many replies and photos but here is a list that I found that I had posted on my Addicts site almost 4 years ago:

            The Society for American Baseball Research, SABR, is the most widely recognized authority on baseball history. Their research in
            every field of baseball has lead to more books and information found in books than any other group in history. Members of SABR
            voted in 1999 on five different lists and these are the results of the forty greatest Negro League figures.
            They are ranked from #40 (top) to #1 (bottom)
            40 Greatest Negro League Figures


            Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss
            Bruce Petway
            Quincy Trouppe
            Sam Jethroe
            Newt Allen
            John Beckwith
            Sol White
            Jose Mendez
            Ben Taylor
            Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe
            Larry Doby
            William Augustus "Gus" Greenlee
            Dick Lundy
            Hilton Smith
            John "Buck" O'Neil
            Ernest "Jud" Wilson
            J.L. Wilkinson
            Effa Manley
            Cumberland "Cum" Posey
            Louis Santop
            "Cannonball" Dick Redding
            Cristobal Torriente
            Monte Irvin
            William "Willie" Foster
            Raleigh "Biz" Mackey
            Leon Day
            William "Judy" Johnson
            George "Mule" Suttles
            "Smokey" Joe Williams
            Ray Dandridge
            Wilber "Bullet' Rogan
            Martin Dihigo
            Norman "Turkey" Stearnes
            Willie "The Devil" Wells
            Andrew "Rube" Foster
            Josh Gibson
            John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
            Oscar Charleston
            James "Cool Papa" Bell
            Walter "Buck" Leonard
            Leroy "Satchel" Paige
            "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
            ~~Al Gallagher

            God Bless America!

            Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

            Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!



            • #7
              Again, a little bio I did over 3 years ago on Wilber "Bullet" Rogan..

              I apologize in advance if some of this was posted as I did not see a bio on him but there is always a chance I missed it

              Wilber "Bullet" Rogan


              Bullet-Proof Case

              Position: Pitcher, Outfielder, 1917 - 1938
              Height: 5' 7"
              Weight: 170 lbs.
              B/T: Right, Right
              Born: 1889 in Oklahoma City, OK
              Died: 1967 in Kansas City, MO
              National Baseball Hall of Fame: Selected by the Veterans Committee, 1998.

              Wilber "Bullet" Rogan had long been in baseball's witness protection program, until he was discovered by Casey Stengel and, at the age of 30, referred to Monarchs' owner J.L. Wilkinson. Stengel was quoted as saying, "Rogan was one of the best?if not the best?pitcher that ever pitched."

              Acknowledged as one of the game's most versatile players, Wilber Rogan, attained mastery both on the pitcher's mound and in the batter's box. The all-around Bullet was the trigger that fired up the early- day Monarchs. Rogan led the charge on five championship teams.

              Rogan sometimes used a no-windup delivery to deliver a devastating fastball with a full assembley of curves. Some players say Rogan had mastered three curves: a slider, a regular curve and a jug-handle curve that made the ball drop like an anvil. While many players said his fastball looked like a bar of hotel soap coming to the plate.

              Rogan also threw a fork ball, a palm ball, a legal spitter and a side-arm curve that looked like Chet Brewer's emery ball. Brewer, a former Kansas City Monarchs pitching great, played with Satchel Paige and could compare the two men. "Rogan should have been put in the Hall of Fame before Satchel," Brewer said. "Paige only had his fastball, but Rogan had a fast ball and a curve also. Rogan could throw a curve ball faster than most pitchers could throw a fast ball. He was the best pitcher I ever saw in my life."

              Although mainly thought of as a pitcher, Rogan played every outfield position. He was a great low-ball and curve-ball hitter, using a heavy bat. Rogan stood deep in the batter's box and would attack the ball with his powerfully thin legs, tremendously strong wrist that resemble a smooth Ernie Banks-type swing.

              "He was the oiliest pitcher I ever saw," Paige said about Rogan. "He was pitching and hitting in the clean-up place. He was a chunky guy, but he could throw hard. He could throw as hard as Smokey Joe Williams, yeah! Oh yes, he was a number-one pitcher, wasn't any maybe so."

              In 11 seasons with the Monarchs, Bullet Joe compiled a batting average of .339 and slugging percentage of .545. During the period he led the team in home runs and stolen bases three times while leading the league in games won for three seasons. His career pitching won-lost record of 111-43, is the highest recorded winning percentage (.721) in Negro League history.

              At the age of 48, Rogan played his last game against white Major League pitching. Playing left-field against the Bob Feller All-Stars he went three-for-four and even stole a base. Of the 25 games he played against the white Major Leaguer teams he batted a creditable .329 with a slugging percentage of .513 against the likes of pitchers Feller, Mort Cooper, Mace Brown and Dizzy Dean.

              Country boy and self-promoter Dizzy Dean said "Old Rogan, was a showboat boy, a Pepper Martin type ball player. He was one of those cute guys, never wanted to give you a good ball to hit.
              "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
              ~~Al Gallagher

              God Bless America!

              Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

              Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!



              • #8

                Louis Santop

                One of the earliest superstars and a crowd favorite, Louis Santop was solid, strong-armed catcher who was better known as a power hitter. The left-handed hitting Texan was noted for his tape-measure home runs during baseball's dead-ball era.

                A lifetime .406 hitter, the big 6'4", 240-pounder starred with several great teams during his career, including the Lincoln Giants and Lincoln Stars, for whom he starred from 1911-16. With the Lincoln Giants, "Top" caught the two contemporary hardest throwers, Smokey Joe Williams and Cannonball Dick Redding, and chalked up batting averages against all levels of competition of .470, .422 and .455 for the years 1911, 1912 and 1914, respectively.

                After navy service during World War I, he played with Hilldale from 19290-26, including the pennant-winning teams of 1923-25. Santop hit for averages of .358, .364 and .405 for the 1922-24 seasons, respectively, and .333 in the 1924 World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs.

                The following year, the 35-year-old Santop's playing time was restricted, as Biz Mackey assumed the catching duties. Soon thereafter, he faded from the baseball scene, but is still remembered today for his colorful exploits and his powerful bat.

                Years Played:
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 08:50 PM.

                Stan Musial Pages
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                • #9
                  Negro League numbers

                  We'll always have some of those number problems, but a key issue with single season Negro League numbers is seasons were often 50-60 games long. That's late May, early June in the modern majors--and look how often you've got numbers that just won't hold up over the course of a season. Guys who get hot for 10-12 games haven't had the chance for the longer season to take some of the air out of those stats. Really, when looking at Negro Leaguers, it's better to look at Negro League all-star appearances, Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican winter ball all-star appearances and league leaderships to get a better fix on them, IMO. Guys who lead the league 10 times even in short seasons are the best the league has to offer in that skill, not somebody who simply got hot. If you want to use stats from blackball, you've got to combine the many seasons these guys played, since they played year-round, and/or you have to look at career percentages (totals are screwy because of short seasons). There's also distortions due to slightly lower overall quality of play, much like happens with the Japanese Leagues.

                  Of course, Japan had nice record keeping, longer seasons, and balanced actually-played schedules (at least some Negro League teams frequently blew off games to play in more lucrative barnstorming type games) which eliminates many of the difficulties we see with Negro League data.

                  Another good place to look are the polls listed in this thread and, I might add, in Bill McNeil's one book Cool Papas and Double Duties. I wouldn't buy the book unless you're really into individual opinions of those surveyed, but it's worth getting through interlibrary loan. I have it, and I'll try to post some of the key results shortly.

                  Another interesting book is McNeil's work on the California Winter League, which was integrated long before the majors. One problem is they don't seem to have played balanced schedules, but still I think it helps clarify the relative skills of major leaguers and Negro League stars, who faced each other in the same league not just one-time exhibitions.

                  Jim Albright
                  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.


                  • #10
                    Cool Papas and Double Duties polls

                    In an earlier post, I promised to post key results of the polls in Bill McNeil's Cool Papas and Double Duties . Here they are:

                    There are two guys over 75% of the former Negro League players polled would put in the Hall of Fame who aren't already in:
                    Biz Mackey, C and Dick Lundy, ss

                    The players tended to be from the later times of the Negro Leagues, and tended to vote for guys from their own era. McNeil polled a group of historians, and in addition to Mackey and Lundy, they gave 75% to the following guys who aren't in: Cristobal Torriente (of), Mule Suttles (of-1b), Dick Redding (p), Ben Taylor (1b), Oliver Marcelle (3b), Jud Wilson (1b-3b), and Louis Santop (c).

                    Finally, McNeil tried to make sure early Negro Leaguers got their due, and selected a group of ten (10) historians familiar with that era. They had five guys with at least 7 votes (70%): Ben Taylor, Marcelle, Sammy T. Hughes (2b), Pete Hill (of) and Spot Poles (of).

                    Jim Albright
                    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.


                    • #11
                      batting titles

                      I went through the list of leagues whose batting titles you listed, and Holway's numbers don't agree with the ones you cited. That's unfortunately common--different people find or don't find certain boxscores, and then there's the issue of which boxscores count. Anyway, what I got was the following, in chronological order:

                      West 1920, Jimmie Lyons .399 in 61 games
                      West 1921, Charlie Blackwell .484 in 92 games
                      West 1922, Heavy Johnson .451 in 77 games
                      West 1923, George Scales .433 in 62 games
                      West 1924, Bullet Rogan .470 in 87 games

                      East 1926, Jud Wilson .351 in 92 games
                      East 1927 Chino Smith .435 in 40 games
                      East 1928, Pop Lloyd .563 in 38 games
                      East 1929, Chino Smith .464 in 56 games.

                      Jim Albright
                      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.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jalbright
                        We agree on the basic point, to be sure. I'm not sure we're together on how to quantify the difference. The above is more evidence pointing in the direction we agree on--but it's really hard to use for comparative purposes.

                        If you want to tell me who had the averages you're interested in and the year they supposedly had them, I'll see what I can come up with in Holway's book.

                        Jim Albright
                        Sure, I would like to see the number of games played for the following players in the years listed.

                        1936 Pat Paterson-----.484
                        1940 Chester Williams--.473
                        1941 Monte Irvin------.463 Eastern League
                        1941 Lyman Bostic----.488
                        1943 Josh Gibson-----.547

                        The city I live in has one of the best sections on baseball in it's library, so on my next visit I will take avery good look at books that deal with the negro leagues.

                        Again to point out the thinness of the pitching rosters in the negro leagues. I gave some pitching stats where a number of pitchers were credited with nearly 30 decisions and if there were an average of 60 game played per season, these guys had to be over worked even if some decisions came in a relief roll. Probably the reason that outfielders and infielders at times took the roll of starting pitchers.
                        Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 03-22-2005, 04:15 AM.


                        • #13
                          Just like in the majors of the time, Negro Leagues used their aces as closers in tight games. So, yes, they picked up decisions that way, just like Lefty Grove did. I have to believe that the way Negro League pitchers were used, they had to pace themselves to keep the better money a career in baseball afforded them. So if they were ahead by 3-4 runs, they probably tried to get by with less than their best--which would have helped hitters. Late in a tight game, or in a playoff, that wouldn't be an issue--but it had to come up a lot during the year.

                          For the guys you mention, here's what Holway's book says (I should point out the number of games I'm using are the number of games for the player's team--individuals may have played less than that):

                          1936 Patterson .694 in 7 games
                          1940 JesseWilliams, .430 in 35 games
                          1941 Irvin .382 in 34 games he was bested that year by Bill Hoskins of Baltimore, who hit .412 in 57 games, according to Holway
                          1941 Bostick .442 in 24 games
                          1943 Gibson .449 in 59 games, though bested by Tetelo Vargas (per Holway) at .484 in 39 games.

                          Jim Albright
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 08:46 PM.
                          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.


                          • #14
                            In my attempt to be useful to the house, I'd like to contribute these profiles. May these assist others in the Fever Hall of Fame, our endless polls/surveys.

                            John Beckwith
                            An undisciplined, mean, and short-tempered player, Beckwith stands with Josh Gibson as the two greatest right-handed batters to play in the Negro Leagues. A dangerous slugger, he crushed mammoth home runs and gathered hits by the bundle. Beckwith began with Frank Leland's Chicago Giants from 1916-23, when his dead-pull hitting led opponents to shift their defense to the left side of the field. Beckwith played with numerous teams in subsequent years, his malignant personality undoubtedly contributing to his short stay in many cases. A defensive liability as well, Beckwith's value as a hitter ranks him among the greatest right-handed hitters of any color, during any era.

                            Dave Brown
                            The pitching ace of the Chicago American Giants during the early 1920s, Brown had numerous effective pitches and the ability to win with either power or control. Brown was quiet and popular with his teammates in spite of consistently finding himself on the wrong side of the law. In 1925 he killed a man in a barroom fight and dropped out of sight to avoid conviction, cutting short a career that had tremendous promise.

                            Rube Foster
                            The most important figure in the establishment of the Negro Leagues, Foster is one of the most important figures in all of baseball history. In 25 years of black baseball, he was an excellent administrator, perhaps the greatest manager in black baseball history, and among the best few pitchers in the early part of his career. A crafty pitcher who featured a screwball, Foster was a dominant hurler in the 1900s, starring for a few teams, including the powerhouse Leland Giants from 1907-10. In 1910 he split with owner Frank Leland and formed his own team, the Chicago American Giants. Foster influenced black baseball for decades by building the Giants into a winner relying upon good pitching, excellent defense, and a bunting/free-running offensive attack. In 1920 he founded the Negro National League, the first "true" Negro League, and served as its president while running his own club. Thousands paid their respects after Foster's premature death in 1930.

                            Willie Foster
                            The younger half-brother of Rube, Willie starred for big brother's American Giants club from 1923-1930. Generally accepted as the best left-handed pitcher in black baseball history, Foster performed at his best when the game was most important. One example: he won the Negro National League pennant for the American Giants in 1926 by starting and winning both ends of a doubleheader to end the season against fellow Hall-of-Famer Bullet Joe Rogan. A power pitcher, Foster had good control and threw five different pitches well. He was likable, well-respected and educated - a dean at Alcorn State College after completing a career that established him as among the greatest pitchers - of any color.

                            Pete Hill
                            This outfielder began his long association with black baseball in 1899 and starred for the powerhouse Leland Giants and the Chicago American Giants. While existing statistics do not support the claims, many of his contemporaries considered him perhaps the finest hitter, and certainly the finest clutch hitter, of his era. A popular player who served as the team captain with the American Giants, Hill boasted solid defense, tremendous footspeed, and proficiency at the "inside baseball" style of play championed by his manager.

                            Grant Johnson
                            Nicknamed "Home Run" for his timely-if-infrequent blasts, this middle infielder helped form the Page Fence Giants in 1895 and was still playing nearly 30 years latter. Johnson was a leading hitter and a frequent captain for some of the best teams in the Negro Leagues, including the Brooklyn Royal Giants of the mid-to-late 1900s, the 1910 Leland Giants, and the great New York Lincoln Giants of the early 1910s. A good-natured, paternalistic team player, "Home Run" Johnson was one of the best players of his era.

                            John Henry Lloyd
                            The Negro Leagues produced a wealth of fine all-around shortstops, strong hitters and fielders both, but none rivaled John Henry Lloyd. "Pop" was the best Negro League player before the Negro National League in 1920. A star defensively who could play any infield position, Lloyd was also a marvelous base runner, a talented and patient hitter, and among the best at applying the "inside baseball" strategies favored in Negro League play. Expert at manufacturing a run, Lloyd competed for more than 10 teams during his storied career, playing for the owner willing to pay him the most. A man of strong moral fiber and particularly wonderful temperament, Pop Lloyd was one of the greatest three position players to play in the Negro Leagues.

                            Bill Monroe
                            Monroe was the greatest Negro Leaguer of the first decade of the century. Possessing a flare for the dramatic and superior talent, Monroe was particularly valuable in the field, where he flashed great range and avoided costly errors while delighting the fans with his showboating on the easier plays. He was a good contact hitter, on base regularly, with tremendous speed. He started with the Chicago Unions in 1896 and went on to contribute to the success of many of the finest teams of his era: The three-time champion Philadelphia Giants and the Brooklyn Royal Giants of 1907-10, before winding down his career with Rube Foster's first capable Chicago American Giants teams through the mid-1910s. Handsome and popular, Monroe stands with John Henry Lloyd as the finest Negro League players of their generation.

                            Bruce Petway
                            An intelligent student of the game, "Buddy" possessed numerous skills not typical in the men who have donned the "tools of ignorance" over the years. A switch-hitter, Petway was an excellent bunter, a contact hitter who protected runners well and a frequent threat to steal a base. He had a patient batting eye. However, his greatest strength was his legendary throwing arm. He was best remembered for throwing out Ty Cobb three times in a 1910 Cuban set of games. He spent eight seasons in his prime with the early Chicago American Giants, and seven with the Detroit Stars as a player-manager.

                            Spot Poles
                            The most prolific leadoff hitter of the early days, Poles was a superior defensive outfielder who hit for high averages, had a sharp batting eye, and ran the bases with singular speed that helped him pilfer many bases and score a lot of runs. Poles spent most of his career with the New York Lincoln Giants, enjoying two extended stints between 1911-23. A World War I hero who was a coach for many years after his playing years, Poles was an intense competitor and an impressive physical specimen and athlete.

                            Ted Radcliffe
                            Called "Double Duty" for his dual role as starting pitcher and top catcher, Radcliffe is a unique figure in the annals of baseball history. No other pitcher at a Major League level has spent virtually his entire career as a full-time player on his off-days, let alone as a catcher, easily the most demanding position on the diamond. Of course, we can just as easily look at it the opposite way and observe that no starting player, never mind a catcher, has also taken a regular turn in solid pitching rotations for most of a career that spanned past the end of the color line. A superior catcher and solid pitcher, "Duty" played in numerous All-Star contests, as both catcher and a pitcher. He had a steady throwing arm, was quick defensively, and was a solid batter. As a pitcher he enjoyed throwing a variety of illegal pitches to confound the opposition. A ballplayer who always gravitated toward the fattest paycheck, Radcliffe never spent more than two successive seasons with the same team until the very end of his career, retiring as a unique competitor in the rich history of our national pastime.

                            Turkey Stearnes
                            Best remembered for the tremendous length of his home runs, Norman "Turkey" Stearnes hit for high average with power to all fields. He ran the bases well and had excellent speed (even leading off at times), was among the better defensive outfielders of his era, and was eventually molded into a capable "inside baseball" player, as well. The cozy confines of Detroit's Mack Park might have inflated his numbers, but Stearnes, who played in the high-octane 1920s and 1930s, legitimately stands as one of the most productive sluggers in black baseball history. Turkey was a quiet, private man. He spent 10 of the first 11 years of his career with the Detroit Stars, and later with the Kansas City Monarchs.

                            George Stovey
                            The "oldest" ballplayer in this set, Stovey was among the black ballplayers competing in the white minor leagues when the color line was put into place in 1887. In fact, Stovey is the pitcher who touched off Cap Anson's well-documented refusal to play the Newark club in 1887. A marvelous hurler who reportedly was considered for signing by Major League clubs, the left-hander pitched for the original Cuban Giants teams. Stovey's statistical accomplishments may have been marred by racial prejudices and the record keeping of the time, but he remains one of the most important baseball players of the 19th Century.

                            Ben Taylor
                            A star hitter on the solid early entries of the Indianapolis ABC's, Taylor stands as the finest all-around first baseman in the first 40 years of black baseball. He was nimble around the sack and hit to all fields, both able to knock home important runs and protect or advance the baserunner if necessary. Beginning in 1910, Taylor played, managed and coached numerous clubs. In the early years he played for powerhouses like the New York Lincoln Giants and Chicago American Giants. Taylor was a member of the largest ballplaying family in the Negro Leagues.

                            Christobal Torriente
                            C.I. Taylor famously said, "If I should see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, 'There walks a ballclub.' " Torriente was one of the finest outfielders in Negro League history, and one of the best overall players. A premiere slugger before home-run hitting took off, Torriente scorched line drives to all fields. Thickly built but light afoot, he was one of the finest defensive center fielders ever. Torriente starred with the Chicago American Giants from 1918-25 when the team was consistently among the best in baseball. A moody and sometimes difficult player, he left the American Giants amidst controversy and spent his final years shuttling between teams. One of the greatest Cuban-born players, Torriente was an inaugural member of the Cuban Hall of Fame.

                            Frank Wickware
                            A fireballing right hander, Wickware spent the better part of 10 seasons between the Leland Giants and Chicago American Giants during his 14-year career. He was among the best hurlers in the 1910s, but Wickware's freewheeling lifestyle, lackadaisical attitude, and uneven demeanor made him a handful for his various managers and contributed as much to his early decline as much as any erosion of talent.
                            Coming in March: Josh Gibson and the mighty Homestead Grays.

                            Bill Burgess
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2005, 03:36 PM.


                            • #15

                              Although he played for several teams during his career, Alexander "Alec" Radcliffe is best remembered as the slugging third baseman for the Chicago American Giants from 1936-39, 1941-44, and again in 1949. With his 40-ounce bat, Radcliffe set the record for most at bats and hits in the East-West All-Star game, and finished second behind Buck Leonard in RBIs. Radcliffe also played for the Chicago Giants and Cole's American Giants. After retiring from baseball, Radcliffe owned and ran a bar in Chicago. One of the bartenders was his brother, Double Duty. Some historians consider Alec to be the best third baseman to play in the Negro American League.
                              Last edited by JACKIE42; 04-25-2005, 10:37 AM.


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