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Gary Ashwill
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Joe Posnanski has a great series (currently on hiatus) listing his version of the 100 greatest players in baseball history, a list that (as you might expect) includes several Negro leaguers. I’ve enjoyed these pieces quite a bit. But I... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at agate type
Stefanie Caruthers writes that her great-uncle, Clarence Orme (above), played baseball for the Kansas City Giants in the 1930s. Born on April 3, 1899, in Chamois, Missouri, Clarence Charles Orme moved to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1917, and lived in... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at agate type
During the 1921/22 Cuban winter season, the Cuban League could only field two teams, and when Almendares totally dominated, winning 4 out of the first 5 games played, fan interest plummeted. The league called it quits even before the New... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at agate type
On the morning of Friday, May 23, 1919, Tinti Molina brought his Cuban Stars across the Mexican/U.S. border at Laredo, Texas. His team announced their presence in the United States that afternoon with a 22 to 2 walloping of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at agate type
(Crossposted at The latest addition to the Seamheads Negro Leagues DB covers the 1920/21 winter league season in Cuba. Heading the bill that off-season was none other than the biggest name in baseball at the time, one George Herman... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2014 at agate type
Courtesy of Jay Sokol of Black College Nines comes this photograph of the 1897 Wilberforce University baseball team. This print belongs to Ray Lucas, whose great uncle William A. Wallace is seated in the middle row on the far left.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at agate type
Check out this photo of Henry “Flick” Williams, a solid journeyman Negro league catcher in the 1920s. Brian Campf, who sent this photo along, identified Williams by comparing the photo with this shot of the 1928 St. Louis Stars—Williams is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at agate type
A huge amount of information has been dug up in recent years about previously very obscure players, but much of it has generally gone unnoticed or unreported except in emails between researchers. I’m going to try to bring a lot... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at agate type
(Crossposted at Check out the newest addition to the Negro Leagues DB: the 1935 Negro National League season. The defending champion Philadelphia Stars fell off quite a bit in 1935, partly because several of their key performers (Biz Mackey,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at agate type
The 1911 Chicago Union Giants panoramic postcard that Brian Campf sent me recently reminds of another fantastic Union Giants image, this one a broadside shown to me by Jason Miller last year. I was going to post it then, but... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at agate type
Here, courtesy of John Russell, is a brief sketch of Grant “Home Run” Johnson’s career up to 1913, with details supplied by Johnson himself—plus a photo I’ve never seen before of Johnson in the colors of the Royal Poinciana Hotel... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at agate type
Check out this amazing panoramic postcard from Brian Campf: This was taken in the town of Daggett, on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on September 6, 1911, the day of a game between W. S. Peters’s Chicago Union Giants and the local... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at agate type
A quick rundown on Grant “Home Run” Johnson’s credentials as a great player and manager and significant historical figure: • On October 7, 1893, Johnson, having just turned 21, hit two home runs off Tony Mullane to lead his hometown... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at agate type
Brian Campf sent me this postcard of the Alijadores (Lightermen) de Tampico of the 1943 Mexican League, featuring Willie Wells as player-manager (standing at the far left). Notable members of the team included the Mexican first baseman Àngel Castro, the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at agate type
(Warren PA Times-Mirror, June 18, 1930, p. 11) Back in 2008 I wrote about the murder of Elias Bryant, who played baseball under the name of “Circus Country Brown” and was known for his on-field comedy act. In 2010, I... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at agate type
New research in passenger lists has increased confidence that we’ve got the right man in the search for Dobie Moore. It’s done the same for Charles “Chino” Smith, the legendarily pugnacious high-average hitter for the Lincoln Giants and Royal Giants... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2014 at agate type
Here’s the latest on the search for Walter “Dobie” Moore, the great Kansas City Monarchs and Santa Clara Leopardos shortstop. In case you haven’t been keeping track, see this and this. To sum up: Dobie Moore, born in Atlanta sometime... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at agate type
During the winter of 1926, Wesley Rollo Wilson, the dean of east coast black sportswriters, conducted an interview with Rube Foster that has become a key text in the modern reconstruction of Negro league history. I first happened upon it... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at agate type
Brian Campf sent me this seemingly ordinary photograph from the early part of the century: But zoom in on one of the posters in the shop window behind the family, to the left (their right): It’s barely legible, but at... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at agate type
The first “Negro league,” which I would define as a professional circuit explicitly dedicated to clubs staffed by black players, was the League of Colored Base Ball Clubs, or the National Colored League, of 1887. The NCL was as national... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at agate type
On July 6, 1947, a brief Associated Press item in the Portland Oregonian reported that “Another Negro” had joined organized baseball: (Oregonian, July 6, 1947, p. 33) The Rockford (Illinois) Morning Star (and a number of other newspapers) printed a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2014 at agate type
If you haven’t heard of Bumpus Jones, feel bad. You should have. Here’s why. 1) He was called “Bumpus.” 2) In his first appearance in the major leagues on October 15, 1892, he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates. By some cosmic... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at agate type
The Steve McQueen-directed movie 12 Years A Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free black man in Saratoga Springs, New York, who was kidnaped and sold into slavery into 1841. It’s based on Northup’s own book about what... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2013 at agate type
The second entry in my series about early Japanese and Japanese-American players on black teams concerns Isamu (or Isami) Tashiro, a University of Chicago graduate and dental student who played for the All-Nation Baseball Club of 1918, run by something... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at agate type
Since I wrote a few months ago about the earliest black American players in the Japanese league, I’m going to do a few pieces about early Japanese and Japanese-American players in the United States, all on black teams, or teams... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2013 at agate type