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Gary Ashwill
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We’re used to thinking about Negro leaguers as ballplayers—but on this Labor Day, let’s think about them as workers. They were, after all, trying to make a living, and Negro league baseball would not have existed had it not been... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2017 at Agate Type
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On page 97 of Phil Dixon’s classic book The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History resides what (for me) has been an enduring mystery. It has to do with this photo of a Bacharach Giants team: Phil’s caption identifies the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at Agate Type
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David Whatley, a native of Griffin, Georgia, first emerged as an outfielder with the Birmingham Black Barons in the mid-1930s. His big bat earned him the nickname “Hammer Man.” In 1937 he was the Black Barons’ best player, belting out... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2017 at Agate Type
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A brief email discussion with Tom Shieber, Larry Lester, and Lawrence Hogan last week led me to look up the very first known box score for a game between African American baseball teams—so I thought I’d post it. (Weekly Anglo-African,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2017 at Agate Type
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I’ve been wanting to post details from my ongoing research more regularly—to make the blog a little bloggier, you might say. So here’s a little research find from last year. Ashby Columbus Dunbar, who clearly belongs in a Dave Frishberg... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Agate Type
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Back on April 26, the utility infielder Gift Ngoepe, from South Africa, became the first African-born player in the major leagues—or so one might have thought. If you consider the Canary Islands a part of Africa, then Ngoepe missed out... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2017 at Agate Type
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A few years ago a writer for SFGate noticed that, according to the baseball-reference.com Negro league pages, Willie Mays played for the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Baseball Association in 1946. No, not that Willie Mays. It... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2017 at Agate Type
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Several weeks back Bill Mullins sent me a wonderful 1921 map of Carroll Park (or, as it was better known in 1921, Alexander Park), home of the Alexander Giants, from the Baist Real Estate Atlas of Los Angeles. Here’s a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2017 at Agate Type
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Bill Mullins has dug up fire insurance maps from 1920 for the portion of Long Beach Avenue where Carroll/Alexander Park, home of the Alexander Giants of Los Angeles, was built that year. The maps don’t show the park, so must... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2017 at Agate Type
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Priscilla Johnson sent in this amazingly sharp and clear photograph of a town team in Chesterton, Indiana, in 1913. It has come down to her from her grandparents, who lived there until the 1950s. She was wondering in particular about... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2017 at Agate Type
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A couple of years ago Pete Gorton sent me the following half of a panoramic photograph, dating from the 1910s or early 1920s, showing an unidentified black team in an unknown ballpark. Pete had gotten a request from Hake’s to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2017 at Agate Type
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The image above shows what I’ve called the “Santop montage,” a collection of black baseball photographs from the 1910s that was auctioned off by Hake’s a few years ago. Its exact origin was apparently unknown, but since it features several... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at Agate Type
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Edwin Torres-Romero, an expert on Puerto Rican baseball, has kindly provided some amazing photographs of Negro leaguers in Puerto Rico. First is a fantastic picture of George Scales and Chino Smith, probably in the winter of 1925/26: Here (courtesy of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2017 at Agate Type
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The above broadside advertising a June 11 game between the Cuban Stars and Marshall University dates, according to Getty Images, to 1920. Okay, to be clear they say “ca. 1920.” But it should be immediately obvious to anyone reading the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at Agate Type
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When identifying people in old photographs, few resources are more helpful than finding the photograph printed in a newspaper with all the people in it identified. This photo, from Sol White’s Official Base Ball Guide (1907), is the earliest known... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2017 at Agate Type
You can download that issue of The National Pastime here: http://research.sabr.org/journals/pdfs-np/583-the-national-pastime--16
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In the comments Kim Agan points out that the last time the Cubs won the World Series, back in 1908, they took spring training at the luxurious West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana—at Sprudel Park, a ballpark surrounded by an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at Agate Type
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The Missouri History Museum has uncovered an astonishing find: a photograph of Stars Park, home of the Negro National League’s St. Louis Stars in the 1920s. See here for some (limited) views of the park’s interior, and here for a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2016 at Agate Type
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A few months ago Jimmy Allen, original owner of this photograph of the 1923 Washington Potomacs, sent me another photo to identify. The uniform style puts the photograph in the 1930s or 1940s. The logo, with the letters S and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2016 at Agate Type
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William D. Foster, from Wikipedia. A few years ago I wrote about a silent film called As the World Rolls On (1921), a Jack Johnson vehicle that featured footage of actual Negro league baseball games as an integral part of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at Agate Type
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William G. Nunn III, who played Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, has passed away of leukemia at the sadly early age of 63. Nunn’s name is, or should be, very familiar to historians of black baseball,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2016 at Agate Type
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Some months ago Mark Aubrey sent me this fascinating 1928 photo of the General Directorate of Public Works baseball team in Gonaïves, Haiti (from the University of Florida archives). Its fascination stems in part from the fact that we don’t... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at Agate Type
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Looking at two interviews with Cool Papa Bell (one in John Holway’s Voices from the Great Black Baseball Leagues, the other part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’s oral history project), one is struck by how much he talked about... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2016 at Agate Type
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I’ve written quite a bit about tracking down the death of Kansas City Monarchs shortstop Dobie Moore; here’s something about his life, an anecdote from 1925 I don’t think I’ve seen anyone use yet. It puts at least a little... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2016 at Agate Type
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A few months ago I was hired by Jimmy Allen to research the above photograph, which he’d had in his collection for decades. With his permission, I’m presenting my findings here, because it’s both a beautiful photograph and historically significant.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2016 at Agate Type