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Gary Ashwill
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Few teams have suffered quite as much at the hands of an incomplete historical record as the 1939 St. Louis Stars. They were a pretty good team—the second half champions of the Negro American League, in fact, losing the pennant... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Agate Type
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You may have heard about this on Facebook or other social media, but I wanted to announce it here, too. The collector Jay Caldwell (of Negroleagueshistory.com) has shared with me and Mike Lynch of Seamheads.com 131 Cuban sports newspapers from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2018 at Agate Type
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Stephen V. Rice has published a good SABR biography of Clarence “Fats” Jenkins, the basketball and baseball star of 1920s and 1930s New York City. A couple of months back he wrote to me about the photograph we use for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2018 at Agate Type
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Among the most accomplished pairs of brothers in Negro league history are Ted and Alex Radcliffe. Ted is by far the most famous of the two now, thanks to the “Double Duty” nickname he received from Damon Runyon as well... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2018 at Agate Type
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The great Cuban shortstop and manager Pelayo Chacón, a defensive wizard, Cuban League star, and mainstay of many Cuban Stars teams in the 1910s and 1920s, had two sons who grew up to be ballplayers. Pelayo Jr. played in Venezuela... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2018 at Agate Type
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When I wrote about James Wilson of the 1887 National Colored League, the first known professional ballplayer born on the African continent, the most important source was a long article published in the Philadelphia Times on January 30, 1887 (p.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2018 at Agate Type
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Back in 2009 I wrote about what is possibly the last known appearance of Dave Brown, left-handed pitching great of the 1920s and accused murderer, in 1938 in Greensboro, North Carolina. According to one account, Greensboro police apprehended a man... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2017 at Agate Type
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Several months ago Dolores Concepción contacted me with some information about her grandfather, Roberto Concepción. Nicknamed “Covas,” he was a pitcher and catcher for Puerto Rican teams in the 1920s, and also for the Stars of Cuba, a team that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2017 at Agate Type
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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