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Gary Ashwill
Recent Activity
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More than 10 years ago (!) I wrote about a false report of Rafael Figarola’s death in 1915, supposedly caused when a batting practice pitch from his teammate José Méndez struck him on the chest, triggering heart failure. This turned... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Agate Type
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In 1889 the Cuban Giants and the Colored Gorhams, the two most famous professional black baseball teams in the United States, joined the otherwise all-white Middle States League. The Cuban Giants competed for the pennant, which they barely lost to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at Agate Type
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Oscar “Chick” Levis (often appearing in box scores as just “Oscar” or “Oscal”) was a spitballing sidearm pitcher in Cuba and the Negro leagues in the 1920s. He was very good but not great—about a .500 pitcher in the Negro... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at Agate Type
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The West Baden Sprudels, a black professional team managed for four years by the great C. I. Taylor and starring such players as Dizzy Dismukes, George Shively, and C. I.’s brothers Ben and Candy Jim, played their home games in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2018 at Agate Type
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On May 25, 1948, Albert Stephens and John Stanley of the New York Black Yankees combined for a no-hitter against the Newark Eagles in game 2 of a doubleheader played in Rochester’s Red Wing Stadium (the Yankees’ home field that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2018 at Agate Type
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(The following piece was originally posted at Negro Leagues History as part of the Cuban Newspaper Project.) Let’s look in more detail at turn-of-the-century Cuban baseball publications, to give you a better idea of what they were like. The ones... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2018 at Agate Type
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From an ad for a “Television Training” course run by the National Radio School (Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 6, 1948). A little while back Albert J. McGilvray asked the following question on the Facebook group, The Historical Negro League Baseball... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2018 at Agate Type
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(The following piece was originally published last month at Negroleaguehistory.com, as part of our joint project on turn-of-the-century Cuban sports newspapers.) Our collection of Cuban sports newspapers covers the years 1899 to 1901, an era that encompasses multiple turning points... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2018 at Agate Type
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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