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Gary Ashwill
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Hi Bob, you're right--although Owens has always (at least since Riley) been listed as a lefty, it appears that he was a righthander (as was Sarvis). As for their heights, that's a thornier question. The WW2 draft cards for the three (all filled out in Jacksonville on October 16, 1940, just a few months after the photo you're talking about was published in the Chicago Defender & Cleveland Call & Post) list Henry at 5'5", 148; Sarvis at 5'10", 190; Owens at 5'7", 180. (They are definitely the right draft cards, too.) FWIW, Riley lists Henry at 5'4", 135--combined with the draft card it would appear he was probably shorter than the 5'6" listed for him at Seamheads & bb-ref.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on eugene bremer at Agate Type
Yeah, after due consideration I agree it's Fats Jenkins. The facial expression is one that's not duplicated in other photos of him, and he's also much younger in this picture than in most images of him.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2020 on Fats Jenkins at Agate Type
I would love to see an image of the Grant Johnson card.
More than a decade ago I wrote about the Lost Island Giants, a 1917 team based in Ruthven, Iowa, that featured Hurley McNair, Ruby Tyrees, and Bingo Bingham, among others. Recently I ran across a photo of the Giants in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2020 at Agate Type
I’ve written about Andrew “String Bean” Williams before. A kind of prototype for Satchel Paige—a tall, skinny, right-handed pitcher who exploited his supposedly advanced age for publicity—Williams was a well-known player who moved constantly from team to team in the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2019 at Agate Type
Dobie Moore with the 25th Infantry Wreckers in 1916 Long-time readers of this blog will remember my nearly decade-long effort at chronicling the search for Walter “Dobie” Moore, the great Kansas City Monarchs shortstop who was shot in 1926 and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2019 at Agate Type
The following photograph has provoked some wonder and curiosity in Negro league circles, because it appears to show Josh Gibson playing for a Cuban Stars team—something that has not been documented by historians or noted in any reference works. At... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2019 at Agate Type
Bumpus Jones, who pitched a no-hitter in his very first appearance in the major leagues in 1892, may have been a black man who passed for white. In fact, as I explained a few years ago, I think he very... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2019 at Agate Type
Bertram “Bert” Johnson was one of those gifted black ballplayers who suffered some bad luck in his career and has as a result been almost completely overlooked in histories. For years I wasn’t even certain of his name. In the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2019 at Agate Type
I want to extend my thanks to Jason Mishelow, who recently loaned me three Cuban baseball guides from the 1945/46, 1946/47, and 1948/49 winter seasons. Here are the covers of two of them: There are certainly some cool images inside... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at Agate Type
In the era of segregation, mainstream (white) newspapers generally ignored black baseball teams, aside from publishing box scores (as they did for nearly all high-profile baseball games, at least before the 1930s). There was very little reporting, very few interviews... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2019 at Agate Type
Goose Tatum & King Tut Len Durrant alerted me to this silent film (posted by the National Film Preservation Foundation) showing Goose Tatum of the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns doing his thing in Cincinnati’s Crosley Field during a September 8, 1946, doubleheader... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at Agate Type
Here’s a photograph I’ve never seen before, showing the Cuban Stars of 1907 prior to a series of games in Chicago with white semipro teams. It’s not a particularly great image quality-wise (having passed through microfilming then scanning), but they... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2019 at Agate Type
I’ve been asked recently (see this comment) whether Ty Cobb ever faced Cannonball Dick Redding. In a 1932 interview with the Chicago Defender (posted here by Ryan Whirty) Redding himself said (or at least implied) that he had played against... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2019 at Agate Type
(A version of the following piece was originally posted at Negro League History as part of the Cuban Newspaper Project.) One of the preludes to the integration of Cuban baseball in 1900 was the first visit by a professional Cuban... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2018 at Agate Type
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 Dec 10, 2018 at Agate Type
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
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
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
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
(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
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
(The following piece was originally published last month at, 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
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
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 has shared with me and Mike Lynch of 131 Cuban sports newspapers from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2018 at Agate Type