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Friday, June 29, 2012

Negro Leagues’ best glove men honored

Vizquel is still beating them, but it’s a start…

On Thursday, [Ozzie] Smith joined Royals Hall of Famer Frank White, Mike Thompson of Rawlings (which hands out the major-league Gold Gloves each year) and [Negro Leagues Baseball Museum] president Bob Kendrick in announcing the all-time list of “Gold Glove” Negro Leagues defensive players.

A special panel of historians and journalists chose the winners… pitcher Leon Day, catcher Raleigh “Biz” Mackey, first baseman Walter “Buck” Leonard, second baseman Newton “Newt” Allen, third baseman Ray Dandridge, shortstop Willie Wells, and outfielders James “Cool Papa” Bell, Martin Dihigo and Oscar Charleston.

White, who won eight Gold Glove awards with the Royals, said Negro Leaguers had a profound effect on him as a kid. He fondly recalled watching the players take infield practice — without a ball.

They would mimic all sorts of plays, and White was enthralled.

“They were not only great athletes, but they were also great baseball players,” White recalled. “It was kind of like watching the Globetrotters and the Washington Generals. The baseball players were that good.”

Kendrick said he had no trouble recruiting Smith and White for Thursday’s event, which included a special Gold Glove award for Buck O’Neil, whose name is synonymous with the museum.

The District Attorney Posted: June 29, 2012 at 03:01 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: biz mackey, buck leonard, buck o'neil, cool papa bell, hall of fame, history, leon day, martin dihigo, negro leagues, newt allen, oscar charleston, ray dandridge, willie wells

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 29, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4169735)
For anybody here who hasn't seen it: got a treat for ya.
   2. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: June 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4169749)
A treat indeed. Thanks.
   3. KJOK Posted: June 29, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4169772)
It's always good to see the Negro Leaguers honored, but we're just NOW getting defensive statistics, so it's a little premature to say we know who was really deserving.

And as usual with these things, it's heavy on the more recent year's players.

   4. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 29, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4169786)
It's always good to see the Negro Leaguers honored, but we're just NOW getting defensive statistics, so it's a little premature to say we know who was really deserving.

We don't even seem to know who wore what number jersey, which considering they probably wore the things until they fell apart you'd think there'd be a list somewhere.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: June 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4169789)
It's always good to see the Negro Leaguers honored, but we're just NOW getting defensive statistics, so it's a little premature to say we know who was really deserving.
On the other hand, if we do it now, we can get some votes from people who actually saw the guys play, whereas if we wait too much longer, not so much.

It'd be nice to know who all voted...
   6. AndrewJ Posted: June 29, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4169841)
I was at a SABR regional about 25 years ago where several members of the Negro League Philadelphia Stars appeared. They mentioned that Ray Dandridge was bowlegged. "You could get anything through those legs," one of them recalled, "but a ball."
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 29, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4169856)
On the other hand, if we do it now, we can get some votes from people who actually saw the guys play, whereas if we wait too much longer, not so much.

Might already be too late to go by much more than myth and legend. To have seen even the last years of the pre-integration Negro League as an adult with some perspective would put you into your 90s. Not that many around, and some might not recall quite everything they once knew. Which is not to say that the Museum shouldn't make the effort anyhow.
   8. KJOK Posted: June 29, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4169872)
On the other hand, if we do it now, we can get some votes from people who actually saw the guys play, whereas if we wait too much longer, not so much.


Yep, too late for that, especially for guys that played in the 1910's, 1920's, 1930's even.

   9. bjhanke Posted: July 01, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4170436)
The clip linked to in #1 is amazing. I've seen footage of the Gashouse Gang Cardinals doing similar "magician" tricks with the ball, but I have to admit, the Clowns are MUCH better at it, running variations that the Cards had never thought of. Other interesting things: Tatum apparently played 1B, threw righty, but hit lefty, or was a switch-hitter. The gloves are, for the time period, enormous, much bigger than I remember gloves being a decade later, when I was a kid. No idea why. The Clowns filmed are all VERY thin. I wonder if that was a general characteristic of NgL players - I know it was not characteristic of Oscar Charleston or Josh Gibson, but these guys all look like they need a good meal more than a ballgame. Except, of course, that they are burning energy at a fantastic rate, and obviously are not starving. - Brock Hanke

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