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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obituary: William “Willie” Pope / Negro Leagues pitcher for the Grays, Crawfords

William “Willie” Pope, a valued pitcher for the Homestead Grays and one of Pittsburgh’s last links to part of its storied baseball past, died Thursday in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in O’Hara. He was 91.
[...]
The 6-foot-4 Mr. Pope began his career as a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1946 but was mostly known for playing with the Grays during the 1947 and 1948 seasons. During the 1947 season the right-hander notched a 6-7 record, but pitched a no-hitter against the New York Cubans.

In the 1948 season he was major contributor to the Grays team that won the last Negro National League Pennant and won the Negro Leagues World Series against the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 17, 2010 at 12:06 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: negro leagues, obituaries, pirates

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   1. crict Posted: June 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM (#3561624)
Maybe somebody here can help me. I have a hard time reconciling this:

"In the 1948 season he was major contributor to the Grays team that won the last Negro National League Pennant and won the Negro Leagues World Series against the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League"

with the fact that he was 11-15 for Farnham in the Provincial League in 1948.

My best guess is that he went back to the Grays after Farnham was eliminated, in early September.
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 17, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3562130)
Wrong year? Different guy with the same name? Hard to say.
   3. crict Posted: June 17, 2010 at 10:38 PM (#3562320)
I'm sure that a) Willie Pope played for Farnham from Mid-May to early-September 1948 and b) He played in the 1948 Negro World Series for the Grays.

The Provincial League had a pretty full schedule, leaving little time for Pope to moonlight between the two. So either i) Pope joined the Grays in early September, in time for the World Series, maybe playing a bit with them in April-May or ii) one of these guys is an impostor. Seems unlikely. Pope was introduced in Farnham as a Negro League Star, his brother Dave played on the team and he came back the next few years.

I guess the "major contributor to the team" could mean only the playoffs. The Negro Leagues were on their last miles, so also possible that nobody paid attention until the playoffs. It was then assumed that Pope was there all year long.

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