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Negro Leagues Newsbeat

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘A magical place’: Hinchliffe Stadium, former Negro Leagues ballpark, being restored to its former glory

It’s a dilapidated, decaying stadium, overrun with weeds and graffiti, after years of neglect in Paterson, New Jersey.

Now, after lying vacant for 24 years, Hinchliffe Stadium is coming back to life.

Government officials, architects and baseball historians will gather at an emotional groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday to restore the 89-year-old stadium and a return of pride and dignity.

The stadium will resurrect memories of the old Negro Leagues where the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans played. This is the site of the 1933 Negro League World Series called the Colored Championship of the Nation. It was where Paterson Eastside and Paterson Central High Schools played in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

And is it the home of Paterson hero Larry Doby.

This is where Doby was discovered in a Negro League tryout with the Newark Eagles. He was the first player to go directly from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues on July 5, 1947, breaking the American League color barrier with Cleveland, just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted in 1998 into the Hall of Fame.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 01:08 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues, stadiums

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Negro League Stars That MLB Kept Out — And Is Finally Recognizing

Let’s start with pitchers. Tall right-hander Satchel Paige is probably the most famous Negro Leagues player of all time, and with good reason: According to Seamheads, he was their all-time leader in pitching WAR with 39.3 in his career — or an average of 7.1 over a 162-game season.4 Paige was a true strikeout artist, whiffing 8.5 batters for every nine innings he pitched, easily making him the best of his era in that regard. He also had the best fielding-independent pitching (FIP) mark of any Negro League pitcher, which is why he compares well to the great Pedro Martínez and to Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom (among active pitchers).

On a per-game basis, however, there were some other pitchers who were close to (or even better than) Paige’s 7.1 WAR per 162 games. In fact, José Leblanc’s 7.8 rated higher, though he didn’t pitch as long — he died tragically after an on-field fight in 1922. Among more tenured Negro League pitchers, Ray Brown’s 6.8 WAR per 162 challenged Paige as well. Brown won 122 games in 14 seasons, best in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as ace of the storied Homestead Grays … and as a talented outfielder, too, on days between starts.

On the batting side, the Negro Leagues’ most valuable position player was the brilliant Oscar Charleston — 48.9 total WAR — a blazing-fast outfielder who was also one of the greatest ever when it came to hitting for both average and power. Among current players, Charleston’s two most similar comparables are Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr., while his most similar fellow Hall of Famer is Tris Speaker. His addition to the official ranks of MLB players instantly makes Charleston one of the greatest major leaguers ever to play the game — not that he needed the affirmation to cement his status as a legend.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The All-Time Negro League All Star team

First Base: Walter ‘Buck’ Leonard is our starting first baseman. A teammate of Josh Gibson, Leonard is another player who hit for power and average. He regularly posted .350+ batting averages, leading the Negro Leagues in 1948 with a .395 mark, and often finished second in home runs behind Gibson.

Second Base: at second base, we place utility man Martin Dihigo. The pitcher / outfielder / second baseman hailed from Cuba, and was another player in the Cool Papa Bell-mold of disruptive lightning quick on the bases.

Third Base: Ray Dandridge is our starting third baseman. A born shortstop, Dandridge played at the hot corner for most of his career since his teammate Hall of Famer Willie Wells manned up-the-middle. Dandridge was an exceptional fielder, with a strong bat.

Shortstop: Few shortstops can claim to play a decent middle infield into their mid-40s, but John Henry Lloyd is one such player. As a 45-year-old in 1945, Lloyd batted .370, and followed up by hitting .369 the following season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 10, 2021 at 06:12 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Ernest Johnson, Last Surviving 1940s Kansas City Monarchs Player, Dies At 92

Ernest “Schoolboy” Johnson, the last living Kansas City Monarchs player from the 1940s, died January 19, 2021, in Des Moines. He was 92. His death leaves only a handful of living Negro Leaguers that played in the 1940s, a list that includes Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

Johnson debuted with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1949 after their business manager Dizzy Dismukes spotted him as a teenager playing for the legendary House of David. Joining the Monarchs as a pitcher-outfielder, the team had high hopes for the two-way player.

His first run with the Monarchs, however, was short lived, as the United States Army drafted him in 1950. While stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, Johnson managed to pitch with Kansas City when they were home during his military service.

During Johnson’s Monarchs tenure from 1949-1953, his teammates included future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, as well as American League MVP Elston Howard. He explained how manager Buck O’Neil’s careful eye and nurturing presence helped them all develop their skills.

“He was the type of person that wanted you to play your best all the time,” Johnson said during a 2007 interview.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 31, 2021 at 11:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues, obituaries

Friday, January 22, 2021

Kansas City T-Bones renamed Monarchs in move to honor Negro League team

The Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association are being renamed the Kansas City Monarchs after the team that played in the Negro Leagues.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum signed a licensing agreement with Mark Brandmeyer’s MaxFun Entertainment, owner of the minor league team.

The original Monarchs were founded in 1920 and won the first Negro League World Series in 1924. The team played in the Negro National League from 1920 to 1931 and the Negro American League from 1937 to 1961, with independent stints from 1932 to 1936 and 1962 to 1965.

“This exciting partnership celebrates Kansas City’s rich baseball heritage and becomes an important extension of the work we’re doing to educate the public about the history of the Negro Leagues,” Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick said in a statement Thursday. “We are thrilled that the proud legacy of the great Kansas City Monarchs will take the field again and look forward to sharing our story through a myriad of opportunities made possible through this historic alliance.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 22, 2021 at 08:11 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: independent leagues, negro leagues

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

MLB Is Finally Recognizing the Negro Leagues as the Major Leagues They Always Were

On August 29, 1973, 42-year-old Met Willie Mays smacked a fifth-inning single to left off Padres southpaw Rich Troedson, driving in Bud Harrelson from second to put the Mets ahead 2-0. That hit, the last Mays ever recorded during the regular season, raised his career total to 3,283. That mark has stood ever since, undisturbed except for the passage of the few players who’ve subsequently hurdled him on the all-time leaderboard, where he ranks 12th.

Soon, though, that career count will climb slightly higher. Before he debuted for the New York Giants in 1951, Mays played for the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League. The fleet center fielder’s hits—17 of which have been documented, although seven of those came during the NAL Championship Series—helped propel that team to a pennant, but they aren’t represented in Mays’s major league résumé. More than 70 years later, The Ringer can report that Major League Baseball is belatedly designating the Negro Leagues as major leagues and adjusting its records accordingly. Mays is one of a multitude of Black or Hispanic players whose performances in the seven leagues collectively called the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1948—a period during which thousands of Black players were barred from joining the segregated National and American Leagues—will finally be afforded the designation they deserve…

In response to an inquiry from The Ringer earlier this year, the league began exploring the possibility of reclassification, as we reported in August. Later today, the league will officially announce the results of that effort and proceed with plans to assign the same major league status enjoyed by the AL and the NL to the Negro Leagues—and, in the cases of players like Mays who played in the Negro Leagues between 1920 and 1948 and later joined the AL or NL, integrate records produced in segregated leagues.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 16, 2020 at 10:59 AM | 113 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Texas Rangers statement on the passing of Charley Pride

“The Texas Rangers join the Country Music world in mourning the loss of Charley Pride. While Mr. Pride was a legendary performer who entertained millions of fans in the United States and around the world, we will remember him as a true friend to this franchise.

“Mr. Pride’s first love was baseball. He pitched professionally in the Negro and Minor Leagues throughout the 1950’s before embarking on his Hall of Fame singing career of more than 60 years. Mr. Pride then became a regular participant at Texas Rangers spring training camps in Pompano Beach and Port Charlotte, Florida and Surprise, Arizona, working out with the team and staging an annual clubhouse concert for players and staff, a tradition that continued through this past spring.

“The Rangers have been honored to have Mr. Pride be a part of the team’s ownership group for the last ten years. A longtime resident of this area, he was a regular at home games when his schedule permitted. He sang The Star Spangled Banner one final time before the first regular season game ever played at Globe Life Field on July 24.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 12, 2020 at 05:30 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: charley pride, negro leagues, rangers

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A push to recognize the statistics of Black players from baseball’s era of apartheid

Major League Baseball is considering giving major-league status to six long-defunct Negro Leagues, where 35 Hall of Famers played during the sport’s segregated era.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Scott Simkus, a former Chicago limousine driver who spent much of the last two decades helping build a statistical database of the Negro Leagues by tracking down and chronicling box scores of once-forgotten games. “It’s long overdue, but it would be righting a wrong. It would be giving the Negro Leaguers full citizenship as professionals.”

Not everyone agrees.

“Negro Leaguers should be compared against themselves,” said Larry Lester, a pioneer of Negro League studies and the chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Negro Leagues committee. “I don’t think it’s fair to rank the Negro Leaguers and the major leaguers together for the simple fact they never played against each other.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 10:23 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Negro Leagues stats no longer stuff of legend

Over at the Seamheads Negro Leagues database, a dedicated few have combed through newspapers and scorebooks, photo albums and microfiche to piece together the most complete statistical record of the Negro Leagues to date.

For example, here, courtesy of Ashwill, are the pages from a 1941-42 Baltimore Elite Giants scorebook showing the Elites beating the Philadelphia Stars on Aug. 16, 1942:

“The biggest myth of them all is that the history of Negro League baseball is nothing but blurry, hard-to-substantiate legends and tall tales,” Ashwill wrote in an email to MLB.com. “I grew up with the distinct impression that no statistics could ever be compiled, that it was often unclear what happened at all, and that it was more or less impossible to find out anything for sure about many of the players.”

That started to change in the 1980s and early ‘90s as researchers like Dick Clark, Larry Lester, John Holway, James Riley and Phil Dixon began assembling a more robust statistical record. That mission continues today.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:35 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hardball Talk: Harrison Ford to play Branch Rickey in Jackie Robinson biopic

According to Spencer Fordin of MLB.com, Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that Harrison Ford will play Hall of Fame Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey in a biopic about Jackie Robinson.

Many prominent actors have been mentioned for the role of Rickey over the years, including Robert Redford this past April, but Ford was apparently their top choice. His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.

As for Robinson, he’ll be played by the relatively unknown Chadwick Boseman. The 27-year-old has appeared in television shows such as “Lincoln Heights” and NBC’s “Persons Unknown.”

The film, which is appropriated titled “42,” is being written and directed by Brian Helgeland of “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River” renown.

Shia LaBeouf will play Branch Rickey’s son who takes over the movie for no reason.

Tripon Posted: December 10, 2011 at 08:41 PM | 110 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dodgers, history, media, mets, negro leagues, special topics, television, yankees

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Media Res: Mediating Baseball

In Media Res is a weekly online publication about different roles media play in culture; they take up a different theme each week—this week is Mediating Baseball!

Mediating Baseball [October 24-28, 2011]

Monday October 24, 2011 – Elizabeth Rawitsch (University of East Anglia) presents: Melting Pot or Multiculturalism? Mediating Ethnicity in Baseball

Tuesday October 25, 2011 –  Pellom McDaniels III (University of Missouri-Kansas City) presents: “I is Unruffable”: Rereading African American Sports Performances as Unique Expressions of Dissent

Wednesday October 26, 2011 –  Annie Dell’Aria (City University of New York) presents: Tagging Fans, Tweeting Beards: Major League Baseball, social media, and the body

Thursday October 27, 2011 – Nicholas David Bowman (West Virginia University) presents: Major League Brouhaha: Boosting ratings with bad blood?

Friday October 28, 2011 – Jeremy Groskopf (Georgia State University) presents: “I Found Kong”: Naturalizing the National in Baseball Fiction

formerly dp Posted: October 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: media, negro leagues, online

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TRACER: Bill Veeck’s Satchel Paige vs Joe Dimaggio anecdote

Bill Veeck was known for telling some wonderful tales and so I decided to see if one of his tales was actually true.

Joe Dimaggio had trouble hitting Satchel Paige, partly-I suppose-because Satch made him wait. Satch once committed the ultimate insult of walking a man deliberately to get at Joe, and then getting Joe to pop out. It was DiMaggio’s temperament to be a solid professional, to show no emotion, but you knew that Joe burned inwardly at the gratuitous slap and was hurting to get back at Satch. And so Satch would fiddle around on the mound until he saw he had Joe anxious, then he’d give him the three loop-de-loop windups and have Joe ready to catch the ball in his teeth and spit it out by the time it got the plate. Page 238 Hustler’s Handbook Ivan R. Dee edition

So did Paige ever IBB walk a player to get to Joe and how did Joe do against Paige?

Paige shows up in the major leagues in 1948 and plays for Veeck’s Indians until 1949. He then shows up with Veeck’s Browns in 1951 which is also Joe’s last season. So we have three seasons in which Paige was in the AL and Dimaggio was playing.

In 1948 Paige faces the Yankees 5 times for a total of 7.2 innings. Fortunately we have PBP for all 5 of those games. So did it happen in 1948? Nope. Paige faced Dimaggio twice and got him to fly out and strike out (though Joe did reach base on that strikeout) . The strikeout was to lead off the inning and the flyout did not happen after a walk. In fact he didn’t walk anybody in that game and he only walked one Yankee and that was in a game in which he didn’t face Dimaggio.

In 1949 Paige faced the Yankees 4 times for a total of 9 and a third innings. That year, according to Retrosheet, Paige had no IBB against the Yankees but he did have 3 walks against them. So perhaps one of those was of the unintentional intentional variety. Well, in Satch’s only start against the Yankees Dimaggio did not play and that was the game in which Paige gave up his 3 walks. So we definitely know it didn’t happen this year. Joe was 0-3 against Paige this year with a pop out, fly out, and a strike out. One of the outs had Joe as the leadoff hitter of the inning while the other two outs came after a double play and a flyout.

So all we have left is 1951 and in that year Paige faces the Yankees 3 times for a total of 14 and a third innings. Unfortunately Retrosheet has only PBP for two of the three games against the Yankees that year. Paige does give up 7 walks to the Yankees this year though none of them are recorded as IBB. Perhaps some of them were since it appears Retrosheet has none of his walks recorded as IBB for that year. In Paige’s first start he gives up 5 walks but Dimaggio did not play that day. In their final matchup of the season Dimaggio faces him once and hits into a fielder’s choice. So that just leaves us with the one game in which we only have the boxscore. In that game Paige pitches 4.1 innings and gives up one walk. Unfortunately the other two Browns’ pitchers give up 4 walks so there are a ton of walks to go around. Woodling batted in front of Dimaggio and he did draw a walk. I believe Paige faced him Joe 2 times in that game. So we’ll have to go to the newspapers to find out and the newspapers reveai that Woodling was walked by Pillette in the 4th and not by Paige. Paige walked Joe Collins who subbed for Johnny Mize in the 6th spot while Joe Dimaggio was in the 4th spot. Dimaggio goes 0-2 against Paige in that game and might have struck him out once or twice.

So Joe never faced Paige during the regular season after somebody else had been walked, intentionally or otherwise. Perhaps it happened during spring training. The Yankees held their Spring Training in St. Pete’s during this era except for 1951 when they played in Phoenix. The Indians after WWII moved out to Arizona so it is unlikely that Paige and Dimaggio faced each other when Paige was an Indian. The Browns it appears held their spring training in Burbank, CA in 1951. So it doesn’t appear that his could have happened during spring training.

I’m not sure if they still had exhibition games in the late 40’s and early 50’s or if Veeck heard about some barnstorming game from the 30’s but it appears this part of the story is false.

But on the other hand Dimaggio was 0-8 against Paige so Bill Veeck was very much correct in saying Joe wasn’t very good against Paige.

McCoy Posted: September 28, 2011 at 07:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball geeks, cardinals, hall of fame, history, indians, negro leagues, orioles, yankees

 

 

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