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Monday, June 07, 2010

A great pitcher you’ve never heard of

He died in poverty in Chicago 40 years ago and lay in an unmarked grave before money was raised for a headstone.

His lead researcher credits 363 wins to him through 32 years of Negro League and semi-pro ball—and those are just the wins he’s certain of.

The researcher calls the pitcher he’s spent a decade studying “Satchel Paige 20 years before he was Satchel Paige.”

Meet John Donaldson, one of the greatest baseball players history forgot.

Graham Womack Posted: June 07, 2010 at 02:49 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 02:50 PM (#3552209)
Never saw him pitch.
   2. TomH Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:23 PM (#3552255)
my nominee for 'best pitcher you've never heard of' would be Spalding. At least, most people wouldn't first recognize him for superiority of baseball skill.

Not sure where Donaldson would rank among NegLgers, but surely most everyone who's spent time looking at them would rank Satch and Smokey Joe as the top 2, and there are at least 5 others who would have their backers.

I hear David (more known for kingship skills, fine poetry, and adultery) had a fine 'slingshot' pitch, but he had a bad rep as a head hunter.
   3. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:38 PM (#3552278)
I've heard of John Donaldson!
   4. RJ in TO Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:47 PM (#3552293)
I've heard of John Donaldson!

Show off! Also, since I've been meaning to ask this for a while, and I know it's a field of interest for you, would you be able to recommend some good books discusssing the Negro Leagues and its stars?
   5. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:48 PM (#3552294)
His HoM thread.

Donaldson was not elected to the HoM, and it looks unlikely that he will ever be.
   6. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 07, 2010 at 03:53 PM (#3552300)
Show off! Also, since I've been meaning to ask this for a while, and I know it's a field of interest for you, would you be able to recommend some good books discusssing the Negro Leagues and its stars?

I would start with the classics--Only the Ball Was White and Riley's enyclopedia. Not everything you'll read in Riley is accurate, but it's a good start. Mark Ribowski has good biographies--by good I mean non-sentimental--about Satchel and Josh Gibson, but start with Only the Ball Was White as a primer.
   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 05:25 PM (#3552428)
I've heard of John Donaldson!


Center, Dallas Mavericks?
   8. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 07, 2010 at 05:31 PM (#3552434)
I've heard of John Donaldson!

so have I
   9. Graham Womack Posted: June 07, 2010 at 06:54 PM (#3552531)
Jeter, that's actually a different John Donaldson whose career, in fact, ended four years after the John Donaldson that I wrote about died.
   10. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: June 07, 2010 at 07:00 PM (#3552535)
That footage is great, Graham. Thanks for posting it.
   11. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 07, 2010 at 07:58 PM (#3552610)
I've heard of John Davidson!
   12.  Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:02 PM (#3552616)
McCoy Posted: June 07, 2010 at 10:50 AM (#3552209)
Never saw him pitch.


We get it.
   13. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:10 PM (#3552633)
I've heard of John Davidson!


I own everything by Joy Division!
   14. wcw Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:51 PM (#3552695)
I own everything by Joy Division!

Your copy of An Ideal For Living is counterfeit!
   15. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: June 07, 2010 at 08:58 PM (#3552699)
Your copy of An Ideal For Living is counterfeit!


Well, yeah, actually it was (more accurately, it was a plain ol' bootleg that didn't go to any extreme lengths to pass itself off as the real thing). Brought a couple of dozen bucks on eBay, though.

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