1922 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM, 2nd MVP

P-Lewis Hampton, ABC

P-Jim Jeffries, ABC

P-Bill Force, DS

P-Dave Brown, CAG

P-Juan Padron, CAG

P-Bill Holland, DS

P-Slim Branham, CTS

P-Deacon Meyers, SLS

P-Andy Cooper, DS

C-Biz Mackey, ABC

C-Dan Kennard, SLS

1B-Ben Taylor, ABC

1B-Edgar Wesley, DS

2B-Frank Warfield, DS

3B-John Beckwith, CAG

SS-Dobie Moore, KCM

LF-Hurley McNair, KCM

LF-Clarence Smith, DS

CF-Oscar Charleston, ABC

CF-Charlie Blackwell, SLS

CF-Clint Thomas, DS

CF-Valentin Dreke, CSW

RF-Heavy Johnson, KCM

RF-Oscar Owens, PK

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 28 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1921

193 2/3 IP, 14-8, 2.83 ERA, 118 K, 159 ERA+, 2.91 FIP, 1.084 WHIP

241 AB, .369, 15 HR, 55 RBI, .369/.453/.600, 199 OPS+

WAR-9.0

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-4.6 (1st)

WAR Position Players-4.5 (4th)

Offensive WAR-4.3 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

Ron’s: No (Would require three more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

Kansas City Monarchs

47-31-2, 1st in NNL

Manager Sam Crawford

OPS+-120, 1st in league

ERA+-126, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Bullet Rogan, 9.0

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-9.0 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-4.6

Saves-2

Games Started-21

Complete Games-20

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.91

Adj. Pitching Runs-32 (2nd Time)

AB per HR-16.1

Putouts as P-13

2nd Time All-Star-I’m not really following baseball at the time of this writing, but I can’t help but hear about the impressive 2021 season of Shohei Otahni, who is pitching and hitting his way to a possible MVP. Well, some 100 years before that, there was another two-way player who tore up his league and it was this chunky fireplug, Bullet Rogan, who I gave my MVP for the second consecutive season. No Monarch pitcher had ever done this well before.

                Wikipedia says, “’Charleston was everything—but Rogan was more’, said William ‘Big C’ Johnson, one of Rogan’s Army teammates. ‘Rogan could do everything, everywhere.’ ‘He was the onliest pitcher I ever saw, I ever heard of in my life, was pitching and hitting in the cleanup place’, said Satchel Paige. According to Rogan’s longtime catcher Frank Duncan, ‘If you had to choose between Rogan and Paige, you’d pick Rogan, because he could hit. The pitching, you’d as soon have Satchel as Rogan, understand? But Rogan’s hitting was so terrific. Get my point?’ Casey Stengel called Rogan ‘one of the best—if not the best—pitcher that ever lived.’

                “By his third season with the Monarchs, 1922, he hit .390, and his 13 home runs were good for second in the league.”

                Did the Monarchs win the Negro National League crown? It’s tough to say due to the way games played were counted at this time. Kansas City and Indianapolis apparently were co-winners of the NNL crown, but the Chicago American Giants had the highest winning percentage. Baseball Reference gives it to the Giants.

P-Lewis Hampton, Indianapolis ABCs, 21 Years Old

159 IP, 12-6, 2.49 ERA, 46 K, 181 ERA+, 3.42 FIP, 1.107 WHIP

133 AB, .361, 7 HR, 35 RBI, .361/.401/.624, 175 OPS+

WAR-6.2

Wins Above Replacement-6.2 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-4.2 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 23 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

1922 NNL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.49

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.113

Adjusted ERA+-181

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.0

1st Time All-Star-Lewis Hampton was born in 1901, but Baseball Reference doesn’t know where or on what date. It also doesn’t list the day he died. What we do know is he had a terrific 1922 season as, just like Bullet Rogan, he produced from the mound and from the plate. His hitting gave him the edge over his teammate, Jim Jeffries, who pitched so well for the ABCs in 1921. Hampton is going to make this list at least one more time, but this season was the pinnacle of his career.

                There isn’t honestly a lot about Hampton in my admittedly very quick research. So here’s some information from Wikipedia on the Indianapolis ABCs. “The Indianapolis ABCs were a Negro league baseball team that played both as an independent club and as a charter member of the first Negro National League (NNL). They claimed the western championship of black baseball in 1915 and 1916, and finished second in the 1922 NNL. Among their best players were Baseball Hall of Fame members Oscar CharlestonBiz Mackey, and Ben Taylor.

                “During the off season in 1922, C. I. Taylor died and his widow Olivia continued as the club’s owner, and Ben Taylor became the playing manager. He reacquired Charleston, who led a rejuvenated ABCs squad to a 46–33 record and second-place finish. The young catcher Biz Mackey enjoyed a breakout season in 1922, and with Taylor, Charleston, and third baseman Henry Blackman keyed a prolific offense.” It’s funny, Hampton’s great season isn’t mentioned.

P-Jim Jeffries, Indianapolis ABCs, 29 Years Old

1921

208 2/3 IP, 21-12, 3.54 ERA, 88 K, 128 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, 1.256 WHIP

92 AB, .185, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .185/.235/.196, 18 OPS+

WAR-4.3

Wins Above Replacement-4.3 (7th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.4 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 32 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Wins-21

Games Played-38 (2nd Time)

Saves-2 (3rd Time)

Innings Pitched-208 2/3 (2nd Time)

Games Started-21 (2nd Time)

Losses-12

Wild Pitches-7

Batters Faced-891

Def. Games as P-38 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Jeffries had his second consecutive good workhorse season, but all of those innings pitched seemed to affect him as he’d peter out after this 1922 season. He’ll pitch four more seasons and 18 more games, but he’ll never garner another win. In those latter seasons, he’d go 0-9 with a 6.08 ERA. No one would have predicted that from these last two dominant seasons for the ABCs, but the end of a career can come quickly.

                Gordon Gattle of SABR writes about a game by Jeffries on May 9, 1921. He says, “The Monday afternoon matchup featured Columbus’ Britt against Indianapolis left-hander Jeffries. Jeffries was eager for a starting assignment, and Britt wanted continued success against the ABCs.

                “Jeffries limited Columbus to three hits and one walk, and ‘looked about as good as anybody the [ABCs] have in the boxwhile Ewing issued 10 walks and was hit hard when the ball crossed the strike zone.”

                I’ll conclude with this from Gary Ashwill of Agate Type: “1) There’s been a lot of talk (in the comments here and elsewhere) about Jim Jeffries, the A.B.C.s southpaw who won 21 games against Negro league opposition in 1921.  I’ve already talked about his birthplace (Louisville, Kentucky) over at Seamheads.  As part of the new update to the DB, I’ve also been able to establish his time and place of death.  He passed away in Pulaski, Tennessee, on November 28, 1938, his death record still listing his profession as ‘Baseball Player.’” Jeffries didn’t have a great career, but for two years, was almost unstoppable.

P-Bill Force, Detroit Stars, 26 Years Old

176 1/3, 11-6, 3.83 ERA, 120 K, 118 ERA+, 3.99 FIP, 1.134 WHIP

73 AB, .274, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .274/.369/.493, 132 OPS+

WAR-4.2

Wins Above Replacement-4.2 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.2 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Detroit Stars

42-31-1, 4th in NNL

Manager Bruce Petway

OPS+-101, 4th in league

ERA+-118, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Bill Force, 4.2

Led in:

Hits per 9 IP-7.656

Strikeouts per 9 IP-6.125

Strikeouts-120

Home Runs Allowed-16

Hit By Pitch-10

1st Time All-Star-William “Bill” Force was born on July 17, 1895 in Walker County, Georgia. The five-foot-nine, 165 righty pitcher and rightfielder started with Detroit in 1921 and did pretty well before having his best season ever in 1922. He was also Detroit’s best player per Wins Above Replacement. This was also the best season as a pitcher by anyone on the Stars in their short history. However, he’d never get close to a season like this again.

                There’s not much I could find on Force, but I’ll put this blurb from Wikipedia that says, “William ‘Buddie’ Force (July 17, 1895 – April 2, 1969) was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball‘s Negro leagues. He played for the Detroit Stars (1921–1923), Baltimore Black Sox (1924–1929), and Brooklyn Royal Giants (1930) and compiled a career record of 60–52 with a 4.21 earned run average and 506 strikeouts in 1,044-1/3 innings pitched. He pitched a no-hitter against St. Louis on June 27, 1922. Force was born in Walker County, Georgia, in 1895. He died in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1969 at age 73.”

                As for Detroit, it started in third place in 1920 when it was skippered by Pete Hill. He also managed the Stars in 1921 when they dropped to fifth place. This year, Bruce Petway, the Stars’ 36-year-old catcher, took over the team and they rose to fourth. It certainly had no lack of stars, no pun intended (or maybe it was), as seven Detroit players are going to make my list including three pitchers.

P-Dave Brown, Chicago American Giants, 25 Years Old

1920 1921

155 IP, 13-3, 2.90 ERA, 103 K, 156 ERA+, 3.25 FIP, 1.232 WHIP

52 AB, .058, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .058/.197/.077, -24 OPS+

WAR-4.1

Wins Above Replacement-4.1 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.4 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Chicago American Giants

37-24-1, 3rd in NNL

Manager Rube Foster

OPS+-79, 7th in league

ERA+-133, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Dave Brown, 4.1

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.813 (2nd Time)

Hit By Pitch-10 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-For the third consecutive year, Brown was Chicago’s best pitcher. One thing this man didn’t add to the mix was hitting which made him different from most of the other star pitchers on this list. That’s why he was 10th in Wins Above Replacement but third in WAR for Pitchers. Brown isn’t going to have a long career, but these three initial dominant seasons helped guide Chicago to three straight Negro National League titles.

                Wikipedia says, “He had a good curveball and excellent control. He was also a good fielder and had outstanding speed, but was a weak hitter. Brown played with the Dallas Black Giants in 1917 and 1918. He was regarded as a ‘timid nice guy’ who did not cause trouble, but during his time with the Dallas Black Giants he was involved in a highway robbery. Although Brown was reported to have become a fugitive, Rube Foster agreed to pay $20,000 for Brown’s parole and he became a member of Foster’s Chicago American Giants.

                “Brown became the ace of the American Giants as they dominated negro league baseball in the early 1920s. From 1920 through 1922, he posted a 29-8 record in league games. His 11–3 record led them to a pennant win in 1921 including three victories in a playoff with the Bacharach Giants. His 8–3 record contributed to another pennant in 1922. In the winter following the 1922 season, Brown joined Oscar Charleston for the first season of the Cuban League‘s Santa Clara Leopardos.”

P-Juan Padron, Chicago American Giants, 29 Years Old

171 IP, 10-9, 2.74 ERA, 82 K, 165 ERA+, 3.27 FIP, 1.094 WHIP

62 AB, .161, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .161/.212/.390, 6 OPS+

WAR-4.0

WAR for Pitchers-4.2

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 19 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Shutouts-4

1st Time All-Star-Juan Padron was born on October 20, 1892 in Key West, Florida. The six-foot, 185 pound lefty pitcher started his Major League career this season and just added to the already star-packed American Giants. Padron is going to have a short five-season career and I thought that would be because of some tragedy. That’snot the case with Padron as he is going to live to 89 years old.

                Eric of The Hall of Miller and Eric writes of Padron, “The tall righty (6’0″, 185) complemented a good fastball with good breaking stuff and a dominant changeup. There’s always been a little mystery around him. Twenty years ago James Riley shown him born in ‘Cuba’ with no death date and with no death date but a note that said he’d been reported dead at age 39. Now the Negro Leagues Database reports Padrón’s birth as 1892 in Key West, with a death in 1981 in Grand Rapids at age 89. Big differences.

                “In fact, Riley also indicates that Padrón debuted in 1909 and pitched in Cuba during the winters of 1909 to 1919. He also says that Padrón could hit. It appears that neither of those three things are true. As the amazing Gary Ashwill points out, Riley somehow conflated the record of Juan Padrón and portions of the record of Luis Padrón.

                “No difference of opinion exists in one key place: Juan Padrón was an outstanding pitcher. He’s one of the best pitchers I hadn’t heard of before starting this project. Unfortunately, his W-L record doesn’t reflect that excellence because he played with some iffy teams.”

P-Bill Holland, Detroit Stars, 21 Years Old

1920 1921

191 1/3 IP, 13-12, 3.01 ERA, 115 K, 150 ERA+, 3.19 FIP, 1.077 WHIP

64 AB, .125, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .125/.176/.125, -17 OPS+

WAR-3.5

WAR for Pitchers-3.9 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Walks & Hits per IP-1.077

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.646

Games Started-21

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.286

Losses-12

3rd Time All-Star-Having now made three of my lists at the age of 21, it sure looks like Holland is going to be one of the all-time greats. Well, he would be good, but just never be able to break the threshold to that next level. Still, I don’t think Detroit was complaining about him here in the early Twenties. Holland’s fiery nature allowed him to keep winning and he was the Stars’ best pitcher for these three seasons. He wouldn’t be back with them in 1923.

                The NLBPA has different stats than Baseball Reference. It says, “The 5’8″ 175-lb Holland joined his first pro team, the Detroit Stars, in 1920. In 1922 he led the league with 16 wins. Hall of Famer Cool Papa Bell ranked Holland with Satchel Paige, Smokey Joe Williams, and Bullet Joe Rogan as the best pitchers in the Negro Leagues. Though he relied mainly on the fastball, he also expertly mixed in a curve, a drop, a changeup, and an occasional emery ball.”

                Wikipedia says, “Bill Holland, a right-hander from Indianapolis, pitched 23 seasons in the Negro leagues. For the Stars in 1922, he appeared in 29 games (21 as a starter) and compiled a 13-12 record with a 3.01 ERA and 115 strikeouts. Holland’s 3.01 ERA ranked fifth best in the Negro National League during the 1922 season.

                “The Stars played their home games at Mack Park located on the east side of Detroit, about four miles from downtown, at the southeast corner of Fairview Ave. and Mack Ave. The team was owned by Tenny Blount and led on the field by catcher-manager Bruce Petway.”

P-Slim Branham, Cleveland Tate Stars, 22 Years Old

169 2/3 IP, 8-10, 4.19 ERA, 91 K, 108 ERA+, 3.63 FIP, 1.420 WHIP

62 AB, .210, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .210/.234/.274, 38 OPS+

WAR-3.3

WAR for Pitchers-3.2 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 136 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cleveland Tate Stars

15-26-1, 7th in NNL

Manager Candy Jim Taylor

OPS+-85, 6th in league

ERA+-90, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Slim Branham, 3.3

Led in:

Assists as P-71

Errors Committed as P-5

1st Time All-Star-Finis Ernest “Slim” Branham was born on April 7, 1900 in Castalian Springs, Tennessee. The six-foot-two, 198 pound righty pitcher started with the Dayton Marcoses in 1920 and in 44 innings had a sterling 1.84 ERA. Yet when the Marcoses folded after that season, no Negro National League team picked up Slim for the 1921 campaign. This year, the Cleveland Tate Stars, a team that would last just this one season, gave him a shot and he proved himself valuable.

                Before I started writing about the Negro Leagues two seconds ago, I had never heard of Gary Ashwill, the famed historian. I should just save time and put the link to Agate Type and let you peruse all that he’s written about all of these players. I do suggest you read the rather lengthy article he has about Slim Branham and the search for his real name. Here’s just a bit:

                “2) Finest Ernest Branham signed his name ‘Finest’ on his draft card; yet it appears as ‘Finis’ in Social Security records.  His nephew, who would appear to have been named after him, appears in all the records as ‘Finis.’  He only passed away two years ago; it’s too bad no one got the chance to ask him about it.  But then, there may be other relatives around who know something about their family’s baseball connection.  (At least we probably know how ‘Finis’ was pronounced, though.)”

                Baseball Reference has Slim Branham as pitching for six seasons for various teams and dying at the age of January  19, 1957 in Cleveland. Ashwill’s research is a reminder that no Negro League stats, whether it’s performance on the field or even names and dates, are written in stone.

P-Deacon Meyers, St. Louis Stars, 22 Years Old

154 2/3 IP, 12-5, 3.67 ERA, 88 K, 123 ERA+, 3.53 FIP, 1.293 WHIP

54 AB, .222, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .222/.323/.278, 64 OPS+

WAR-3.3

WAR for Pitchers-2.9 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 96 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

St. Louis Stars

26-36, 5th in NNL

Manager Bill Gatewood

OPS+-104, 3rd in league

ERA+-78, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Charlie Blackwell, 3.5

1st Time All-Star-George Allen “Deacon” Meyers was born on October 9, 1899 in Columbia, Tennessee. The five-foot-11, 160 pound righty pitcher and first baseman started with St. Louis in 1921 and didn’t do too well in his 42 2/3 innings. This year he shined in what is easily his best season ever. It would be the only year his ERA was under four and he would garner almost half of his career 25 wins here in 1922 due to his 12-5 record.

                There’s not a lot on Meyers in my very quick research, so here’s a bit on the St. Louis Stars from Wikipedia: “The Stars inherited almost the entire roster of the 1921 Giants (who had finished in second place), with the exception of Hall of Fame center fielder Oscar Charleston. Without Charleston, the Stars dropped to fourth place in 1922, though with a creditable 35–26 record. In 1923, they slipped badly, finishing with 28 wins and 44 losses, good for only sixth place. Midway through the year, they acquired several players from the Toledo Tigers when that team folded, including new manager Candy Jim Taylor. A 37-year-old third baseman, Taylor tied for the 1923 league lead with 20 home runs (19 hit while with St. Louis).

                “More importantly, over the next few years, Taylor put together one of the most impressive assemblages of talent in Negro league history, including Cool Papa Bell, whom Taylor converted from a left-handed pitcher into a brilliant defensive center fielder and leadoff man; Mule Suttles, first baseman and all-time Negro league home run king; Willie Wells, considered by many historians to be John Henry Lloyd‘s only serious rival as greatest shortstop in Negro league history; and Ted Trent, pitcher and wielder of one of the most effective curveballs in the league.”

                Meyers died on July 15, 1978 in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 78.

P-Andy Cooper, Detroit Stars, 24 Years Old

165 1/3 IP, 12-5, 3.70 ERA, 82 K, 122 ERA+, 3.96 FIP, 1.185 WHIP

61 AB, .148, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .148/.175/.213, 5 OPS+

WAR-3.1

WAR for Pitchers-3.3 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 64 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led In:

Games Started-21

Shutouts-4

1st Time All-Star-Andrew Lewis “Andy” or “Lefty” Cooper was born on April 24, 1898 in Waco, Texas. The six-foot-two, 220 pound righty hitting, lefty pitching hurler started with the Stars in 1920, but really put it together this season on his way to a Hall of Fame career. He most likely won’t make my Hall of Fame which is based only on the recorded numbers, but perusing his stats, I think he’s a great choice for Cooperstown.

                Cooper’s Hall of Fame page says, “According to a scouting report prepared by famed Negro Leagues player and manager Buck O’Neil, Cooper had a live arm with a total command of all of his pitches, which included a running fastball, tight curveball and biting screwball.

                “’Andy never possessed the fine assortment of curves held in the supple arms of other pitchers. However, he did have what so many pitchers lack – sterling control,’ wrote Russ J. Cowans in 1941 in The Chicago Defender, one of the top African-American newspapers of the day. ‘Cooper could almost put the ball any place he wanted it to go.’

                “’In addition, Cooper had a keen knowledge of batters. He knew the weakness of every batter in the league and would pitch to that weakness when he was on the mound.’”

                I’ll have more on this later, but as good as Cooper’s stats are, there was a seven-year stretch he didn’t pitch in the Majors from 1930-to-1937. If those years were included, he would almost certainly have made my Hall of Fame.

C-Biz Mackey, Indianapolis ABCs, 24 Years Old

1921

328 AB, .369, 8 HR, 83 RBI, .369/.423/.595, 174 OPS+

WAR-4.4

Wins Above Replacement-4.4 (6th)

WAR Position Players-4.4 (5th)

Offensive WAR-4.1 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-Biz is one of my favorite nicknames in baseball. It was given to him because he gave batters “the business” from his catcher position. Of course, when you can hit like this man, they have to find a place for you when you’re resting from catching and Mackey played every position this season. Did he give people “the business” at his 18 games at short, too? Who knows!

                Here’s some information from Mackey’s Hall of Fame page. It says, “Though somewhat overshadowed by such legendary names as Josh Gibson and Roy Campanella, when the Negro League’s top catchers are discussed, Biz Mackey is among those considered the greatest of his era.

                “’Actually, as much as I admired Campanella as a catcher, all-around, and Gibson as a hitter,’ said Hall of Famer Cool Papa Bell, ‘I believe Biz Mackey was the best catcher I ever saw.’

                “In fact, a 1954 Pittsburgh Courier poll saw Mackey edge Gibson as the greatest Negro league catcher.”

                I’m not going to pick 1922 as Mackey’s best season ever, but it was his highest ever in WAR in his long career. It’s because he played in 90 games in which stats were recorded, the second most in his career. For the rest of his career, he’s only going to be over 70 games one more time.

C-Dan Kennard, St. Louis Stars, 38 Years Old

1920 1921

155 AB, .329, 4 HR, 31 RBI, .329/.385/.574, 157 OPS+

WAR-1.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 67 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-Though the Stars are in St. Louis like the Giants of previous seasons and Baseball Reference counts them as the same team, it’s technically a new squad. Charles A. Mills was the owner of this team since 1906 but after the 1921 season, he gave them up and most of the roster went from the Giants to the Stars, including Kennard. Some of this is recorded in Kennard’s 1921 write-up. The aged catcher has now made my list three straight times despite being 38.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type has a bit to say about Kennard, writing, “The second player to hit three home runs in a blackball game is truly overlooked: another catcher, a guy named Dan Kennard.  He basically has no reputation at all among Negro league historians.  He spent most of what were presumably his best years playing ball in the deep South, and didn’t make his way into big-time professional black baseball until he was 29.  The Seamheads DB has only 255 games for him, in which he hit .301/.368/.453—but, when adjusted, that actually adds up to an OPS+ of 142.  Also consider that nearly 2/3 of those games are from age 36 or later.

                “Kennard became the second player, after Santop, to hit three home runs in a blackball game, a feat he accomplished on May 4, 1913, in the uniform of the French Lick Plutos, at Northwestern Park in Indianapolis.”

                It would be interesting to know what kind of Major League career Kennard would have had if he wasn’t already 36 when the Negro National League started.

1B-Ben Taylor, Indianapolis ABCs, 33 Years Old

1920 1921

365 AB, .373, 2 HR, 70 RBI, .373/.420/.515, 153 OPS+

2 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K, 3.15 FIP, 0.500 WHIP

WAR-3.9

WAR Position Players-3.7 (7th)

Offensive WAR-3.2 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Indianapolis ABCs

50-34-1, 1st in NNL

Manager Ben Taylor

OPS+-106, 2nd in league

ERA+-112, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Charleston, 6.4

Led in:

Doubles-34 (2nd Time)

Singles-94 (2nd Time)

Putouts-939 (3rd Time)

Def. Games as 1B-90 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 1B-938 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-53 (3rd Time)

Fielding % as 1B-.987 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Ben Taylor took over the managing reins from C.I. Taylor before the 1922 season and guided Indianapolis to the league crown…maybe. In the standings, Kansas City and Indy are tied for first:

1Kansas City Monarchs47312.6036.04.81.3
2Indianapolis ABCs50341.5956.14.71.4
3Chicago American Giants37241.6071.53.05.24.60.6
4Detroit Stars42311.5752.56.05.84.81.0
5St. Louis Stars26360.41913.048.06.16.9-0.8
6Pittsburgh Keystones14242.36813.048.05.57.1-1.7
7Cleveland Tate Stars15261.36613.551.04.65.9-1.3
8Cuban Stars West18430.29520.5100.04.87.1-2.3

                But Baseball Reference says the Chicago American Giants won the pennant, most likely because it had the highest winning percentage. That’s a good situation to have because if you’re a baseball fan from KC, Indianapolis, or Chi-town, you can claim your city as a winner.

                Wikipedia wraps up Taylor’s life, saying, “After retiring, Taylor was an active businessman, operating a poolroom and acquiring the rights to print and sell game programs at Baltimore Elite Giants games. In a 1949 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin article, Oscar Charleston selected Ben Taylor as his first baseman on his all-time All-Star team. In 1952, as the Negro league’s decline was in rapid motion, the Pittsburgh Courier polled its readers to name the greatest players of the Negro leagues. They eventually named 5 teams plus honorable mentions. Among those honored, Taylor was awarded 2nd team, first base.

                “He died at age 64 in Baltimore, Maryland.”        

1B-Edgar Wesley, Detroit Stars, 31 Years Old

307 AB, .349, 9 HR, 68 RBI, .349/.412/.541, 157 OPS+

WAR-3.4

WAR Position Players-3.4 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.8 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Edgar Wooded Wesley was born 75 years before my brother, Rob, on May 2, 1891 in Waco, Texas. The five-foot-11, 215 pound lefty first baseman is the answer to a trivia question as the Negro National League’s first home run leader. He belted 11 of them in 1920 for the Stars, three ahead of his teammate, Jimmie Lyons. In 1921, he hit nine, finishing sixth in the league, and then this year, hit nine again, but it was good enough for fourth in the NNL.

                Lee Panas of Detroit Tiger Tales has this to say about Wesley, “Edgar Wesley was a big left-handed slugger and strong defensive first baseman and was considered the best all around player at his position in the early years of the Negro National League.  He was also known to be an aggressive base runner.  Indianapolis catcher Larry Brown recalled Wesley barreling into home plate so hard that he cut his chest protector: ‘My mask went one direction, my glove went the other and the ball went up to the stands’ (Richard Bak, Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars).”

                Panas also mentions something I didn’t realize before and that’s that it was Major League Baseball who made the decision to recognize seven different Negro Leagues as major leagues. He says, “Historians have long considered baseball played in these leagues as comparable in quality to the White major leagues.  It is about time that they these leagues get their due recognition.” So Detroit Tiger Tales did what I’m doing and went back to retroactively write up all of these great players.

2B-Frank Warfield, Detroit Stars, 23 Years Old

1921

324 AB, .318, 0 HR, 32 RBI, .318/.369/.380, 103 OPS+

WAR-2.2

Defensive WAR-0.9 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Errors Committed as 2B-23

2nd Time All-Star-There weren’t a lot of great second basemen in the Negro National League at this time and I certainly wouldn’t give Warfield the title of “great,” but he is the best the NNL has to offer and so, for the second consecutive year, he made my list. At best, he’s an average hitter, but his fielding continued to be his strength and he constantly makes the top 10 in Baseball Reference’s Defensive WAR. I have no idea how many more times that glove will put Warfield on this list.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz of the Center for Negro League Baseball Reference wrote Forgotten Heroes: Frank Warfield which says, “During his career as a player he was primarily known for his defensive skills and base running abilities. Frank Warfield started his career as an outfielder and shortstop but transitioned to second base during the 1917 season. Defensively, he was considered the best second baseman in the East during the 1920’s. The double play combinations he formed with John Henry ‘Pop’ Lloyd and Dick Lundy are considered two of the best in Negro League baseball history. He was an exceptional fielder with outstanding range, good hands and he had a strong accurate throwing arm. He also possessed a unique underhand snap throw that enhanced his ability to turn the double play. Warfield’s versatility also enabled him to play third base at different times in his career. Baseball researcher Bill James in his book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract called Frank Warfield ‘a complete defensive wizard.’”

3B-John Beckwith, Chicago American Giants, 22 Years Old

1920

226 AB, .358, 7 HR, 52 RBI, .358/.415/.588, 170 OPS+

WAR-3.7

WAR Position Players-3.7 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.9 (9th)

Defensive WAR-0.9 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 13 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Errors Committed as 3B-18

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-3.43

Range Factor/Game as 3B-3.34

2nd Time All-Star-I need to avoid being confused by two teams that existed in the 1920 and ’21 seasons. They were both from Chicago and one was named the American Giants and the other was just called the Giants. Beckwith was the third baseman for the Giants in 1920 and 1921 and then that team went defunct. So with no team, he didn’t leave town. Instead, he just ended up on the Chicago American Giants this season and made my list for the second time in three years. Like that squad needed any more talent!

                Wikipedia mentions his power, saying, “Standing 6-foot-3, and weighing upwards of 220 pounds, John Beckwith was one of the mightiest sluggers to ever take the field. Over a 16-year career (1918-34), the big righty, swinging his signature 38-inch bat, routinely batted over .400 against official Negro league competition.

                “A dead-pull hitter, Beckwith had one of the quickest bats around. In fact, opposing defenses sometimes employed an over-shift on the infield—a rare occurrence versus a righty. In 1921, the 19-year-old became the first basher to hit a ball over the laundry roof behind Crosley Field. Years later, he hit a 460-foot blast in Griffith Stadium; the ball would’ve gone farther had it not been stopped by a 40-foot high sign.”

                Because the NNL seasons are shorter and the stats incomplete, it’s hard to appreciate the power of Beckwith by just looking at numbers. Of course, to me it’s strange he had this reputation for power and yet never led any league in homers and only once led a league in AB per HR.

SS-Dobie Moore, Kansas City Monarchs, 26 Years Old

1920 1921

329 AB, .386, 7 HR, 63 RBI, .386/.414/.541, 158 OPS+

WAR-5.0

Wins Above Replacement-5.0 (4th)

WAR Position Players-5.0 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-3.7 (6th)

Defensive WAR-1.5 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons, Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Defensive WAR-1.5 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-187

Assists as SS-255

Double Plays Turned as SS-29

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.85 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.74 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If it wasn’t for being on the same team as the Negro National League’s best player, Bullet Rogan, Moore might have garnered more fame. Not that he didn’t have some already as the NNL’s best shortstop for the third consecutive season. He’s not done making lists yet and is only going to be held back from making my Hall of Fame by a shortened career. We’ll save that for a write-up down the road.

                John B. Holway of SABR writes, “Like Roberto Clemente and Yogi Berra, Moore was a notorious bad-ball hitter. ‘There were no bad pitches for him,’ says Monarch second baseman Newt ‘Colt’ Allen. All the Monarchs learned to hit bad balls, Allen says, because when they barnstormed the prairie towns, the hometown umpires would call practically everything a strike. Moore used a long bat, and he’d swing overhand, bat down on the high pitches, Allen says. ‘I’d let them go, but he’d knock them two blocks. And a ball below his knees and outside was just right for him. The only way to get him out was to throw the ball right down the middle. Don’t pitch outside or inside.’

                “In the field, Moore could go deep in the hole, knock the ball down, and still get his man. What of Moore and Allen as a double play combination?

                “’Wonderful,’ says Duncan. ‘Couldn’t ask for anything better. When you see Newt Allen and Moore, you could take Charlie Gehringer, Frankie Frisch, and any of that bunch. Brother, you’re talking about a combination!’”

LF-Hurley McNair, Kansas City Monarchs, 33 Years Old

1920 1921

318 AB, .374, 8 HR, 69 RBI, .374/.466/.553, 176 OPS+

18 IP, 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 9 K, 102 ERA+, 3.87 FIP, 1.278 WHIP

WAR-4.9

Wins Above Replacement-4.9 (5th)

WAR Position Players-4.7 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-3.9 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

On-Base %-.466

Bases on Balls-50

Def. Games as LF-78 (3rd Time)

Putouts as LF-118 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as LF-12

Double Plays Turned as LF-2

Errors Committed as OF-13

3rd Time All-Star-McNair is one of seven players to have made my list all three seasons of the Negro National League’s existence (thus far) and he had his best season ever in 1922. All three of his slash stats – batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage – were career highs. You can see those numbers above. It’s very rare, though not impossible, that a player has his best years when he’s 33, but McNair had been a good player for a long time, even if not in the so-called Major Leagues.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luiz Munoz of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research wrote a paper called Forgotten Heroes: Hurley McNairand said, “The 1922 Kansas City Monarchs starting line-up featured an extremely productive group of hitters. Six Kansas City starters batted over .345 for the season. The Monarchs were led by the hitting of Bullet Rogan (.395 w/14 homeruns), Oscar ‘Heavy’ Johnson (.390 w/ 13 homeruns), Walter ‘Dobie Moore’ (.381 w/ 69 RBIs), Hurley McNair (.374 w/ 69 RBIs), Bartolo Portuondo (.349), Branch Russell (.345) and John Donaldson (.297).

                “Hurley McNair also led the Negro National League in on base percentage for the 1922 Negro National League season with a .511 OBP.

                “Negro League researcher, John Holway credits Hurley McNair with a .420 batting average when both ‘league’ and ‘non-league’ games are added together.”

                I’ll keep mentioning there are no official stats at this time and the numbers vary all over the place. Sometimes the stats contain non-league games and sometimes they don’t.

LF-Clarence Smith, Detroit Stars, Age unknown

310 AB, .345, 6 HR, 73 RBI, .345/.389/.529, 147 OPS+

WAR-3.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 26 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Clarence Smith was born sometime, somewhere, but those items are not known and recorded by Baseball Reference. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty outfielder and first baseman started his Negro National League career with the Columbus Buckeyes in 1921 and had an average season. After that team went defunct after its one season of existence, Smith came to the Stars and started hitting pretty well.

                Most of the time that information is hard to find for Negro League players, it’s because they had a short career, coming and going quickly, but Smith was around quite a while, playing 10 years for the Stars and others. It doesn’t look like Gary Ashwill of Seamheads even has that information. You can even see above there’s not a good picture of Smith.

                That is the nature of the Negro Leagues, though. They were a Major League treated as a minor league that didn’t have the organization of the National and American Leagues. The players were just as good, if not better, but the infrastructure wasn’t as, well, structured. This isn’t a rip on the Negro Leagues. In a perfect world the Negro Leagues shouldn’t have existed because there shouldn’t have been segregation. The ones missing out are the players whose careers can’t be as thoroughly examined as those in the white Major Leagues. However, what we can see are some remarkable players praised by blacks and whites alike. It would have been interesting to see how these players lined up against the likes of Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby.

CF-Oscar CharlestonIndianapolis ABCs, 25 Years Old

1920 1921

401 AB, .374, 19 HR, 102 RBI, .374/.433/.668, 195 OPS+

WAR-6.4

Wins Above Replacement-6.4 (2nd)

WAR Position Players-6.4 (1st)

Offensive WAR-5.7 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1976)

Ron’s: Yes (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

Team Stats

Led in:

WAR Position Players-6.4 (3rd Time)

Offensive WAR-5.7 (3rd Time)

Games Played-101

At Bats-401

Runs Scored-105 (3rd Time)

Hits-150 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-268 (2nd Time)

Triples-18 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-19 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-102 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-116 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-51 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.8 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-62 (3rd Time)

Times On Base-192 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-20.0 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as CF-91 (2nd Time)

Putouts as CF-215 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-215 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Every time I write about Charleston, I’m just amazed how good this player was. After playing for the ABCs in 1920, he played for the St. Louis Giants in 1921, but when that team was sold and became the St. Louis Stars, Charleston came back to the ABCs. He had his usual great season. Surprisingly, despite being arguably the best player in the Negro National League these first three seasons of its existence, I have yet to award him an MVP.

                Tim Odzer of SABR writes, “In 1922, thanks to St. Louis’s financial difficulties, Charleston once again returned to the ABCs. C.I. Taylor had died between the 1921 and the 1922 seasons, and ownership of the ABCs transferred to his wife, Olivia. (Charleston later spoke very positively of Taylor, crediting him with teaching him how to manage a team.) In 1922 the ABCs were led by three outstanding hitters — Biz Mackey, Ben Taylor, and Charleston. In the league’s opening doubleheader, Charleston went 6-for-8 with a home run and a double. That set the tone for his season: Of the 98 games for which box scores exist, Charleston failed to get a hit in only 16. Bill James has rated Charleston as the best player in the Negro Leagues for the 1921 and 1922 seasons.

                “After the 1922 season, Charleston married for the second time. The bride was a 27-year-old schoolteacher named Jane Howard. It was also Jane’s second marriage; her first husband had died in 1918. She often traveled with Charleston to Cuba during the winter, and several photos of them in Cuba appear in Charleston’s scrapbook. In fact, Charleston and Jane traveled to Cuba for their honeymoon, where Charleston played in the 1922-23 Cuban winter league. He and Jane had a rocky marriage, it seems, in part because Jane did not like baseball.”

CF-Charlie Blackwell, St. Louis Stars, 27 Years Old

1921

238 AB, .361, 5 HR, 55 RBI, .361/.451/.550, 171 OPS+

WAR-3.5

WAR Position Players-3.5 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.9 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-When the St. Louis Giants were sold and became the Stars, the team was able to keep most of its previous roster, including Blackwell. He was St. Louie’s best player, though he slumped from the year before. Of course, when a player hits .405 with an OPS+ of 222 as Blackwell did in 1921, there’s not much room for improvement and a year hitting .361 with an OPS+ of 171 is definitely not to be scoffed at.

                Baseball Reference says, “Blackwell hit .361/.451/.550 with 52 runs, 55 RBI, 38 walks and 14 steals in 64 games for the St. Louis Stars in 1922, with a 186 OPS+. He tied for fifth in the NNL in triples (8, even with Clarence Smith), tied for 10th with RBI (with Rogan), tied for 7th in steals (with Lemuel Hawkins), was 4th in walks, placed 9th in average (between Mackey and [[John Beckwith]), was third in OBP (behind McNair and Rogan) and ranked 6th in OPS+. In the winter of 1922-1923, he was the fourth outfielder for Habana, behind Torriente, Jack Calvo and Marcelino Guerra. He hit .321 and slugged .423.

                Dr. Layton Revel of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research writes in Forgotten Heroes: Charlie Blackwell, “Charles Henry Blackwell passed away on April 22, 1935 in the Hines Government Hospital in Chicago. Blackwell had been residing in Proviso Township, Cook County, IL. before his illness struck him three months prior to his death. Charles was only 40 years old.”

                I can’t find what kind of illness he had.

CF-Clint Thomas, Detroit Stars, 25 Years Old

312 AB, .321, 7 HR, 67 RBI, .321/.367/.513, 137 OPS+

WAR-2.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 18 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Clinton Cyrus “Clint” Thomas was born on November 25, 1896 in Greenup, Kentucky. The five-foot-nine, 186 pound righty outfielder and second baseman started with the Columbus Buckeyes in 1921, leading the Negro National League in triples with 18 and showing significant speed. Once Columbus folded, Thomas came to Detroit and continued to show some of those skills that will put him on a few of my lists.

                Gary Joseph Cieradkowski writes, “Fortunately for Thomas, the newly formed Negro National League put a franchise in Columbus called the Buckeyes. His teammate from the Royal Giants, John Henry Lloyd, was the new team’s manager, and Thomas played the 1921 season hitting just shy of .300. Still, all the pieces weren’t right for Thomas. Because of his speed he was always shifted between second and third base, but never felt comfortable at either position and had trouble turning the double play. Then the Buckeye’s folded and Thomas was cut loose.

                “His contract was acquired by the Detroit Stars for 1922. He was still floundering at second base when fate stepped in. Regular center fielder Jessie Barber got injured, and when the right fielder was switched to center, Thomas took his place. It was a stroke of genius. In his first game as an outfielder, the fleet footed Kentuckian snatched up anything that came near him, including balls meant for the center fielder. The next game he was switched to center and a Negro League legend was born. More comfortable in his new position, Thomas loosened up and finished 1922 as the Star’s best hitter. The following year Hilldale, an eastern powerhouse club located just outside Philadelphia, poached Thomas away.”

CF-Valentin Dreke, Cuban Stars West, 24 Years Old

230 AB, .296, 1 HR, 26 RBI, .296/.372/.383, 105 OPS+

WAR-1.5

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 26 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

18-43, 8th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-69, 8th in league

ERA+-74, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Valentin Dreke, 1.5

Led in:

Hit By Pitch-7

Errors Committed as CF-9

Double Plays Turned as CF-5

Double Plays Turned as OF-5

Range Factor/9 Inn as CF-3.01

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.81

1st Time All-Star-Valentin Dreke was born on June 21, 1898 in Union de Reyes, Cuba. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing outfielder started his Major League career with the Cuban Stars West in 1920. In 1921, the team was called the Cincinnati Cuban Stars before going back to being the Cuban Stars West this season. Whatever they were called, they were pretty bad this year, but at least fans got to watch Dreke flagging down flies in center.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes about the 1922/23 Cuban League, “Of the three remaining teams, Almendares could boast of outfielders  Bernardo Baró (.403/.452/.544) and Valentín Dreke (.324), manager-shortstop Joseíto Rodríguez (.316), and minor league southpaw Eddie LePard (7-5, 2.17), but Habana would probably have been considered the favorite.  Los Leones featured both the best everyday player in Cuban baseball at the time, Cristóbal Torriente (.344/.435/.515) and the best Cuban pitcher (and perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, period), Dolf Luque.  In 1923, Luque would go 27-8 with a 1.93 ERA for the Cincinnati Reds.  In the 1922/23 Cuban League, he went 11-7, 1.53.”

                Dreke would play for the Cuban Stats West through 1927 and lead the Negro National League in batting in 1924, hitting .389. However, like so many of these Cuban stars, he died young, at the age of 31 on September 25, 1929. His tragic death did not come from violence, however, but from tuberculosis. Dreke was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

RF-Heavy Johnson, Kansas City Monarchs, 27 Years Old

239 AB, .406, 11 HR, 64 RBI, .406/.450/.715, 212 OPS+

WAR-4.2

Wins Above Replacement-4.2 (8th)

WAR Position Players-4.2 (6th)

Offensive WAR-3.8 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 16 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

1922 NNL Batting Title

Batting Average-.406

Slugging %-.715

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.165

Adjusted OPS+-212

Offensive Win %-.873

1st Time All-Star-Oscar “Heavy” Johnson was born on April 20, 1895 in Atchison, Kansas. The five-foot-seven, 200 pound righty outfielder and catcher played three games with the St. Louis Giants in 1920 and then didn’t play in the Negro National League in 1921. However, he was quite the pickup for the Monarchs this season as arguably the league’s best hitter. This year won’t be the only one in which hits over .400.

                Baseball Reference says, “Heavy Johnson was a big player who put up some big numbers in a relatively short career in the Negro Leagues, hitting .350 overall and winning a Triple Crown. He was in the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Wreckers, and all-black military unit (“buffalo soldiers”), from at least 1915 through 1922, spending many of his prime years in the military. He was honorably discharged in March of 1919 but reenlisted the next January. He was the catcher for the unit’s famed baseball outfit which produced other Negro League stars such as Dobie Moore. He was stationed in Hawaii from 1915-1919.

                “According to research by Gary Ashwill, an April 20, 1895 birthday appears to be correct for Johnson. The family then apparently moved to Youngstown, OH. In 1913, Johnson apparently added three years to his age to enlist in the Army and kept this false birthdate the rest of his life. Additionally, Ashwill gives an October 9, 1960 deathdate as a possibility.

                “Johnson joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1922, hitting .389/.438/.644 overall and .405 in Negro National League competition, winning a batting title as a rookie. He began the transition that year from catcher to right field.”     

RF-Oscar Owens, Pittsburgh Keystones, 28 Years Old

111 AB, .405, 5 HR, 28 RBI, .405/.463/.685, 208 OPS+

WAR-1.4

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 230 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Pittsburgh Keystones

14-24-2, 5th in NNL

Manager Dizzy Dismukes (12-23-2) and Dicta Johnson (2-6-1)

OPS+-101, 5th in league

ERA+-75, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Owens, 1.4

Led in:

Errors Committed as RF-6

1st Time All-Star-William Oscar Owens was born on September 7 1893 in Reidsville, North Carolina. The five-foot-six, 155 pound righty outfielder and pitcher played just two years in the Majors – this season and in 1929 with the Homestead Grays of the American Negro League. This was the only season for the Pittsburgh Keystones and the .400 hitting Owens was the best reason to go watch them. He couldn’t field worth anything, but he sure could hit.

                I’ll print the whole write-up from Wikipedia, which admittedly isn’t much. It says, “William Oscar Owens (September 7, 1893 – April 30, 1960), nicknamed ‘Cannon Ball’, was an American Negro league pitcher between 1921 and 1931.

                “A native of Reidsville, North Carolina, Owens made his Negro leagues debut with the Homestead Grays in 1921. He played 10 seasons with the Grays, and also played for the Pittsburgh Keystones in 1922. Owens died in Washington, D.C. in 1960 at age 66.”

                For the 1923 season, I’m going to be doing write-ups for two Negro Leagues, the Negro National League and the newly formed Eastern Colored League. That means instead of writing about 25 forgotten greats, I’ll now get to write about 50 of them.

                I also don’t mean to take credit for the incredible amount of research done by people like Gary Ashwill of Seamheads and Baseball Reference. I’m just a complier, at best, who’s trying to give a taste of baseball history through the years. I’ve been glad to take this excursion into the Negro Leagues. It adds to my appreciation for the game.

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