P-Nip Winters, HIL, 1st MVP
P-Red Ryan, HIL
P-Hubert Lockhart, AC
P-Rats Henderson, AC
P-Oscar Levis, CSE
P-Dave Brown, NLG
P-Lewis Hampton, AC/HIL
P-Willis Flournoy, HIL/BRG
P-John Harper, AC
P-Bill Holland, NLG
C-Biz Mackey, HIL
C-Julio Rojo, BBS
1B-Jud Wilson, BBS
1B-Robert Hudspeth, NLG
2B-Orville Singer, NLG
2B-Frank Warfield, HIL
3B-Oliver Marcell, NLG
SS-John Henry Lloyd, HIL
SS-Dick Lundy, AC
SS-Cool Turner, BRG
LF-Charlie Mason, AC
CF-George Johnson, HIL
CF-Alejandro Oms, CSE
CF-Rags Roberts, BBS
RF-Blainey Hall, BBS
118 IP, 10-3, 2.36 ERA, 95 K, 168 ERA+, 3.05 FIP, 1.119 WHIP
51 AB, .235, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .235/.250/.333, 63 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-3.6 (1st)
WAR for Pitchers-3.4 (1st)
Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1923 ECL Pitching Title
Wins Above Replacement-3.6
WAR for Pitchers-3.4
Earned Run Average-2.36
Hits per 9 IP-7.246
Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.246
Adj. Pitching Runs-21
Adj. Pitching Wins-2.0
1st Time All-Star-James Henry “Nip” Winters was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington DC. The six-foot-two, 180 pound lefty pitcher and first baseman started his Major League career this season in this new league, the Eastern Colored League, with this new team, the Hilldale Club. With pitching like Winters and his teammate, Red Ryan, leading the way, Hilldale won the first ECL title. By 1924, the winner of this league will play the winner of the Negro National League in a World Series.
Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research wrote a paper entitled Forgotten Heroes: Jesse “Nip” Winters, saying “Through the leadership of Ed Bolden and Nat Strong, the Eastern Colored League was formed in 1923 before the start of the regular baseball season. Bolden owned the Hilldale team and Hilldale Park. Ed Bolden also served as President of the Eastern Colored League. Nat Strong was a promoter and team owner. As a sports promoter, he controlled black baseball bookings in the East. In addition he owned the Brooklyn Royal Giants and Cuban Stars. Nat Strong and his partner Max Rosner also owned Dexter Park which was the home of the Brooklyn Bushwicks.
“Jesse ‘Nip’ Winters quickly became the ace of the Hilldale pitching staff and he was considered the best pitcher in the “league.” In 1923 he led the Eastern Colored League in games pitched (26), complete games (15), wins (16), winning percentage (.842) and strikeouts (99). In addition Jesse Winters compiled a 2.45 earned run average (ERA) during the season in Eastern Colored play.”
Wait, is his name James Henry or Jesse?
112 2/3 IP, 9-5, 2.48 ERA, 54 K, 161 ERA+, 2.97 FIP, 1.101 WHIP
39 AB, .205, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .205/.225/.256, 35 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-3.2 (2nd)
WAR for Pitchers-3.2 (2nd)
Ron’s: No (Would require 15 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Errors Committed as P-7
1st Time All-Star-Merven John “Red” Ryan was born on July 11, 1897 in Brooklyn. The five-foot-11, 170 pound righty pitcher started his Major League career this season and had his best season ever. He paired up with Nip Winters to give the Hilldale Club a great one-two pitching punch and guided HIlldale to the first Eastern Colored League title. Ryan is going to have a short, but effective Negro League career as one of the ECL’s first stars.
The Baseball Hall of Fame has an article by Cassidy Lent on this team. Lent writes, “The history of the Negro Leagues is a long and slightly complicated one. However, this story is about the 1923 Eastern Colored League Champions, the Hilldale club of Darby, PA.
“The Hilldale club was formed as a boys’ team in 1910 by Ed Bolden. The club turned professional in 1916 and was a charter member of the Eastern Colored League.
“The Eastern Colored League was formed by Bolden in 1923, as a rival league to the Negro National League formed and run by Rube Foster. The 1923 ECL teams included the Hilldale club, as well as the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Brooklyn Royal Giants, Cuban Stars, and New York Lincoln Giants.
“The 1923 team featured Hall of Famers Pop Lloyd, who served as captain, Judy Johnson, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop and went 32-17 in games played within the league. In overall competition, they went 137-43-6. The team ended up winning 17 games straight in the month of June, had 18 shutouts, and scored almost 7 runs per game. After the season was over, the Hilldale club went barnstorming and beat two barnstorming teams that were compiled from Philadelphia Athletic players, going 6-0.”
101 IP, 7-2, 2.50 ERA, 48 K, 160 ERA+, 3.37 FIP, 1.099 WHIP
41 AB, .171, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .171/.190/.195, 9 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-3.0 (3rd)
WAR for Pitchers-3.1 (3rd)
Ron’s: No (Would require 62 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Walks & Hits per IP-1.099
1st Time All-Star-George Hubert Lockhart was born on January 25, 1899 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. The lefty pitcher started this season with the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and it was his best season ever. He’d continue to pitch with the Giants through 1928 and then finish his career with the Chicago American Giants of the Negro National League. This was his best season ever and it’s probably the last time he’s making my list.
There isn’t much to be found on Lockhart, so here’s a little bit of history of the Giants from Good Seats Still Available with Jim Overmyer: “The curious story of baseball’s Atlantic City (NJ) Bacharach Giants originates from a unique intersection of racism, tourism, and politics.
“In 1915, an independent semi-pro ‘Atlantic City Colored League’ was formed to provide an entertainment outlet for the city’s 11,000+ black residents – with the hope being they would attend the games and stay off the boardwalk, a then-booming summer haven for white tourists.
“In 1923, Atlantic City broke from the NNL to help start the rival Eastern Colored League (ECL), where they achieved their greatest success – including winning two league pennants in 1926 and 1927 – though losing both times in subsequent Negro League World Series play to the NNL’s Chicago American Giants.”
I suggest reading the whole thing.
Lockhart would end up with a 26-22 career record with a 4.08 ERA (108 ERA+). He’d pitch in two World Series, going 0-3 with a 2.76 ERA. Lockhart lived until the age of 69, dying on May 23, 1968 in Montgomery, Alabama.
152 2/3 IP, 10-10, 3.54 ERA, 100 K, 112 ERA+, 2.94 FIP, 1.114 WHIP
51 AB, .157, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .157/.232/.157, 11 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.4 (5th)
WAR for Pitchers-2.4 (4th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Innings Pitched-152 2/3
Def. Games as P-22
1st Time All-Star-Arthur Chauncey “Rats” Henderson was born 57 years before my sister, Isabel, on August 29, 1896 in Henrico County, Virginia. The five-foot-seven, 180 pound righty pitcher started his Major League career this season as a workhorse in the league. He’s going to make quite a few lists in his short, eight-year career. There weren’t a lot of games played in this first season of the Eastern Colored League, but Rats started about a third of the games.
Thank God for the Center for Negro League Baseball Research and all the work they do in getting the history of these players. In writing about Henderson, Dr. Layton Revel states, “Growing up in Richmond, Arthur was one of twelve children. He reportedly got his nickname ‘Rats’ when fellow employees at the glass plant where he worked put a rat in his lunchbox and the rat jumped out when Arthur opened it.
“Arthur Henderson started the 1923 season on the roster of the Richmond Giants before he was recruited by the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants. This has been validated by an article that appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch on April 16, 1923. The newspaper listed the rosters of the Richmond Giants and Washington Potomacs for an upcoming game between the two teams at Mayo Island Park in Richmond. Arthur was listed as a member of Richmond’s roster.
“Arthur ‘Rats’ Henderson (15-13), John Harper (11-11) and George Hubert Lockhart (8-5) carried the majority of the pitching load for Atlantic City. Nate “Speed Ball” Johnson (6-5), Lewis Hampton (3-3), Roy Roberts (2-4), Harold Treadwell (1-1), Eddie Huff (1-0), Cliff Carter (0-1), Chaney White (1-0), Ambrose Reid (0-0), Bunny Downs (0-0) and George Robinson (0-0) also pitched for the team during the season.”
70 2/3 IP, 6-3, 2.80 ERA, 52 K, 142 ERA+, 2.61 FIP, 1.160 WHIP
32 AB, .250, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .250/.294/.344, 79 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.1 (7th)
WAR for Pitchers-1.9 (5th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 27 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Cuban Stars East
22-16, 2nd in ECL
Manager Pelayo Chacon
OPS+-84, 5th in league
ERA+-104, 4th in league
WAR Leader-Oscar Levis, 2.1
Fielding Independent Pitching-2.61
1st Time All-Star-Oscar Joseph Levis was born on August 7, 1898 in Oracabessa, Jamaica. The five-foot-seven, 175 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing pitcher, outfielder, and first baseman started his Major League career this season and would play for seven years. He’ll make more lists but in my judgement, this is his best season ever. The Cuban Stars East finished in second, below the powerful Hilldale Club, and were led by the arm of Levis.
“He was listed for decades as being born in Panama. Negro League researcher Gary Ashwill found in 2018, though, that Levis was really Jamaican, not Panamanian. Ashwill traces him from birth in Jamaica to living in Panama to moving to the US at age 18. He worked for the Submarine Boat Corporation at the Newark Bay Shipyard in World War I. He later was a chauffeur and attended college in New York.
“Levis debuted with the Cuban Stars in 1921, going 2-1 with a 7.18 ERA (63 ERA+) in four starts. He was 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA (116 ERA+) in 1922. He was 6th in ERA among top black eastern teams, between Nick Logan and Harold Treadwell.
“Levis was excellent for the Cuban Stars when the Eastern Colored League was formed in 1923. He went 6-3 with a save and a 2.80 ERA (166 ERA+). He walked only 16 in 70 2/3 IP. He helped his cause with a 93 OPS+, hitting .250/.294/.344. He ranked among the ECL leaders in wins (tied for 7th with Scrip Lee and Lewis Hampton), ERA (4th, between Hubert Lockhart and Willis Flournoy), ERA+ (3rd, after Lockhart and Nip Winters) and Wins Above Replacement (tied with Lockhart for 3rd behind Winters and Red Ryan).”
74 IP, 5-6, 3.28 ERA, 47 K, 121 ERA+, 3.05 FIP, 1.473 WHIP
27 AB, .407, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .407/.467/.556, 187 OPS+
Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
New York Lincoln Giants
17-23, 5th in ECL
Manager Joe Williams
OPS+-105, 2nd in league
ERA+-111, 3rd in league
WAR Leader-Dave Brown, 2.0
4th Time All-Star-Brown is the first player of whom I’m writing in this list that started in the Negro National League before coming over to the Eastern Colored League. He made my All-Star team three times for the Chicago American Giants in the NNL and now made it his first year here in the ECL. The reason he’s on my list is he was the Giants’ best player, but otherwise he probably wouldn’t be here. In his new league, Brown learned to hit, something he couldn’t do in the NNL.
Wikipedia says, “For the 1923 season, Brown left Rube Foster’s American Giants for the brand new Eastern Colored League. Foster voiced his displeasure, pointing out that Brown had been paroled to him and that he had promised Brown’s mother to take care of him. He pointed out that the public would vilify him if he revoked. Brown posted a losing record in his first season with the New York Lincoln Giants but he and Charleston returned to Cuba the following winter and helped Santa Clara compile one of the best records in Cuban baseball history.”
To give a preview of some of his doings in the future, I post this tidbit from James A. Riley, the writer of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, who himself is being quoted on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum webpage: “There was always a mystery about Brown, even dating back to when he was pitching with the Dallas Black Giants in 1917-1918. During the intervening winter he was involved in a highway robbery before he was first picked up by Rube Foster the following spring. Stories persisted that he was a fugitive from justice even then, and Foster put up a $20,000 bond to get Brown a parole from the highway robbery conviction.”
93 1/3 IP, 6-5, 3.47 ERA, 33 K, 115 ERA+, 3.88 FIP, 1.350 WHIP
42 AB, .310, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .310/.326/.548, 142 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (9th)
WAR for Pitchers-1.5 (9th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Home Runs Allowed-7
Fielding % as P-.938
2nd Time All-Star-Hampton, like Dave Brown, left the Negro National League for the Eastern Colored League and had a good season, most likely his last on my All-Star teams. He played on the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants then moved to the pennant-winning Hilldale Club before the season ended. It was with Hilldale he had his most success, going 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA while going only 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA for Atlantic City.
After this season, Hampton would pitch with the ECL Washington Potomacs in 1924 before moving back to the Detroit Stars of the NNL midway through 1925. It was with the Stars he’d finish his career in 1927. Altogether, Hampton went 50-43 with a 3.96 ERA in a seven-year career.
I mentioned in Hampton’s 1922 write-up there wasn’t much about him on the internet and that continues to be the case, so I just want to put a little about Hilldale from Wikipedia which says, “The 1923 Hilldale Club baseball team represented the Hilldale Club in the Eastern Colored League (ECL) during the 1923 baseball season. The team compiled a 40–21–1 (.653) record and won the ECL pennant. John Henry Lloyd was Hilldale’s player-manager. The team played its home games at Hilldale Park in Darby, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb.
There is no date of death listed on Hampton’s Baseball Reference page.
54 IP, 3-2, 2.83 ERA, 20 K, 142 ERA+, 3.24 FIP, 1.222 WHIP
21 AB, .381, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .381/.381/.429, 127 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (10th)
WAR for Pitchers-1.7 (7th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Brooklyn Royal Giants
16-16-1, 3rd in ECL
Manager Eddie Douglass
OPS+-93, 4th in league
ERA+-92, 5th in league
WAR Leader-Willis Flournoy, 2.1
Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000
1st Time All-Star-Willis Jefferson Flournoy was born on August 9, 1895 in Monticello, Georgia. The six-foot, 221 pound lefty pitcher started his seven-year career this season by pitching one game for Hilldale, allowing five runs (four earned) in five innings before going to the Brooklyn Royal Giants and starring as their best player. The Royal Giants are one of three teams in the Eastern Colored League with the Giants’ nickname, joining the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and the New York Lincoln Giants.
Wikipedia says of the Brooklyn Royal Giants, “The Brooklyn Royal Giants were a professional Negro league baseball team based in Brooklyn, New York. Formed in 1905 by John Wilson Connor (1875–1926), owner of the Brooklyn Royal Cafe, the team initially played against white semi-pro teams. They were one of the prominent independent teams prior to World War I before organized league play began.
“In 1907, the Brooklyn Royal Giants joined the National Association of Colored Baseball Clubs of the United States and Cuba. The league lasted three seasons and included the teams Philadelphia Giants, Cuban X-Giants, Cuban Stars of Havana, and the Cuban Giants of New York.
“During the 1920s, under the ownership of Nat Strong, a white New York City booking agent, the team fell into somewhat of a decline, and did very poorly while in the Eastern Colored League. The Giants played their home games while part of the Eastern Colored League at Dexter Park in Queens.”
It should be noted just because these teams are only now being considered Major League squads by Major League Baseball, that doesn’t erase their long histories before this.
101 2/3 IP, 7-6, 3.36 ERA, 44 K, 118 ERA+, 3.88 FIP, 1.180 WHIP
46 AB, .130, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .130/.200/.130, -6 OPS+
WAR for Pitchers-1.7 (6th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 272 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Bases on Balls-38
Hit By Pitch-7
1st Time All-Star-There isn’t much recorded by Baseball Reference about John Harper. This was his best season ever and after this he’d end up playing two more years in the Eastern Colored League. There’s no mention of his date of birth, date of death, height, weight, side of the plate from which he batted, or arm with which he threw. It can be surmised Harper was wild as he led the ECL in walks and hit by pitches.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Eastern Colored League: “The ECL was founded in 1923 when the Philadelphia-area Hilldale Club and the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City, both associate members of the midwest-based Negro National League (NNL), broke with the NNL and allied with the white promoter Nat Strong to form an east coast league. The charter members were: Hilldale, the Bacharach Giants, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, the Cuban Stars (East), the Lincoln Giants of New York, and the Baltimore Black Sox. In 1924 the Harrisburg Giants and Washington Potomacs joined, bringing the circuit to eight clubs. The ECL raided the NNL for players, including Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, and John Henry Lloyd, starting a war that lasted for two years.”
In baseball’s history, anytime a new league enters the scene, it rarely starts peacefully. The American Association raided the National League for players in the 1800s, the Players League needed players and took them from the NL and AA. The American League went after stars like Cy Young and Nap Lajoie from the NL and actually ended up succeeding.
72 IP, 0-7, 3.13 ERA, 48 K, 128 ERA+, 3.09 FIP, 1.250 WHIP
22 AB, .136, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .136/.174/.136, -12 OPS+
WAR for Pitchers-1.6 (8th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
4th Time All-Star-During his first three years in the Negro National League, Holland made my All-Star team every time, with double-digit win totals every year. It’s no wonder the Eastern Colored League, a new challenger to the NNL, would want this man. Maybe the ECL saw this man as its newest star since he was young and had a bit of a reputation for nastiness. It certainly looked like the Giants, by picking up Dave Brown and this man, had scored a major coup.
Yet, despite Brown and Holland’s success in the NNL, they didn’t do as well for their new team. Brown went 5-6 and Holland went a shocking 0-7. This doesn’t take away from their talent as both of them still made my All-Star team, but it certainly wasn’t what was expected of the duo.
Holland is going to end up having a long career, but it is probably going to be another 13 years before he makes another one of my lists. He’d pitch in the ECL until 1927 and then he wouldn’t pitch in the Majors for nine years, except for one year, 1929, in the American Negro League.
Of course, it is just the best educated guess of Baseball Reference that Holland was 0-7. Other sources, like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum give him some victories. James Riley writes, “In New York his fortunes turned and he had only a 2-5 league ledger in his first season with the Lincolns, but that winter (1923-1924), pitching with the great Santa Clara ballclub, he led the Cuban League in wins with 10.”
182 AB, .423, 5 HR, 44 RBI, .423/.456/.588, 192 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.9 (4th)
WAR Position Players-2.9 (1st)
Offensive WAR-2.8 (1st)
Defensive WAR-0.2 (4th)
Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)
Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 44 percent chance)
1923 ECL Batting Title
WAR Position Players-2.9
On-Base Plus Slugging-1.044
Adj. Batting Runs-22
Adj. Batting Wins-2.1
Offensive Win %-.851
Putouts as C-160
Assists as C-34
Errors Committed as C-5
Double Plays Turned as C-2
Range Factor/9 Inn as C-6.32
Range Factor/Game as C-5.54
Fielding % as C-.975
3rd Time All-Star-While there might be arguments as to the best pitcher in the newly formed Eastern Colored League, there was no doubt who the best hitter was, the great catcher Biz Mackey, picked up from the Negro National League. This was Mackey’s best season ever and he was quite the acquisition for the pennant-winning Hilldale Club. I know Biz only played in 51 games, but that .423 average is still impressive.
Chris Rainey of SABR writes, “In 1923 Ed Bolden, owner of the Hilldale Daisies (also called Giants and Darbys), led the formation of the Eastern Colored League (ECOL). A talent war ensued between the ECOL and the NNL that resulted in Mackey being signed by Hilldale. There he joined future Hall of Famers Judy Johnson, Pop Lloyd, and Louis Santop. Mackey was now 25 years old and had reached his full stature of 6 feet tall and probably 210 pounds.
“The ECOL season opener was staged before 17,000 fans in Hilldale’s new park. Mackey caught and batted fifth in the lineup behind Lloyd. The game was called because of rain in the sixth with Hilldale up 4-2 over the Bacharach Giants. Mackey split the catching duties that season with Santop and spelled the 39-year-old Lloyd at shortstop. He is credited with leading the team in batting and RBIs. Hilldale posted a league-leading 32-17 record.”
The short seasons of the Major League Negro leagues are going to hinder some of these greats from making my Hall of Fame, which is based only on numbers. Mackey’s one of those who will be hurt because of that.
149 AB, .342, 0 HR, 33 RBI, .342/.388/.450, 135 OPS+
3 1/3 IP, 0-0, 10.80 ERA, 0 K, 41 ERA+, 3.94 FIP, 2.100 WHIP
WAR Position Players-1.4 (9th)
Offensive WAR-1.4 (9th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 142 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Domingo Julio Rojo was born on May 22, 1894 in Sagua la Grande, Cuba. The five-foot-eight switch-hitting, righty throwing catcher, third baseman, and first baseman started his Major League career here in the Eastern Colored League with his best season ever. If it weren’t for the fact Biz Mackey played in the same league, he would have been the league’s best backstop. He’s going to fall off next year once he hits the age of 30.
Bernard McKenna wrote a book titled The Baltimore Black Sox: A Negro Leagues History, 1913-1936, in which he says about Rojo: “Ownership also upgraded the team’s roster. The Black Sox of the Eastern Colored League would be comprised of old and new faces. Jud Wilson would play first base. Joe Lewis would catch, but the team had also acquired Julio Rojo, a native of Cuba, to help behind the plate. Rojo was known for his expertise in handling pitchers and had better defensive skills than Lewis.”
Usually, if I feel a player has made his last All-Star team, I will write some aspects of his later life and how and when he died. I’m not going to do that for Rojo yet, because there is the chance he’s going to make another one of my lists. However, he’ll never match this season again unless you count the 21 games he played for the New York Lincoln Giants in 1928. That’s the only year that has comparable hitting stats. The rest of the time, his bat is mediocre.
195 AB, .338, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .338/.408/.533, 163 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (8th)
WAR Position Players-2.0 (3rd)
Offensive WAR-2.0 (3rd)
Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)
Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)
1st Time All-Star-Ernest Judson “Jud” or “Boojum” Wilson was born on February 28, 1896 in Remington, Virginia. The five-foot-eight, 190 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing first baseman, third baseman, and outfielder started his Hall of Fame career with this solid season. He’d have better ones, many of them, over his long career and he’s one of those rare Negro League players I’ve covered so far that’s going to make my Hall of Fame for sure.
Wikipedia says, “Wilson debuted for the Baltimore Black Sox in 1922. Though Wilson was referred to as ‘Babe Ruth Wilson’ by the media, his teammates nicknamed him ‘Boojum’ after the noise his line drives made after striking the outfield fences. The team went on a 12-game winning streak after Wilson joined the club. He finished his first season with a .390 batting average and a team high in home runs. The Black Sox joined the Eastern Colored League in 1923. Wilson hit .373 that season, leading the league. However, the team finished in last place, prompting the hiring of Pete Hill as the team’s manager.”
Let’s examine the nickname “Babe Ruth Wilson.” Because of the difference in games played and parks played, it’s difficult to do a head-to-head comparison with Ruth. However, this season, Wilson did finish fourth in AB per HR (27.9) and would finish fourth also in 1935. Those were his best home run seasons. Needless to say, that doesn’t come close to what Ruth did, but comparing people to the Bambino is always going to be a losing game.
128 AB, .367, 2 HR, 21 RBI, .367/.421/.539, 169 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.4 (8th)
Offensive WAR-1.4 (8th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Robert Hudspeth was born on April 6, 1894 in Luling, Texas. The six-foot-four, 200 pound lefty first baseman started his Major League career by playing 19 games for the Indianapolis ABCs in 1920. In 1921, his rookie year, he played one game for Indy and then finished his season with the Columbus Buckeyes and hit pretty well. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1922 and joined New York in the newly-formed Eastern Colored League.
As with many of these ECL players, there isn’t a ton of information around. Wikipedia says, “Robert Hudspeth (April 6, 1894 – August 2, 1935), nicknamed ‘Highpockets’, was an American Negro league first baseman from 1920 to 1932.
“A native of Luling, Texas, Hudspeth made his Negro leagues debut in 1920 with the Indianapolis ABCs. He went on to play for several teams, including the Lincoln Giants and Brooklyn Royal Giants, and finished his career with the New York Black Yankees in 1932.”
That’s all the free internet encyclopedia has to say. He’s not done making my lists which means I’m going to have to go digging for even more info. Hudspeth is going to have a decent career here in the ECL, though he’s certainly not the player Jud Wilson is. One thing I like that Baseball Reference does is give a 162-game average for the players’ career. For Hudspeth, he’d average .312 with 15 homers and 105 RBI per 162 games. That’s good to see because it’s hard to gauge these ECL players with the small number of official games they played.
95 AB, .400, 2 HR, 20 RBI, .400/.430/.537, 171 OPS+
Ron’s: No (Would require 57 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Orville Willis Singer was born on December 27, 1896 in Cambridge, Ohio. The five-foot-nine, 195 pound righty throwing outfielder and second baseman only played in 23 games this rookie season and made the most of it, batting .300. He’d play a total of seven seasons, bouncing around from team to team and from position to position. Wherever he played on the field, his bat shined, as he ended up with a career .334 average.
Here’s some information from Wikipedia on the Lincoln Giants: “The Lincoln Giants can trace their origins back to the Nebraska Indians, of Lincoln, Nebraska, from the 1890s. According to Sol White’s History of Colored Base Ball, in 1890, the Lincoln Giants were founded as the first colored professional team in the west. In the early 1910s, Jess McMahon, a white promoter, hired Sol White, former manager of the Philadelphia Giants, to put together a club. White signed eventual Hall of Famers John Henry Lloyd, the greatest shortstop in Negro league history, Cyclone Joe Williams, perhaps the greatest pitcher, and slugging catcher Louis Santop, together with pitcher Cannonball Dick Redding, center fielder Spotswood Poles, and catcher/first baseman Bill Pettus. Lloyd took over from White as manager midway through the 1911 season. With their powerful lineup, the Lincolns were the dominant team in African-American baseball in 1911, 1912 and 1913, winning the unofficial eastern championship each of those years. In 1913, with second baseman Grant Johnson joining the club, the Lincolns defeated Rube Foster‘s Chicago American Giants for the national black championship.”
Singer died at the age of 86 on June 29, 1985 in Dorset, Ohio.
230 AB, .278, 1 HR, 20 RBI, .278/.362/352, 101 OPS+
Defensive WAR-0.2 (6th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 26 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Def. Games as 2B-61
Putouts as 2B-152
Assists as 2B-154
Errors Committed as 2B-15 (2nd Time)
Double Plays Turned as 2B-35
Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-5.20 (2nd Time)
Range Factor/Game as 2B-5.02 (2nd Time)
Fielding % as 2B-.953
3rd Time All-Star-Throughout baseball history, when leagues are trying to establish themselves, they raid established leagues for their best players. That’s what the pennant-winning Hilldale Club did, picking up Biz Mackey, John Henry Lloyd, and this man from the Negro National League. They ended up being good acquisitions for Hilldale as Warfield again showed defensive wizardry and good bat control. This would be the first of five consecutive seasons Warfield would lead the Eastern Colored League in sacrifices.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum page garners its information from The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, written by James A. Riley. He writes of Warfield, “An outstanding fielder in every aspect, he had wide range, good hands, and a good arm, with a unique underhand snap throw that helped him in turning double plays. At the plate he was a good contact hitter, skilled at the hit-and-run play, a master of the sacrifice bunt, and above the norm as a hitter, augmenting his average power by salvaging numerous leg hits to the infield.
“In 1923 the Eastern Colored League was organized, and the star second sacker was among the players traveling East to join it. After arriving with Hilldale, he played under John Henry Lloyd for a season, batting a solid .339 and stealing a team-high 67 bases. But he was among the dissident players who caused Lloyd to be fired as manager, even though he had just won an eastern championship. When Lloyd moved to Atlantic City with the Bacharachs, Warfield was elevated to the position of manager with the Hilldale club.”
101 AB, .337, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .337/.432/.406, 137 OPS+
Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Oliver Marcell was born on June 12, 1895 in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The five-foot-10, 160 pound righty third baseman made my list in his rookie year as the Eastern Colored League’s best third baseman. Oh, he had a good season (just check out his slash numbers), but it helped him there weren’t many good players at his position this season. He’s going to make the list at least one more time and maybe more depending on his glove.
Wikipedia agrees with my assessment of his defensive abilities, saying, “Although ‘Ghost’ was a top-class hitting infielder, his defensive skills took center stage by comparison. He was considered by most to be the greatest fielding third basemen in the league throughout the 1920s and possibly of all time. Baseball Hall of Famer Judy Johnson once admitted that Marcelle was a better defensive player than himself. During that time, he and shortstop Dick Lundy made up one of the best left-side infields ever.
“Marcelle was known for a terrible temper, with umpires and opponents commonly drawn into arguments with him, and even teammates sometimes fighting him. Marcelle once hit Oscar Charleston in the head with a bat.”
You might notice Wikipedia has a different spelling of Marcell’s name than Baseball Reference. They add an “e” to the end of his name. They also list a middle name for the third baseman, which BR doesn’t have. Wikipedia has his full name as Oliver Hazzard Marcellle. As I’ve noted many times, stats and personal information are not set in stone for the Negro Leagues.
150 AB, .367, 2 HR, 23 RBI, .367/.403/.507, 154 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.8 (4th)
Offensive WAR-1.7 (4th)
Defensive WAR-0.2 (3rd)
Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)
Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
37-21-1, 1st in ECL
Manager John Henry Lloyd
OPS+-111, 1st in league
ERA+-119, 1st in league
WAR Leader-Nip Winters, 3.6
Putouts as SS-79 (2nd Time)
Assists as SS-130 (2nd Time)
Errors Committed as SS-11
Double Plays Turned as SS-25 (2nd Time)
Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.84
Range Factor/Game as SS-5.23
Fielding % as SS-.950
2nd Time All-Star-Lloyd didn’t play in the Majors in 1922 and then moved to the Eastern Colored League this year, taking over as the shortstop and manager for the pennant-winning Hilldale Club. He’s already 39 years old by this point, but still has some good seasons ahead. However, those seasons won’t be for Hilldale as, despite winning the ECL title, he was let go and would move on to Atlantic City. Still, they can’t take away his winning the first pennant of the Major League ECL.
Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “In 1923 Ed Bolden formed the Eastern Colored League and as owner of the Hilldale Daisies, lured a number of players to the team including Lloyd as player-manager. It was emblematic of this stage in Lloyd’s career that even though he could still hit, he was now valued more as a manager than a player. According to Bill Yancey, ‘I was just a kid and he was the great Lloyd I had heard so much about, and he’s the one who taught me to play shortstop.’
“Despite leading Hilldale to the Eastern Colored League championship and batting .349, Lloyd was suspended by owner Bolden over a disagreement the two had about whether to raise Clint Thomas’s salary. The Pittsburgh Courier confirmed soon after that ‘the ten-day suspension to Manager John Henry Lloyd of Hilldale has been extended to include the balance of the season and forever, according to a statement made to the writer by the veteran star.’”
185 AB, .319, 3 HR, 34 RBI, .319/.364/.438, 125 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.5 (6th)
Offensive WAR-1.5 (6th)
Defensive WAR-0.3 (2nd)
Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Atlantic City Bacharach Giants
23-25-1, 4th in ECL
Manager Dick Lundy
OPS+-75, 6th in league
ERA+-115, 2nd in league
WAR Leader-Hubert Lockhart, 3.0
Def. Games as SS-50
1st Time All-Star-Richard Benjamin “Dick” Lundy was born on July 10, 1898 in Jacksonville, FL. The five-foot-11, switch-hitting, righty throwing shortstop and second baseman started his Major League career as the shortstop and manager of the Bacharach Giants. He’d be with Atlantic City for six years and is going to have a decent career. Lundy could hit and field and will be making quite a few of my lists. However, both Cooperstown and I agree he doesn’t belong in the Hall.
Stephen V. Rice of SABR writes, “Nicknamed ‘King Richard’ and ‘Sir Richard,’ Lundy was a graceful shortstop with extraordinary range and a rifle arm. He was an outstanding hitter, too, known for his ‘wicked line drives.’ His career batting average from 1916 to 1937 is estimated by Seamheads.com to be .320. He was ‘one of the most spectacular athletes I’ve ever seen,’ said Negro League second baseman Bunny Downs in 1955. ‘Lundy could hit, throw, field, run and most important of all — think. On and off the field he was the type of fellow everybody took a liking to, always a gentleman.’
“There was only one Bacharach Giants team in 1923, and Lundy was its playing manager. The club re-established its home base in Atlantic City, joined the newly formed Eastern Colored League (ECL), and finished in fourth place in the six-team league. In the offseason Lundy played for the Almendares team in the Cuban Winter League.”
Lundy would not be the Bacharach Giants manager in 1924 or ’25, but would be back doing double duty in 1926.
116 AB, .353, 0 HR, 21 RBI, .353/.375/.414, 122 OPS+
Defensive WAR-0.2 (6th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 176 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Elbert Carter “Cool” Turner was born exactly a century before 9/11 on September 11, 1901 in Brooklyn, not far from where the planes took down the World Trade Center. The five-foot-10, 198 pound righty shortstop, third baseman, and second baseman started his Major League career this year with Brooklyn and he’d never hit this well again. He would have a better season later in his playing days, but this one wasn’t bad.
Here’s some information from Wikipedia on the Giants’ home park: “Dexter Park was the home of the Brooklyn Bushwicks, an independent semi-pro team that played there from 1913 until 1951, when they folded. The park was purchased for them from the Ulmer Brewery in 1922. The Bushwicks played many teams in the Negro leagues as well as various All-Star teams. Dexter Park and the Bushwicks were owned by Max Rosner. The lighting system, which was first used on July 23, 1930, was among the first permanent lighting systems for night baseball in the U.S. and the first in New York City (Ebbets Field was not lighted for the Dodgers until 1938) and was designed and installed by Max Rosner’s son, Herman Rosner, who was an electrical engineer. Many former Major League ballplayers were featured on the Bushwicks, like the Cuccinello brothers. According to the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society sign at the site, the first night game at this venue was played in 1930. Josh Gibson once hit a home run over the 30-foot high wall behind the 418-foot deep left-center bleachers. The Brooklyn Farmers also played at Dexter Park, as did the Brooklyn Royal Giants, of the Negro leagues, in the 1920s and 1930s. Dexter Park set an attendance high for a National Challenge Cup (soccer) final in 1929, when 21,583 fans saw New York Hakoah defeat Madison Kennel of St. Louis. A record that stood for more than 80 years, until October 5, 2010, when 31,311 attended an Open Cup final at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.”
200 AB, .345, 7 HR, 39 RBI, .345/.388/.505, 150 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.7 (5th)
Offensive WAR-1.7 (5th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Def. Games as LF-33
1st Time All-Star-Charles “Charlie” Mason was born on November 29, 1894 in Birmingham, Alabama. The six-foot-two, 200 pound outfielder and first baseman started his Major League career this season and it was his best season ever. After this year, Mason would bounce around the Eastern Colored League, American Negro League, and the East-West League. He’s end up with a .310 average and a slash line of .310/.376/.472 for an OPS+ of 125.
There isn’t a lot of information on Mason so Dr. Layton Revel of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research wrote Early Pioneers of the Negro Leagues: Nat Strong about the founder of the Eastern Colored League and it’s not entirely complementary to the white businessman. Revel writes, “Rube Foster who was the founder of the Negro National League was extremely disappointed when the Eastern Colored League was founded. When Foster looked at baseball in the East, he identified Nat Strong as the real power and driving force. Foster became even more threatened by Nat Strong when Nat sent his Brooklyn Royal Giants on a barnstorming tour through the Midwest in July and August of 1923. To make matters even worse for Foster was the fact that the Brooklyn played well. According to an article that appeared in the Chicago Defender on August 4th the Brooklyn Royal Giants had taken five straight games from local ball clubs in late July.”
Mason would end his career with the Washington Pilots and Pollack’s Cuban Stars of the East-West League in 1932. Baseball Reference lists no date of death for him.
213 AB, .352, 8 HR, 46 RBI, .352/.384/.549, 160 OPS+
Wins Above Replacement-2.1 (6th)
WAR Position Players-2.1 (2nd)
Offensive WAR-2.1 (2nd)
Ron’s: No (Would require 96 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Runs Batted In-46
Extra Base Hits-21
Assists as LF-4
Putouts as CF-60
Assists as CF-3
Errors Committed as CF-4
Assists as OF-7
Errors Committed as OF-5
Fielding % as CF-.940
1st Time All-Star-George Washington Johnson was born on April 20, 1890 in San Marcos, Texas. The six-foot-one, 180 pound righty centerfielder started his Major League career this year with the league-champion HIlldale Club and was a superstar. Unfortunately, he was also 33 years old and would never have a season like this again. He’d play six years in the Eastern Colored League for a variety of teams before hanging it up at the age of 38.
A blog, The Negro Leagues Up Close, writes of Johnson: “It seems like George Washington Johnson was never a great ballplayer — maybe a solid, above-average outfielder with a decent bat and quality fielding skills — but in January 1925, he did something that truly caught my attention as I was researching this story on the 1925 Hilldale Club’s Colored World Series championship.
“According to the Jan. 10, 1925, Philadelphia Tribune, Johnson issued a statement that, according to the paper, ‘strikes a new note in an already complicated situation and urges players of the Eastern [Colored] League to organize for the purpose of protecting themselves from exploitation at the hands of owners or managers.’
“The article then quoted Johnson thusly:
“’It is great to have a winning club. But to have it you must have a bunch of real fighters who can weather a whole season, fight for the lead and hold that lead against all other clubs in the circuit. Such a club Hilldale had last season.’”
Johnson would die at the young age of 50 on August 6, 1940 in Philadelphia.
128 AB, .367, 3 HR, 26 RBI, .367/.417/.523, 163 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.4 (7th)
Offensive WAR-1.4 (7th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Alejandro Oms was born on March 13, 1896 in Santa Clara, Cuba. The five-foot-six, 155 pound lefty centerfielder had a great rookie season and it was his best year ever. He’s not done making All-Star teams, he’ll make at least one more, but it could be more depending on circumstances. The Negro Leagues never seem to have problems producing good centerfielders and Oms joins the list of stars at that position.
John Struth of SABR writes, “Alejandro Oms made a significant mark on baseball in his native Cuba, and in Venezuela and the United States. During his nearly 30-year career he was considered among the best Latino outfielders. Well regarded as a player, he was also respected as a man, earning the nickname ‘El Caballero’ or the gentleman, for his deportment on the playing field.
“Pompez took the reins of the Cuban Stars for the 1922 season. Still unaffiliated, they barnstormed through the United States playing local clubs and against competition from the Negro leagues. According to reports, Oms hit 40 home runs against all competition. For that feat he began to be referenced as the ‘Cuban Babe Ruth’ in several Negro league and Cuban publications.
“In 1923 the Cuban Stars entered the Eastern Colored League. Oms played in an outfield consisting of Pablo ‘Champion’ Mesa and Bernardo Baro. The Stars finished in second place, compiling a record of 23-17, losing out to the Hilldale club, Ed Bolden’s team. In the official league stats Oms batted .357 in 20 ‘league’ games.”
102 AB, .324, 0 HR, 14 RBI, .324/.425/.431, 141 OPS+
Ron’s: No (Would require 299 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
1st Time All-Star-Harry Hamlet “Rags” Roberts was born on November 12, 1895 in West Norfolk, Virginia. The five-foot-eight, 151 pound righty throwing outfielder, catcher, and second baseman played just this one year in the Major Leagues. It would take way too much research, but I wonder if anyone has made my list in the one season they played in the Majors. Rags played 17 games in centerfield, six games in rightfield, four games in leftfield, one game at second, and one game at catcher.
“A native of West Norfolk, Virginia, Roberts made his Negro leagues debut in 1922 with the Harrisburg Giants and Baltimore Black Sox. He played for Baltimore again the following season, and finished his career in 1928 with the Homestead Grays. Roberts died in Beckley, West Virginia in 1963 at age 67.”
So though 1923 was his only year in the Majors, Rags did play for non-Major League teams like the Harrisburg Giants in 1922, the Black Sox in 1922, and the Homestead Grays in 1928. It’s possible as more research is done in the future, other leagues will be designated as Major Leagues by Major League Baseball. I think it’s an important step that at least some of the Negro Leagues are now called Major Leagues and I get to read about all of these forgotten greats. I wonder if anyone knows why Harry was nicknamed “Rags.”
192 AB, .344, 2 HR, 28 RBI, .344/.376/.464, 135 OPS+
WAR Position Players-1.3 (10th)
Offensive WAR-1.2 (10th)
Ron’s: No (Would require 199 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)
Baltimore Black Sox
19-33-1, 6th in ECL
Manager Louis Miller (7-5), Anthony Mahoney (10-24-1), and Blainey Hall (6-6)
OPS+-102, 3rd in league
ERA+-78, 6th in league
WAR Leader-Jud Wilson, 2.0
1st Time All-Star-James Blaine “Blainey” Hall was born on January 17, 1889 in Baltimore. The five-foot-seven, 175 pound righty rightfielder had his best season ever this year, though it should be mentioned he only played one other Major League year, in 1925 for the Black Sox. Hall was already 34 this year and wasn’t going to have much of a playing career left, but at least he proved his worth as the Eastern Colored League’s best rightfielder and a decent manager for the last place Black Sox.
Wikipedia says, “James Blaine ‘Blainey’ Hall (born January 17, 1889 and died March 1975) was a Negro leagues outfielder and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League, and in its first few seasons.
“Hall managed the Baltimore Black Sox in 1923.
“He died in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 86.”
So ends my write up of the first year of the Eastern Colored League. It would give the Negro National League competition over its six seasons of existence and give the Negro Major Leagues their first World Series. In all honesty, this isn’t the easiest league to write about because there isn’t a lot of easily accessible information on these players. It was the same writing about many of the players in the 1800s and writing about the NNL in its early years. It should be noted it’s not always easy to find info for the white Major Leagues, mainly because I’m trying to rush through all of these and don’t have time to research outside of a quick perusal of Google.