1927 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Bill Foster, CAG, 2nd MVP

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM

P-William Bell, KCM

P-Harry Salmon, BBB

P-George Mitchell, KCM

P-George Harney, CAG

P-Willie Powell, CAG

P-Ted Trent, SLS

P-Basilio Rosell, CSW

P-Carl Glass, MRS

C-Poindexter Williams, BBB

C-James Bray, CAG

1B-Ed Rile, DS

1B-Mule Suttles, SLS

2B-James Henry Russell, SLS

3B-Dewey Creacy, SLS

SS-Willie Wells, SLS

SS-Pythias Russ, CAG

SS-Newt Allen, KCM

SS-Bill Riggins, CHT

LF-Roy Parnell, BBB

LF-Wilson Redus, SLS

LF-Steel Arm Davis, CAG

CF-Turkey Stearnes, DS

RF-Branch Russell, SLS

P-Bill Foster, Chicago American Giants, 22 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1925 1926

217 IP, 21-5, 2.03 ERA, 119 K, 184 ERA+, 1.161 WHIP

86 AB, .233, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .233/.267/.267, 45 OPS+

WAR-7.4

Wins Above Replacement-7.4 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-7.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1996)

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

Chicago American Giants

61-32-1, 1st in NNL, Won CS over Birmingham Black Barons, 4-1; Won WS over Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 5-3-1

Manager Dave Malarcher

OPS+-91, 5th in league

ERA+-145, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Bill Foster, 7.4

Led in:

1927 NNL Pitching Title (4th Time)

Wins Above Replacement-7.4 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-7.3 (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.03 (4th Time)

Wins-21

Win-Loss %-.808 (2nd Time)

Games Started-25

Complete Games-21

Shutouts-6 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-184 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-4.0 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Foster again dominated as a pitcher in the Negro National League. He became the first pitcher to win 20 or more games since Jim Jeffries for the Indianapolis ABCs in 1922, who also won 21. His dazzling pitching garnered him his second Most Valuable Player from me and helped Chicago again make the postseason. In the Championship Series against the Birmingham Black Barons, Foster pitched in three games, starting two, and went 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA. Chicago beat Birmingham, 4-1. In the World Series rematch against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants of the Eastern Colored League, Foster pitched in four games, starting two, and going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA as the American Giants beat Atlantic City, 5-3-1.

                Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “What kind of pitcher exactly was Willie Foster? At 6-feet-2 and 195 pounds, Foster’s frame brought length and power. According to Buck O’Neil, Foster was a ‘front line starter [with a] hard sinking fastball and over the top curve ball.’ Both pitches were ‘strike out pitches’ and he spotted all pitches well. ‘As a young pitcher Foster relied mainly on his blinding speed,’ writes another biographer. ‘Upon maturing, he added a fast breaking curve, a change-up, and an early version of the slider to his repertoire, and delivered all his pitches with the same motion.’

“As great as Foster pitched in 1926, 1927 was an encore performance. He led the Negro National League (West) in victories (21) and strikeouts (106). Chicago won the first-half pennant and defeated the second-half winners Birmingham Black Sox to play Atlantic City from the Eastern Colored League for the World Series. The American Giants won the best-of-nine series with Foster going 2-2.”

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 33 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926

155 1/3 IP, 14-7, 2.32 ERA, 109 K, 161 ERA+, 1.127 WHIP

124 AB, .331, 2 HR, 22 RBI, .331/.435/.460, 143 OPS+

WAR-6.5

Wins Above Replacement-6.5 (4th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.8 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

Kansas City Monarchs

55-33, 3rd in NNL

Manager Bullet Rogan

OPS+-104, 3rd in league

ERA+-130, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Bullet Rogan, 6.5

7th Time All-Star-There is coming a time in the near future when one of these Negro League players is going to qualify to make my ONEHOF, the one entrant a year Hall of Fame that features just the best of the best. When that happens, I’m going to have to do a lot of reorganizing since I already have picked ONEHOF inductees all the way through 1944. The first Negro League player to enter it will either be Oscar Charleston or this man.

                John B. Holway of BaseballGuru.com writes, “I’ve just finished ‘The Kansas City Monarchs 1920-1938 featuring Bullet Joe Rogan, the greatest player in Cooperstown,’ by Phil Dixon. It’s a breakthrough book with a wealth of details and pictures never before published.

                “I told Phil earlier that I wouldn’t quarrel with his premise, and now I’m glad I didn’t. He makes a strong case.

                “At the very least, Rogan and Babe Ruth were the two greatest double-threat men, pitching and hitting, of all time. In his heyday, Rogan could win 20 games, bat .400, and slug homers at a pace of 40 per 550 at bats.

                “And Joe stood 5’6″, he wouldn’t even come up to Babe’s armpits.

                “Phil corrects some long-held errors, including my own.

                “He puts Joe’s birth four years later than everyone else had. So where I say he debuted at age 30 in 1920, Phil puts him at age 26.

                “And he says Casey Stengel did not discover Joe in Arizona in 1918, playing with an army team at Fort Huachuca. Casey and many others had known about Joe several years before that. It is true, however, that Casey and his all stars played Joe and his doughboy teammates.”

P-William Bell, Kansas City Monarchs, 29 Years Old

1925 1926

162 IP, 13-4, 2.17 ERA, 52 K, 173 ERA+, 1.136 WHIP

88 AB, .295, 0 HR, 11 RBI, .295/.333/.364, 89 OPS+

WAR-5.5

Wins Above Replacement-5.5 (5th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.8 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-Who was the best pitcher on the Kansas City Monarchs in 1927? It was William Bell, who had his third straight All-Star season. However, their best player, who happened to be a pitcher also, was Bullet Rogan. The difference between the two is that Rogan was a much better hitter, though that shouldn’t take away from Bell’s bat which, for a pitcher, was pretty good. Like Rogan, he was occasionally used in the field when he wasn’t on the mound.

                Kevin Larkin and Frederick C. Bush of SABR write, “Rogan took over as the Monarchs’ manager in 1927, and Bell returned to the hill as well, his fifth straight year with the team, owned by James Leslie “J.L.” Wilkinson. In addition to his 13-3 record (second on the team to Rogan’s 16-6 mark), Bell had an excellent 2.99 ERA that year. He batted .280 as the Monarchs (54-29) finished in second place behind the Chicago American Giants. In addition to the games played in their league slate, the Monarchs posted a 26-12 record in exhibition games. Fans turned out in great numbers wherever they played so that they could see Kansas City’s great players and winning brand of baseball.

                “After the Negro League season ended, Bell traveled to the Caribbean to play for the Habana Leones in the Cuban Winter League’s 1927-28 season. According to Cuba baseball historian Jorge S. Figueredo, ‘This edition of Habana was probably the best they ever had in their illustrious history. Not only did the Reds run away with the pennant by 8 games, they had a team batting average of .310 and scored 208 runs in 33 games – over 6 tallies per outing. Habana finished with a 24-13 record as Bell posted a 6-2 record, second best on the team behind Oscar Levis’s 7-2 mark. Habana was so dominant that the Almendares team withdrew from the league after suffering an 18-4 thrashing as the hands of the Leones on January 21, and the remainder of the season was terminated shortly thereafter.”

P-Harry Salmon, Birmingham Black Barons, 32 Years Old

177 1/3 IP, 15-6, 2.94 ERA, 86 K, 127 ERA+, 1.094 WHIP

76 AB, .263, 0 HR, 8 RBI, .263/.282/.316, 62 OPS+

WAR-4.1

Wins Above Replacement-4.1 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.8 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Birmingham Black Barons

53-44-3, 4th in NNL, Lost CS 4-1 to Chicago American Giants

Manager Ruben Jones

OPS+-97, 4th in league

ERA+-108, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Roy Parnell, 5.0

1st Time All-Star-Harry Lee Salmon was born on May 30, 1895 in Warrior, Alabama. The six-foot-two, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing pitcher and outfielder started with the Birmingham Black Barons and Memphis Red Sox in 1924 then stayed with the Black Barons in 1925. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1926 before having this, his first All-Star season. Birmingham won the second half of the season and played Chicago in the Negro National League Championship Series, losing 4-1. Salmon pitched two games, starting neither and having no decisions, despite a 2.57 ERA.

                John Holway of BaseballGuru.com writes, “When Paige joined the Birmingham Black Barons as a rookie in 1927, the ace of the staff was the lanky fastballer, Harry ‘Beans’ Salmon.  Satchel was so impressed that he adopted the style himself.

                “Nervous hitters described it as ‘a cross-fire pitch.’ ‘Looked like he was going to step on the third baseman,’ first baseman George Giles laughed.  ‘He was pretty tough on right-handed hitters.’

                “When Salmon and Satchel pitched a double-header, Cool Papa Bell said, it was Salmon who drew the tougher opponent.  Harry posted a 14-6 record for the year to Satchel’s 8-3. 

                “’Salmon and Satchel would give you a headache,’ moaned outfielder Jimmie Crutchfield.  Left-hander Sam Streeter, the third man in the triumvirate, was 14-12.  The three of them led the Barons to their first Negro League pennant.

                Streeter, in all honesty, should have made my list, but was kept out because every team needs an All-Star. Sorry, Sam!

P-George Mitchell, Kansas City Monarchs, 27 Years Old

133 1/3 IP, 9-5, 2.36 ERA, 38 K, 158 ERA+, 1.268 WHIP

60 AB, .267, 0 HR, 10 RBI, .267/.302/.300, 63 OPS+

WAR-3.9

WAR for Pitchers-3.7 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 35 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Wild Pitches-6

1st Time All-Star-George Frederick Mitchell was born on March 31, 1900 in Sparta, Illinois. The six-foot-three, 202 pound righty pitcher, first baseman, and outfielder started with the St. Louis Stars in 1924 before moving to Chicago and Indianapolis in 1925. He stayed with the ABCs in 1925 and ’26 before coming to the Monarchs this year. He would continue to bounce around for his entire 12-year career and will have a couple of All-Star seasons.

                According to Wikipedia, it was the Monarchs’ dominance that convinced Rube Foster to change the schedule. It says, “Motivated by the Monarchs’ runaway pennant victory, NNL president Rube Foster changed the league schedule to a split-season format for 1925. Kansas City nevertheless took the league title again in 1925, but lost the World Series to Hilldale when Rogan was injured just before the series began and won one game and lost five to Hilldale. Even though Méndez was the manager, it was still possible to see him on the mound during the few years he held the position. Among the team’s regulars during these years were the brilliant-fielding second baseman/shortstop Newt Allen who in the 1924 series alone had an average of .282 and seven doubles  and Frank Duncan, one of the best-regarded defensive catchers in Negro league history. Newt Joseph played third base for the Monarchs from 1922 through their NNL years, hitting a composite .284 during that time.”

                I’ve never liked the split-season format of determining playoff contestants and not just because MY REDS WERE CHEATED IN 1981! But I’m not bitter.

P-George Harney, Chicago American Giants, 37 Years Old

1925 1926

160 1/3 IP, 8-9, 2.64 ERA, 78 K, 142 ERA+, 1.141 WHIP

56 AB, .125, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .125/.140/.161, -19 OPS+

WAR-3.7

WAR for Pitchers-4.1 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-1.347

Saves-4 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Harney continued to be a cog on the American Giants’ dominant pitching staff, making his third straight list and helping Chicago to the playoffs. In the Negro League Championship against the Black Barons, Harney relieved in two games, going 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA. In the World Series against Atlantic City, he pitched in three games, starting two, and went 1-1 with a 1.31 ERA. He helped Chicago to the championship.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes, “The team of Negro Leaguers that toured Japan in 1927 was drawn from the Philadelphia Royal Giants club in the California Winter League of 1926/27.  This team’s roster featured no less than six Hall of Famers: Turkey Stearnes (.387 with a league-leading 8 home runs), Bullet Rogan (6-2 on the mound, .328 at bat), Willie Wells (only .181, 19 for 105), Biz Mackey (.316), Bill Foster (6-0, with 49 strikeouts in 55 innings), and Andy Cooper (5-2).  The Royal Giants won the pennant (of course) with a 26-11-1 record against three white teams composed mostly of a mix of major and minor leaguers, along with a handful of semipros.  This was with their fourth-best pitcher, George Harney (a decent but not great knuckleballer from the Chicago American Giants) leading the team with 116 innings pitched (Cooper had 71, Rogan 68, and Foster 55).”

                After this season, Harney would pitch three more years with Chicago, finishing 46-36 with a career 3.34 ERA (130 ERA+). He died on May 5, 1959 at the age of 68 in Norwood Park, Illinois.

P-Willie Powell, Chicago American Giants, 23 Years Old

140 IP, 12-4, 2.25 ERA, 78 K, 166 ERA+, 1.179 WHIP

57 AB, .211, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .211/.250/.228, 30 OPS+

WAR-3.6

WAR for Pitchers-3.7 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Willie Ernest Powell was born on October 30, 1903 in Eutaw, Alabama. The five-foot-eight, 153 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing pitcher started with the American Giants in 1925, but became a fulltime hurler this year. In the playoffs against the Black Barons, Powell started two games, going 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA. Against Atlantic City in the World Series, he started three games, going 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA. The 23-year-old had arrived.

                Baseball Reference wraps this all up, saying, “Willie Powell was a Negro League pitcher for a decade.

                “Powell debuted with the Chicago American Giants in 1926, going 1-1. He lost game six of the 1926 Negro World Series to Red Grier, but recovered in game ten. With the Giants on the verge of elimination against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and their ace Rats Henderson, Powell tossed a shutout while Henderson faltered. The American Giants went on to win the Series.

                “Powell improved to 9-4 in 1927. On August 14, he threw a no-hitter against the Memphis Red Sox. In the 1927 Negro World Series, he won game two against Atlantic City but got no-decisions in games six, eight and nine. He had a 1-0, 1.69 record for the Series. Powell was 3-7 in the 1927-1928 Cuban Winter League, leading that circuit with 18 games pitched.”

                There haven’t been too many players as small as Powell in the Majors over the years. That explains his nicknames of “Pee Wee” or “Wee Willie.” It doesn’t explain his nickname of “Pigmeat.”

P-Ted Trent, St. Louis Stars, 23 Years Old

212 IP, 15-10, 2.93 ERA, 133 K, 128 ERA+, 1.241 WHIP

71 AB, .113, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .113/.203/.127, -9 OPS+

WAR-3.2

WAR for Pitchers-3.4 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

St. Louis Stars

62-37, 2nd in NNL

Manager Candy Jim Taylor

OPS+-130, 1st in league

ERA+-91, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Willie Wells, 7.0

Led in:

Strikeouts-133

Bases on Balls-85

Def. Games as P-33

1st Time All-Star-Theodore “Ted” Trent was born on December 17, 1903 in Jacksonville, Florida. As it turns out, that’s the same day as my twin nephews, Rafe and Cole. The six-foot-three, 185 pound righty pitcher started in the Majors this season with a wonderful campaign. Looking at the raw numbers, you could figure that out, but remember what a huge hitter’s bandbox in which he played his home games and it makes this rookie year even more impressive. Trent’s going to be around for a while.

                Baseball Reference says, “Ted Trent was a star Negro League pitcher who went 109-56 in a 13-year career. Trent was known for his breaking balls, featuring a long curve, short curve, shorter curve and slider in addition to a good fastball. Ted was 13th all-time in the Negro Leagues in victories and 12th in winning percentage among those with 50+ wins.

                “The tall Floridian began his professional career in 1924 and was with the Bethune-Cookman College team in 1925-26. He played for Jimmy Reel‘s West Palm Beach Giants after the college season ended in 1926. Reel arranged for Trent to join the St. Louis Stars.

                “With St. Louis, Ted was the ‘Sunday pitcher’ for five years. Negro League teams often would schedule easier, semipro or amateur opponents during the weekdays, saving top matches often for Sunday, when they would draw the largest crowds. This enabled Trent to get extra rest between starts. In his first year in St. Louis, he was 15-11 and tied Bullet Joe Rogan for second in the Negro National League in wins, trailing only Willie Foster. Trent finished third in the NNL with 85 strikeouts.”

P-Basilio Rosell, Cuban Stars West, 25 Years Old

149 IP, 5-13, 3.02 ERA, 72 K, 124 ERA+, 1.268 WHIP

65 AB, .277, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .277/.309/.323, 71 OPS+

WAR-2.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

23-46-1, 6th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-67, 7th in league

ERA+-91, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Basilio Rosell, 2.7

Led in:

Losses-13 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-Basilio Rosell was born on March 14, 1902 (102 years before my wife’s and my first date) in Los Arabos, Cuba. The righty pitcher started in 1926 and led the Negro National League in losses, something he repeated this year. However, from 1926 to’27, his ERA dropped from 5.79 to 3.02. He’d play two more years – in 1928 with Cuban Stars West and in 1929 with Cuban Stars East of the American Negro League. There is no date of death listed in Baseball Reference, however, Wikipedia has it as November 15, 1994 and gives him the nickname of “Brujo.”

                Mark Rucker of SABR has an article on a trip to Cuba he took in 2019 and mentions Rosell. He writes, “The inspiration for our one-day trip was a group of photographs from the winter ball season of 1927–28. They were taken at a ballpark in Güines, a small city of now 70,000, 50 km. or so southeast of Havana. The photos — a group of sixteen 7”x5” prints, mounted on decorative 10”x8” boards — started turning up in the capital city a few years earlier in an astounding state of preservation, arriving in small groups, until almost the entire collection was assembled (16 of 18 are present). The sauna-like climate on the island is rampantly destructive to paper, and photos usually suffer. Though I had been doing photo research in Cuban baseball for over fifteen years at that point, no picture had ever before appeared of Estadio Tropical Cerveza (Tropical Beer Park), nor had I seen reference to it, nor had I seen any mention of the photographer, Raphael Santiago of Calle M. Gomez 120, Güines, whose name was embossed in each print.

                “Managing ‘Cuba’ was Armando Marsans, one of the first Cubans to wear a major league uniform in the twentieth century, playing eight years in the American, the National, and the Federal Leagues. Marsans’ pitching staff features Willie Foster, newly of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Willie Powell, small and sturdy right-hander, along with Cuban Basilio ‘The Witch’ Rosell. Sharing the infield and the outfield were Judy Johnson and Oscar Charleston, monster stars both in the Negro Leagues and in Cooperstown, Walter ‘Steel Arm’ Davis, from the Chicago American Giants, Cubans Pelayo Chacón, who played in Cuba from 1908 to 1932, Cando Lopez, Francisco Correa, and José Perez. The catcher was Larry Brown, whose defensive skills and strong arm were legendary.”

P-Carl Glass, Memphis Red Sox/Kansas City Monarchs, 29 Years Old

1924

155 1/3 IP, 8-12,3.36 ERA, 60 K, 112 ERA+, 1.371 WHIP

83 AB, .241, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .241/.276/.301, 56 OPS+

WAR-2.4

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Memphis Red Sox

25-69-3, 8th in NNL

Manager Charles Wesley

OPS+-67, 7th in league

ERA+-91, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Carl Glass, 2.2

Monarchs Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-Since making my list in 1924 as a rookie for the Red Sox, Glass spent another year with Memphis before moving to St. Louis in 1926. This year, he was back in Memphis for a good part of the season before being lent out to the Monarchs for the end of the year. By next year, he’ll be back in the Home of the Blues. Glass did better for Memphis than he did for KC, going 7-10 with a 3.23 ERA for the Red Sox and 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA for the Monarchs.

                Baseball Reference says, “Carl Glass was a cavalry private in 1920, stationed at the Fort Huachuca Military Reservation. He may well have served in the military other years. He also possibly appeared in at least one game with the Twenty-fifth infantry team that year in St. Louis, MO – Glass was with either the 10th or 9th Calvary.

                “Glass made his Negro League debut in 1923, going 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA for the Memphis Red Sox, walking only 2 in 23 innings (though James Riley writes that he had poor control). He hit .219/.219/.281 and played six games in left field and one at first base. He also was briefly with the Birmingham Barons, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in one start and going 2 for 4 with a homer at the plate to finish the year with a .250/.250/.417 line at the plate and a 3-1, 2.81 pitching record.

                “Known for his curveball, Carl went 4-7 for Memphis in 1924 and followed with a 7-6 year for the club. In 1926, Lefty went 4-4 for the St. Louis Stars. Glass split 1927 between the Kansas City Monarchs (1-2) and Memphis (7-13 for a team that otherwise was 21-61).”

C-Poindexter Williams, Birmingham Black Barons, 29 Years Old

1925

226 AB, .363, 2 HR, 47 RBI, .363/.385/.513, 141 OPS+

WAR-2.2

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1925, Williams didn’t play in the Majors in 1926. Judging by Seamheads, he didn’t play anywhere that season, but I’m not sure why. Anyway, now he’s back and he’s back on the list as the Negro National League’s best catcher. I’d say this was his best season ever and he helped the Black Barons to the playoffs. In the Championship Series against Chicago, Poindexter went two-for-10 (.200) and Birmingham lost four games to one.

                Fosterslegacy.com has a great article on Rube Foster and part of it mentions Williams. It says, “By this time, Foster was pitching very little, compiling only a 2–2 record in 1915. His last recorded outing on the mound was in 1917; from this time he became purely a bench manager. As a manager and team owner, Foster was a disciplinarian. He asserted control over every aspect of the game, and set a high standard for personal conduct, appearance, and professionalism among his players. Given Schorling Park’s huge dimensions, Foster developed a style of play that emphasized speed, bunting, place hitting, power pitching, and defense. He was also considered a great teacher, and many of his players themselves eventually became managers, including Pete Hill, Bruce Petway, Bingo DeMoss, Dave Malarcher, Sam Crawford, Poindexter Williams, and many others.”

                It is amazing what Rube Foster did for the Negro Leagues. After managing the American Giants for the first seven years in the league he created, he retired and wouldn’t manage again in the Majors.

C-James Bray, Chicago American Giants, 28 Years Old

135 AB, .326, 2 HR, 28 RBI, .326/.431/.474, 145 OPS+

WAR-1.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 199 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-James Howard Bray was born on December 12, 1898 in Troy, Alabama. The five-foot-nine, 184 pound catcher played five different seasons with the Chicago American Giants, spread out over seven years, but this was the only season he played over six games. In the 1926 playoffs against the Kansas City Monarchs, Bray batted once and went hitless. He didn’t play in the World Series. This year, he walked once in the playoffs against the Black Barons and then went oh-for-six in the World Series versus Atlantic City. It didn’t matter as Chicago beat the Bacharach Giants, 5-3-1.

                Wikipedia says, “James Howard Bray (December 12, 1898 – July, 1931) was an American Negro league catcher in the 1920s and 1930s.

                “A native of Troy, Alabama, Bray made his Negro leagues debut with the Chicago American Giants in 1925. He spent several seasons with the team, and played on Chicago’s 1927 Colored World Series championship squad. Bray died in 1931 at age 32 as a result of a fight with teammate John Hines.”

                It seems a pretty significant thing a man would die in a fight with a teammate, but I can’t find anything about it besides what’s mentioned above. I don’t know whether Hines was charged with murder or why the fight transpired. It’s still sad that a 32-year-old man lost his life in this fashion. There were many early demises among these Negro League players, some due to violence and some due to illnesses. Of course, the National and American Leagues had their share of young men dying.

1B-Ed Rile, Detroit Stars, 27 Years Old

1923

265 AB, .389, 11 HR, 58 RBI, .389/.439/.660, 194 OPS+

140 2/3 IP, 11-6, 2.43 ERA, 44 K, 154 ERA+, 1.109 WHIP

WAR-7.0

Wins Above Replacement-7.0 (2nd)

WAR Position Players-3.8 (6th)

Offensive WAR-3.8 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Detroit Stars

52-47, 5th in NNL

Manager Bingo DeMoss

OPS+-108, 2nd in league

ERA+-100, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Ed Rile, 7.0

2nd Time All-Star-When Rile last made the list in 1923, he was mainly a pitcher for the American Giants. It was the same in 1924. Then in 1925, he moved to Indianapolis and was still mostly a pitcher. Then in 1926, he still continued to pitch, but Rile’s main position was first base. That would be the way it was for the rest of his career. This season, after he moved to Detroit, he had a very Bullet Rogan-type season. Look at those stats above!

                Here’s a list of players who had the most home runs in seasons in which they pitched 10 or more games:

2021-Shohei Ohtani, 46

1919-Babe Ruth, 29

2018-Shohei Ohtani, 22

1922-Bullet Rogan, 15

1918-Babe Ruth-11

1927-Ed Rile, 11

1964-Willie Smith, 11

                Rile’s 1927 season puts him in some elite company.

                Tiger Tales picked an All-Star team from 1919-to-1931. Rile made it as a utility player. Lee Panas writes, “Edward ‘Huck’ Rile was a two-way player (first baseman and pitcher) who played for 11 teams over 14 seasons.  At six-feet-six-inches and 230 pounds, Rile was one of the biggest players in Negro Leagues history.  Huck excelled on both sides of the ball with a lifetime OPS+ of 122 and ERA+ of 110.

“The switch hitting Rile had a fantastic season as both a batter and pitcher for Detroit in 1927.  At the plate, he hit .389 with a .660 slugging average and finished second in the league with a 188 OPS+ in 297 plate appearances.  From the mound, he was second in the league with a 157 ERA+ in 141 innings.  He didn’t pitch a lot in 1928, but continued to excel offensively batting .348 with a 147 OPS+.”

1B-Mule Suttles, St. Louis Stars, 26 Years Old

1926

98 AB, .449, 9 HR, 37 RBI, .449/.534/.898, 281 OPS+

WAR-2.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-Because Suttles was able to make my list in this year in which he batted less than 100 times, it moved him from having a 94 percent chance of making my Hall of Fame to being a sure thing. If he would have played more, he would’ve led in a lot of categories. In his short season, he had the highest batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He had a better WAR than Willie Bobo, the Stars’ regular first baseman, who had 308 at-bats.

                Larry Powell writes in the Encyclopedia of Alabama, “Suttles left the Barons in 1926 to sign with the St. Louis Stars, with whom he would play for seven seasons. In his first year with the Stars, he was named the Negro National League’s Most Valuable Player, hitting either .423 or .498 for the season (sources differ). He also became the first player in Negro National League history to hit more than 20 home runs, 20 triples, and 20 doubles in the 1926 season in only 78 games. Suttles missed the entire 1927 season after sustaining a head injury from being hit by a pitch but returned the following season, never hitting below .349 for the Stars. During his tenure, the team won three Negro National League championships.”

                Of course, we can see he didn’t miss the entire 1927 season as Powell wrote above, but he did miss most of it. He’s going to be back and have some mighty seasons, though none ever better than his 1926 campaign.

2B-John Henry Russell, St. Louis Stars, 29 Years Old

292 AB, .298, 11 HR, 45 RBI, .298/.343/.479, 120 OPS+

WAR-2.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-John Henry Russell was born on February 24, 1898 in Dolcito, Alabama. The five-foot-nine, 148 pound righty second and third baseman started with the Memphis Red Sox in 1924 and ’25 before coming to St. Louie in 1926, a season in which he led the Negro National League in sacrifice hits with 24. He’d have better years than this one, but he was the best second sacker in the NNL so here he is. Russell never did have more than the 11 homers he bashed this season.

                Euell A. Nielsen writes on BlackPast, “The Stars inherited most of the Giants roster with the exception of Charleston. It dropped to fourth place in 1922, with a 35-26 record, and in 1923 the team fell to sixth place, with a 28-44 record. Later in the year the team acquired several players from the Toledo Tigers, as well as new manager and third baseman Candy Jim Taylor. Taylor later brought in left-handed pitcher Cool Papa Bell, first baseman Mule Suttles, shortstop Willie Wells, and pitcher Ted Trent. By 1924, the team rose to fourth place in the league, at 42-34, and by the following year they rose to second place, with a 38-12 record. Taylor left in 1926, and the team fell to 49-30, in third place. Taylor returned to the team in 1927, bringing the Giants back to firth place in 1928, with a 66-26 record. The team won two more pennants before folding with the NNL in 1931.” That’s right, this team is going to have a great 1928 campaign, but you’ll have to wait for that.

3B-Dewey Creacy, St. Louis Stars, 28 Years Old

1925 1926

348 AB, .316, 13 HR, 84 RBI, .316/.353/.532, 137 OPS+

WAR-3.1

WAR Position Players-3.1 (7th)

Offensive WAR-3.1 (7th)

Defensive WAR-0.3 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Triples-12

Def. Games as 3B-89 (3rd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After smacking 23 homers in 1926, Creacy declined a bit, but was still the best third baseman in the Negro National League. He did smash 13 homers, the third of four consecutive years he’d hit double-digit dingers. He’s still got some good years left, but he won’t have enough of them to make my Hall of Fame. Still, for the time in which Creacy played, he displayed amazing power, especially for a man who weighed just 160 pounds.

                The website Hall of Stats has a ranking of the greatest third basemen of all time, according to their own research. The top five probably aren’t a surprise – Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, George Brett, and Adrian Beltre. Creacy certainly isn’t in that category, but they do rate him in the top 100, at 98th, below Howard Johnson and above Todd Frazier. That’s not terrible company, is it?

                At this point in my research – I’m at 1927 in the Negro Leagues and at 1944 in the National and American Leagues — I have Home Run Baker as my top third baseman of all time. That will certainly change with the addition of some of those players above. The Hall of Stats has Baker rated as the 12th greatest third baseman of all time. There just weren’t a lot of good third basemen for a good stretch of time, because it’s a position that needs a difficult combination of hitting and fielding. Had Creacy been able to continue his stellar hitting for a longer period of time, he’d be one of those all-time greats.

SS-Willie Wells, St. Louis Stars, 22 Years Old

1924 1925 1926

361 AB, .363, 29 HR, 108 RBI, .363/.450/.690, 204 OPS+

WAR-7.0

Wins Above Replacement-7.0 (3rd)

WAR Position Players-7.0 (1st)

Offensive WAR-6.9 (1st)

Defensive WAR-0.6 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1997)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

WAR Position Players-7.0

Offensive WAR-6.9

Defensive WAR-0.6 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.690

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.140

Runs Scored-90

Total Bases-249

Home Runs-29

Bases on Balls-56

Adjusted OPS+-204

Runs Created-112

Adj. Batting Runs-54

Adj. Batting Wins-5.1

Times On Base-188

AB per HR-12.4

Def. Games as SS-95

4th Time All-Star-At this time, Wells was just 22 years old and already arguably the best player in the Negro National League. Of course, Bill Foster, my pick for Most Valuable Player, isn’t bad either, but you could have a discussion either way and neither would be a bad choice. This could be Wells’ best season ever, but I’m going to pick another one later. Still, look at those stats in which he led above and then remember Wells played just 96 games.

                A MLB.com blog says, “Hall of Famer Willie Wells was the precursor to them all — a rare combination of unbelievable ability in the field and a bat that set a Negro Leagues baseball record for most home runs in a season.

                “’I didn’t want to do anything but play baseball. That was my life and it was good to me. Baseball is still nothing but hit the ball and catch the ball.’

                “The St. Louis Stars weren’t around long but they were a dominant offensive ball club filled with big bats led by Wells and Mule Suttles. The 1927 season was Wells greatest setting a Negro leagues record with 27 home runs in a year where he and his Stars teammates won the Negro Leagues title by dethroning the two-time defending champion Chicago American Giants in one of the best series in Negro Leagues history five games to four.”

                Wells and the Stars are going to win the championship, but it’s going to be in 1928, not 1927 as it states here. Apparently, his 29 homers this year would set an all-time Negro League record.

SS-Pythias Russ, Chicago American Giants, 23 Years Old

1926

323 AB, .325, 4 HR, 58 RBI, .325/.372/.474, 127 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR Position Players-3.0 (8th)

Offensive WAR-3.0 (8th)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Doubles-30

2nd Time All-Star-Last season, Russ made my list as a catcher, but this year moved to shortstop. Something like that wouldn’t happen nowadays, but it happened a few times in the Negro Leagues. Biz Mackey, for instance, played shortstop fairly regularly when he wasn’t at backstop. Russ had a great Championship Series against Birmingham, hitting .400 (eight-for-20) with two doubles and a homer. In the World Series against Atlantic City, Pythias hit just .229 (eight-for-35) with a double. Chicago still won, 5-3-1, over the Bacharach Giants.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type compares Russ, who played in a huge pitcher’s park and Wells, who played in a hitter’s paradise. He writes, “Looking at the raw numbers, you might assume that, while Russ was very good, he was not really comparable to Hall of Famer Willie Wells, his shortstop counterpart with the Stars, who batted .365/.425/.712 in 1928 (including the playoffs). 

                “But consider the vast difference between their home parks.  I have 14 box scores for Stars/American Giants games in 1928, including the playoff series.  In the seven games played in Chicago, the two teams combined hit .264/.315/.320, scoring 53 runs (3.79 runs per game), and hitting a single home run.  In the seven games played in St. Louis, the two teams hit .309/.361/.517, scoring 86 runs (6.14 runs per game), with 20 home runs. 

                “Just as a quick test (not a full-blown study), I figured what Russ might have hit with Stars Park as his home field, using the above park statistics as a guide.  The hypothetical St. Louis version of Pythias Russ comes out at .375/.410/.587; still not quite matching Wells, but much, much closer than without the park adjustment.”

SS-Newt Allen, Kansas City Monarchs, 26 Years Old

329 AB, .325, 2 HR, 35 RBI, .325/.380/.416, 115 OPS+

WAR-2.6

WAR Position Players-2.6 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (10th)

Defensive WAR-0.6 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Newton Henry “Newt” Allen was born on May 19, 1901 in Austin, Texas. The five-foot-eight, 160 pound righty second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman started as a third baseman for Kansas City in 1923 and then moved to second base in 1924, a year in which he led the Negro National League in plate appearances (349) and sacrifices (20). In the World Series that season against Hilldale Club, Allen hit .282 (11-for-39) with seven doubles as KC won it all. In the 1925 Championship Series against the St. Louis Stars, Newt hit .370 (10-for-27) with a double and a homer which helped lead the Monarchs to a World Series rematch against Hilldale Club. Kansas City lost that one as Allen hit just .259 (seven-for-27) with a double. In 1926, Allen moved to shortstop and the Monarchs again made the postseason, playing in the Championship Series against Chicago. KC lost as Allen hit a paltry .167 (five-for-30). Allen is the first shortstop to make my list for the Monarchs since Dobie Moore in 1924.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz write in Forgotten Heroes: Newton “Newt” Allen, “Newt Allen was back with the Monarchs for the 1927 season and had transitioned to the team’s starting shortstop. Allen, who was coming off the worst season of his career, quickly found his hitting stroke early in the season and finished the season with a .323 batting average and a .415 slugging percentage…According to newspaper accounts, the Kansas City Monarchs drew over one million fans for their 1927 baseball season which was quite an accomplishment for that day.”

SS-Bill Riggins, Cleveland Hornets, 27 Years Old

1923 1926

138 AB, .341, 3 HR, 30 RBI, .341/.405/.558, 158 OPS+

WAR-1.8

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Cleveland Hornets

13-36, 6th in NNL

Manager Frank Duncan

OPS+-87, 6th in league

ERA+-63, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Bill Riggins, 1.8

3rd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1926 for the Stars, Riggins joined the Hornets in their only year of existence and was their best player. He’ll be leaving the Negro National League after this season and will be back on this list at least one more time. This will also be the last season in which shortstop is Riggins’ main position. He will be the only player ever to make my All-Star team as a Cleveland Hornet. He was a good player, but this was a terrible team.

                Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History says of this one-year team: “Cuyahoga Amusement Co., a group comprised of Cleveland businessmen, purchased the Indianapolis ABC franchise at the end of 1926 and moved it to Cleveland for the 1927 season. The only player on the ABC’s roster that did not make the move was manager ‘Bingo’ DeMoss; Frank Duncan remained in Cleveland as the manager of the new squad. The team only survived for one season in Cleveland and finished with a 14-38 record in league contests.

                “The Hornets played their home games at Hooper Field, and reported that as many as 2,500 fans were in attendance on multiple occasions. Even though The Cuyahoga Amusement Co. and the Cleveland Gazette bragged that the Hornets were likely the best black professional team in Cleveland to date, they played mediocre to poor baseball for much of the season. During a summer game against the Chicago American Giants, the Hornets committed seven errors. Due to a lack of money, the team was forced to withdraw from the Negro National League by the month of July. Reportedly, the Hornets barely broke even once operating costs were taken into account; team officials blamed a rainy spring and summer, which led to moved or cancelled games and lost income.”

LF-Roy Parnell, Birmingham Black Barons, 23 Years Old

334 AB, .422, 11 HR, 75 RBI, .422/.464/.653, 199 OPS+

10 2/3 IP, 0-1, 5.06 ERA, 6 K, 77 ERA+, 1.688 WHIP

WAR-5.0

Wins Above Replacement-5.0 (7th)

WAR Position Players-5.3 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-5.3 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

1927 NNL Batting Title

Batting Average-.422

On-Base %-.464

Hits-141

Offensive Win %-.876

1st Time All-Star-Roy Alexander Parnell was born on November 23, 1903 in Port Allen, Louisiana. The five-foot-11, 170 pound righty outfielder had this impressive rookie year and will have even a better season later in his career. One would think he was off to a Hall of Fame career, but he never had enough of these great seasons to get there. This first season, however, he helped lead Birmingham to the League Championship Series against Chicago where he hit .238 (five-for-21) with a double and a triple. The Black Barons lost to the American Giants, 4-1.

                Dr. Layton Revel of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research writes in Forgotten Heroes: Roy “Red” Parnell, “Parnell led the Black Barons in hitting for the season with a batting average of .430 and a slugging percentage of .658 during the regular season.

                “The Black Barons started the second half of the season on a hot streak. By August 6th they were in first place in the Negro National League standings with a record of 11-3 (.786). A doubleheader win over the Cuban Stars in mid September helped the Black Barons clinch the ‘league’ title for the second half of the 1927 Negro National League season. They finished with a record of 55-43 (.561) and were fourth place in the final Negro National League standings.

                “The Chicago American Giants won the first half of the Negro National League season and the Birmingham Black Barons behind the play of Roy ‘Red’ Parnell (outfield) and Satchel Paige (pitcher) came on strong to win the second half of the season. By winning the second half of the season, they met the Chicago American Giants who had won the first half in a play-off series.”

LF-Wilson Redus, St. Louis Stars, 22 Years Old

1925

373 AB, .367, 18 HR, 77 RBI, .367/.395/.617, 170 OPS+

WAR-4.3

Wins Above Replacement-4.3 (8th)

WAR Position Players-4.3 (4th)

Offensive WAR-4.2 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as LF-85 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Frog Redus made my list in 1925 and then had an off season in 1926. In this “off season,” Redus hit “just” .324 with an on-base percentage of .393. However, there was a lot of hitting going on around the Negro National League during this time, so that wasn’t enough to put him on my All-Star team. Redus is back this year with his best season ever. If he could have put more of these seasons together, he could have made the Hall of Fame.

                Baseball Reference says, “ In 1927, Redus batted .351. He was among the NNL leaders in every extra-base category, with 15 homers (third behind Willie Wells and Stearnes), 18 doubles (tying Bell and Steel Arm Davis for 4th) and 7 triples (tying for third behind Stearnes and Creacy).”

                John Fleming of St. Louis Bullpen picked his 10 greatest players in St. Louis Stars history and Redus was seventh. Fleming wrote, “Nicknamed ‘Frog’, Wilson Redus was one of the most tenured Stars players, ranking 5th in games played with the organization, and the outfielder, while not having quite the highest highs among the team, was a model of consistency of being a regularly terrifying offensive force. In his five full seasons with the Stars, from 1925 through 1929, Redus never had a batting average under .300 and was a consistent power hitter, belting 22 home runs with a league-best 82 runs batted in in 1928.” 

                He’ll probably make this list one more time, next season.

LF-Steel Arm Davis, Chicago American Giants, 31 Years Old

323 AB, .396, 3 HR, 68 RBI, .396/.443/.545, 166 OPS+

WAR-3.8

WAR Position Players-3.8 (5th)

Offensive WAR-3.8 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Hit By Pitch-3

1st Time All-Star-Walter “Steel Arm” Davis was born on June 22, 1896 in Wortham, Texas. The six-foot-one, 175 pound lefty outfielder, first baseman, and pitcher started as a hurler for the Dayton Marcos and Chicago Giants (not American Giants) in 1920. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1921 or ’22 and then pitched 66 1/3 innings for the Detroit Stars in 1923. Then Davis had another stretch, from 1924 to 1926, in which he didn’t play in the Negro National League before being picked up by the American Giants and made a leftfielder. He’s the first from this squad to make my list in leftfield since Earl Gurley in 1925.

                Davis helped lead Chicago to the playoffs and was fantastic. In the Championship Series against Birmingham, Steel Arm belted .400 (eight-for-20) with a double, a triple, and two homers as the American Giants won the Series, 4-1. In the World Series against Atlantic City, he hit .361 (13-for-36) with a double, two triples, and a homer as Chicago won, 5-3-1.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes, “As it happens, Davenport’s bugs would be disappointed in the spring of 1927, as that season Davis returned to the NNL and Chicago.  According to Baseball-Reference.com he hit .417 and slugged .591 that first year back in the NNL (with the unlikely total of one walk), and followed up with three more solid seasons as an outfielder, batting .322, .302, and .329 in a home park that could cut scoring by as much as 50 percent. It’s possible that the best hitters on the American Giants during these years (Davis and PythiasRuss) were as good as the best hitters on the St. Louis Stars (Willie Wells, Mule Suttles), who played in the home run haven of Stars Park. (At least they were a lot closer than their raw stats would suggest.)”

CF-Turkey Stearnes, Detroit Stars, 26 Years Old

1923 1924 1925 1926

340 AB, .350, 19 HR, 114 RBI, .350/.429/.662, 191 OPS+

WAR-5.2

Wins Above Replacement-5.2 (6th)

WAR Position Players-5.2 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-5.2 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2000)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Triples-12 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-114 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-56 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-15.4 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-At this point in his career, Stearnes reminds me of Mike Trout – an all-time great who can’t make it to the postseason. Stearnes will be there eventually, but for right now he’ll have to settle for being the Negro National League’s best centerfielder (another similarity to Mr. Trout). In case you’re interested, those 114 league-leading RBIs would have been 204 in 162 games. He’ll never play 90 or more games in a season again, so he’ll never have over 100 RBIs for the rest of his career.

                Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “The 1927-28 California Winter League season began with the initially distressing news that Commissioner Landis would ban major- and minor-league players from competing against blacks in Southern California’s winter league. As it happened, ‘[M]ajor leaguers were eventually limited to playing only 30 days after the end of the major league season, while minor leaguers were not affected at all. Once the dust settled, winter league play commenced with the Royal Giants, Pirrone All-Stars, Orange County, and the Cleveland Stars from back east. Stearnes this time played with Cleveland, teaming with Wells, Cooper, and Frank Duncan, among others. It was one of Stearnes’ best California campaigns: He ensured that the Stars were competitive (finishing second) and, according to William McNeil, led the league in homers (7) and had a robust batting average of .377. He was back again in 1928-29 with Cleveland; his superlative hitting helped the team to a first-place finish and championship win against Shell Oil.”

RF-Branch Russell, St. Louis Stars, 31 Years Old

1924 1925 1926

391 AB, .320, 11 HR, 57 RBI, .320/.380/.494, 135 OPS+

WAR-2.9

WAR Position Players-2.9 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.8 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

4th Time All-Star-Because of the extreme hitters park the St. Louis Stars called home, they always have a lot of players on this list. They have six of their eight position players on this list, everything but catcher and centerfield. That’s right, believe it or not, one of their position players that didn’t make my list was Cool Papa Bell. However, this man, who played next to him, is on my list for the fourth time. He just isn’t going to have enough playing time to make Cooperstown or my Hall.

                Since there isn’t much to write about Russell and I’ve covered the St. Louis ballpark ad nauseam, I’m going to talk about the most famous thing about St. Louis in 1927, Charles Lindbergh flying the Spirit of St. Louis.

                Pioneers of Flight says, “On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight in history, flying his Spirit of St. Louis from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France.

                “In 1919 New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize for the completion of the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris. Early in 1927, Charles Lindbergh obtained the backing of nine St. Louis investors to compete for the prize.

                “Lindbergh contacted Ryan Airlines in San Diego to build an airplane for the flight. To honor his supporters, he named it the Spirit of St. Louis. When he successfully reached Paris, Lindbergh became a world hero who would remain in the public eye for decades. His flight touched off the ‘Lindbergh boom’ in aviation—aircraft industry stocks rose in value, and interest in flying skyrocketed.”

                The flight took 33 ½ hours.

1926 Eastern Colored League All-Star Team

P-Nip Winters, HIL, 4th MVP

P-Rats Henderson, AC

P-Claude Grier, AC

P-Willie Gisentaner, NS/NLG

P-Red Ryan, HIL

P-Phil Cockrell, HIL

P-Willis Flournoy, BRG

P-Bullet Campbell, HIL

P-Joe Strong, BBS

P-Oscar Levis, CSE

C-Biz Mackey, HIL

C-Bill Johnson, HBG

1B-Martin Dihigo, CSE

1B-Robert Hudspeth, NLG

1B-George Carr, HIL

2B-Charlie Smith, BRG

3B-Judy Johnson, HIL

3B-John Beckwith, BBS/HBG

SS-Dick Lundy, AC

SS-Pelayo Chacon, CSE

CF-Clint Thomas, HIL

CF-Oscar Charleston, HBG, Inducted in Ron’s HOF

RF-Jud Wilson, BBS

RF-Otto Briggs, HIL

RF-Cleo Smith, NS

P-Nip Winters, Hilldale Club, 27 Years Old, 4th MVP

1923 1924 1925

175 2/3 IP, 17-4, 2.92 ERA, 72 K, 148 ERA+, 3.86 FIP, 1.173 WHIP

106 AB, .264, 1 HR, 18 RBI, .264/.333/.415, 104 OPS+

WAR-5.1

Wins Above Replacement-5.1 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-4.6 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Hilldale Club

53-33-2, 1st in ECL

Manager Frank Warfield

OPS+-107, 2nd in league

ERA+-115, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Nip Winters, 5.1

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-5.1 (4th Time)

Wins-17 (4th Time)

Win-Loss %-.810

Strikeouts (as batter)-19

4th Time All-Star-According to Baseball Reference, Hilldale Club was the pennant winner in the Eastern Colored League. However, it didn’t play in the Colored World Series, the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants did. Wikipedia explains: “During August, the Cuban Stars clung to their lead in the pennant race, with the Bacharach Giants, the Harrisburg Giants, the Hilldale Club, and the Lincoln Giants all remaining in the mix. But by August 31, the Bacharach Giants had moved into first place with a 31–20 record. A week later, the Bacharach Giants were solidly in first place with a 33–20 (.623) record and four games remaining before the scheduled September 15 end of the season. The second-place Harrisburg Giants had a 25–17 (.595) record, and the third-place Hilldale Club had a 34–24 (.586) record. (Because of the unbalanced schedule, championships were awarded to the team with the highest winning percentage.) An article in the Afro-American newspaper provided a retrospective of the season, saying that with the Bacharach Giants’ move from also-ran to first place, ‘The Bacharach Giants have astonished the world in the last six weeks.’”

                Whoever won the pennant, the best player in the league for the fourth straight season was Nip Winters. This is his last Most Valuable Player award from me, but what an incredible stretch he had from 1923-to-1926. The way Winters dominated the league was very Koufax-esque for these years and while he pitched in a stadium, Hilldale Park, that slightly favored the pitcher, it didn’t help him as much as Koufax was helped by his stadium.     

P-Rats Henderson, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 29 Years Old

1923 1924 1925

178 IP, 12-7, 2.58 ERA, 100 K, 168 ERA+, 3.10 FIP, 1.152 WHIP

73 AB, .164, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .164/.228/.192, 15 OPS+

WAR-4.9

Wins Above Replacement-4.9 (2nd)

WAR for Pitchers-5.1 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

WAR for Pitchers-5.1

Innings Pitched-178 (3rd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.101

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.10

Adj. Pitching Runs-33

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.3

4th Time All-Star-There might be good arguments that Henderson should have been the Eastern Colored League Most Valuable Player (as awarded by me) instead of Nip Winters. He was arguably the better pitcher and his team won the ECL pennant. Someday, when I’m 120 years old and finish this project, I’ll go back and research everything over again. For right now, Henderson will just have to settle for the honor of having his best season ever and leading his team to the Colored World Series against the Chicago American Giants. Rats pitched in five of the 11 games, starting four of them, and going 1-1 with a 2.01 ERA. It wasn’t enough as Chicago won, 5-4-2.

                Baseball Reference says, “ In 1926, the diminutive moundsman started off 2-5 but wound up 15-8 at year’s end, trailing Red Grier and Winters for the ECL lead in wins. He was 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in the 1926 Negro World Series. He won game eight, but with a chance to put it away in game ten, he lost to Wee Willie Powell; the Bacharach Giants wound up falling in 11 to the Chicago American Giants.”

                According to Dr. Layton Revel, who wrote Forgotten Heroes: Arthur “Rats” Henderson, here were the league standings (they differ from Baseball Reference’s):

                Eastern Colored League (1926)

Atlantic City Bacharach Giants 34-20 .630 1st

Harrisburg Giants                       25-17 .595 2nd

Hilldale                                         34-24 .586 3rd

Cuban Stars (East)                      28-21 .571 4th

New York Lincoln Giants           19-22 .463 5th

Baltimore Black Sox                   18-29 .383 6th

Brooklyn Royal Giants               7-20   .259 7th

Newark Stars                               1-10   .090 8th

P-Claude Grier, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 22 Years Old

174 1/3 IP, 13-8, 3.30 ERA, 141 K, 131 ERA+, 3.21 FIP, 1.250 WHIP

66 AB, .197, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .197/.312/.227, 48 OPS+

WAR-3.7

Wins Above Replacement-3.7 (4th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.5 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 58 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.279 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-26

Saves-2

Strikeouts-141

Games Started-20

Complete Games-19

Bases on Balls-79

Batters Faced-752

1st Time All-Star-Claude Bonds Grier was born on March 24, 1904 in Catawba County, North Carolina. The six-foot, 182 pound lefty pitcher started with the Washington Potomacs in 1924 and led the league with two shutouts. In 1925, the Potomacs moved to Wilmington and so did Grier. He then went to Atlantic City that same season and showed a cannon arm, leading the league in strikeouts per nine innings pitched. This season, he had his best season ever as he helped the Bacharach Giants win the pennant.

                Grier started four of the 11 World Series games against the Chicago American Giants, going 2-2 with a 4.55 ERA. Chicago beat Atlantic City, 5-4-2, to take the crown.

                Kevin Griffin of the Hickory Daily Record writes, “It is the final resting place of Claude ‘Red’  Grier, a man who may soon be officially recognized as the first pitcher to throw a World Series no-hitter.

                “He recorded his historic achievement in Game 3 of the 1926 Colored World Series while pitching for the Atlantic City-based Bacharach Giants.

                “Grier walked six batters and struck out eight in the game. His team defeated the Chicago American Giants 10-0 that day but would go on to lose the series.

                “Grier’s no-hitter will likely take on a new significance following Major League Baseball’s announcement in December that they would be recognizing the Negro Leagues as major leagues and will be incorporating the statistics into the record of Major League Baseball.”

                Grier died at the age of 62 on March 1, 1967 in Newton, North Carolina.

P-Willie Gisentaner, Newark Stars/New York Lincoln Giants, 26 Years Old

111 IP, 5-7, 3.49 ERA, 56 K, 125 ERA+, 4.08 FIP, 1.270 WHIP

79 AB, .304, 2 HR, 14 RBI, .304/.353/.430, 114 OPS+

WAR-3.3

Wins Above Replacement-3.3 (6th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.7 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 46 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Newark Stars

1-10, 5th in ECL

Manager Andy Harris

OPS+-64, 8th in league

ERA+-58, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Cleo Smith, 0.3

New York Lincoln Giants

22-31-1, 5th in ECL

Manager John Henry Lloyd

OPS+-101, 3rd in league

ERA+-80, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Willie Gisentaner, 3.0

Led in:

Wild Pitches-4

1st Time All-Star-William “Willie” Gisentaner was born on December 11, 1899 in Ozark, Alabama. The five-foot-11, 162 pound lefty pitcher and outfielder had a fascinating career. He started with the Columbus Buckeyes and Chicago American Giants in 1921. In 1922 and ’23, he pitched for the Kansas City Monarchs before moving to the Bacharach Giants. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1924 and then pitched for the ECL Harrisburg Giants in 1925, before coming to the Newark Stars and New York Lincoln Giants this year. It was his best year ever.

                Newark lasted just 11 games as a Major League team and then folded.

                Stephen V. Rice of SABR writes, “Gisentaner began the 1926 season on the Newark Stars. After the team disbanded in late June, he moved to the New York Lincoln Giants, managed by Pop Lloyd. On August 15 the left-hander pitched ‘air-tight ball’ in the Lincoln Giants’ 7-2 victory over the Cuban Stars; Martín Dihigo’s two-run homer accounted for the Stars’ runs. The Lincoln Giants crushed Hilldale, 11-1, on September 12; Gisentaner struck out nine in the seven-inning contest and clouted a home run.

                “In October 1942, at the age of 42, Gisentaner enlisted in the US Army. According to the enlistment record, his civil occupation was porter and his marital status was ‘separated, without dependents.’ The name of his spouse is unknown.

                “Gisentaner’s name does not appear in the rolls of World War II casualties, so presumably he survived the war. Research has yet to reveal what became of him after the war. The date and place of his death are unknown.”

P-Red Ryan, Hilldale Club, 28 Years Old

1923 1924 1925

163 IP, 8-11, 3.48 ERA, 71 K, 125 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, 1.245 WHIP

62 AB, .226, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .226/.262/.274, 46 OPS+

WAR-2.7

Wins Above Replacement-2.7 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.6 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Bases on Balls per 9 IP-2.485

Saves-2

Hits Allowed-158 (2nd Time)

Losses-11

4th Time All-Star-After having a year in 1925 in which he pitched only 52 innings, Ryan was back to being a workhorse this season and, despite a poor won-loss record, had a good year, making his fourth consecutive All-Star list. He’s going to have a short Major League career, but he’s going to make the most of it. It seems strange that a good pitcher like Ryan went 8-11 on a team that went 53-33-2.

                 Michael Haupert of SABR has an article detailing the ownership history of the Hilldale squad. He writes, “Austin D. Thompson, a 19-year-old ballplayer from Darby, Pennsylvania, organized the Hilldale Athletic Club in the spring of 1910. Hilldale was one of a number of Philadelphia-area amateur teams that competed against one another. Darby was an African-American enclave of 6,300 located five miles southwest of Philadelphia. Thompson started Hilldale on the road to prominence, but he was not around to see them reach it. By the end of the season he was gone, replaced by Ed Bolden (pictured above), a volunteer scorekeeper for the team.

                “Thompson was barely older than the players on his team and did not foresee the true potential of his baseball club. Bolden, at 28, was also young, but was more mature and had much more business experience than Thompson. He also had a vision for the team, one that extended far beyond the confines of a local amateur club. As time would prove, he possessed unparalleled marketing skills. The combination of Thompson’s youth and Bolden’s experience led to the change in leadership.

                “Under his leadership, the club grew from a local amateur organization to a professional powerhouse. During his two decades in charge, Bolden built some of the best Black ballclubs in the East. From 1923 to 1928, he also presided over the Eastern Colored League (ECL), of which Hilldale was a charter member. All the while, he maintained a full-time position at the post office — a heavy workload that would eventually take its toll.”

P-Phil Cockrell, Hilldale Club, 31 Years Old

1924 1925

133 2/3 IP, 9-4, 3.77 ERA, 60 K, 115 ERA+, 4.37 FIP, 1.234 WHIP

46 AB, .217, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .217/.333/.457, 115 OPS+

WAR-2.2

WAR for Pitchers-1.6 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Home Runs Allowed-11

Putouts as P-15 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as P-4.04 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as P-3.53 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-If you’ve read everything I’ve written above, God bless you! Also, you will have noticed that despite having the best record in the league — according to Baseball Reference — Hilldale didn’t win the Eastern Colored League crown, Atlantic City did. Rats Henderson’s blurb has the official standings of the time and you can see the teams have much fewer games played than the BR standings. My point, in regards to Hilldale, is just because it didn’t win the official pennant, doesn’t mean it wasn’t an outstanding squad.

                Baseball History Daily has an article on Chappie Johnson (pictured above) in which Cockrell is mentioned. It says, “In 1927, W. Rollo Wilson of The Pittsburgh Courier called Chappie Johnson ‘one of four men who have been real managers in colored baseball.’  Johnson, he explained, did his own ‘booking, financing, and directing,’ in addition to managing his clubs on the field.

                “Then, as was The Courier’s routine when interviewing past players, Wilson asked Johnson to name his all-time team:

                “’I’ll pick you one and will challenge anyone to name a better outfit. On this team of my choosing there will be nothing but smart men…Here’s your team and note that old-timers are few and far between:

Pitchers: George Wilson, Nip Winters, Phil Cockrell, Rats Henderson, Rube Foster, Joe Williams, Bullet Rogan

Catchers:  Biz Mackey, Bruce Petway, George Dixon

1B:  Ray Wilson

2B: John Henry Lloyd

SS: Dick Lundy

3B: Oliver Marcelle

Utility: John Beckwith

OF: Pete Hill, Oscar Charleston, Jesse Barber, Cristobal Torriente.”

                That’s quite a pitching squad Cockrell is part of.

P-Willis Flournoy, Brooklyn Royal Giants, 30 Years Old

1923 1924

62 IP, 5-2, 2.32 ERA, 34 K, 187 ERA+, 3.96 FIP, 1.145 WHIP

23 AB, .217, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .217/.280/.217, 37 OPS+

WAR-2.0

WAR for Pitchers-2.0 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star teams. Impossible)

Brooklyn Royal Giants

11-24, 7th in ECL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-83, 7th in league

ERA+-115, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Willis Flournoy, 2.0

Led in:

1926 ECL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.32

Walks & Hits per IP-1.145

Hits per 9 IP-6.823

Adjusted ERA+-187

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-When covering the National and American Leagues where official stats have been meticulously tabulated for many years, it’s much easier to compare players to one another. For one thing, all of the teams play the same amount of games which makes comparisons easier. Take Willis Flournoy’s 1926 season. He led the league in ERA and Adjusted ERA+, but still finished sixth in Wins Above Replacement. That’s because while some teams like Hilldale have over 70 official games, Brooklyn played just 35.

Retro Seasons says, “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.”

                There just isn’t much about many of these ECL individual players which is why I’m putting a lot of history of the teams.

P-Bullet Campbell, Hilldale Club, 30 Years Old

120 1/3 IP, 10-5, 3.81 ERA, 50 K, 114 ERA+, 4.24 FIP, 1.404 WHIP

41 AB, .244, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .244/.311/.366, 85 OPS+

WAR-2.0

WAR for Pitchers-1.8 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Bullet” Campbell was born on March 26, 1896 in Savannah, Georgia. The five-foot-10, 190 pound righty throwing pitcher started his Major League career in 1924, pitching one game for HIlldale. In 1925, he pitched nine games with a 6.40 ERA. He was 29 at this point in his career and Bullet certainly didn’t look like he’d be sticking around. Then in 1926, at the age of 30, he finally put it together and would have a couple of good seasons.          

                Wikipedia saya, “William Henry Campbell (February 2, 1896 – October 28, 1968), nicknamed ‘Bullet’ and ‘Zip’, was an American Negro league pitcher in the 1920s.

                “A native of Savannah, Georgia, Campbell made his Negro leagues debut in 1923 with the Washington Potomacs. He spent most of his career with the Hilldale Club, and played for Hilldale during its 1925 Colored World Series championship season, though it does not appear that Campbell pitched in the championship series. Campbell finished his career in 1929 with the Lincoln Giants.“

                The Philadelphia Baseball Review says, “Hilldale was a charter member of the Eastern Colored League in 1923 and won the first-place pennants in 1923, 1924, and 1925. They lost the inaugural 1924 Colored World Series to the Kansas City Monarchs five games to four (with one tie). Next season they won a rematch with the Monarchs five games to one. The 1925 club featured star catcher and cleanup hitter Biz Mackey, third baseman Judy Johnson, and outfielder Clint Thomas. Player-manager Frank Warfield’s pitching staff was led by left-handed ace Nip Winters and spitballer Phil Cockrell. Hilldale dropped to third in 1926 and fifth in 1927.”

You can see there is once again not a lot of mention about Bullet Campbell, as is the case with many of these players. So I’m giving you a chance to learn the history of the outstanding Hilldale Club.

P-Joe Strong, Baltimore Black Sox, 23 Years Old

1923 1925

103 1/3 IP, 3-5, 4.18 ERA, 28 K, 104 ERA+, 4.43 FIP, 1.461 WHIP

40 AB, .200, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .200/.256/.250, 39 OPS+

WAR-1.9

WAR for Pitchers-1.9 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Baltimore Black Sox

22-38-2, 8th in ECL

Manager Ben Taylor

OPS+-83, 6th in league

ERA+-92, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Jud Wilson, 3.2

Led in:

Fielding % as P-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-Strong is back for the second consecutive season on my list and the third time in four years. He didn’t have a good won-loss record and actually walked more batters (36) than he struck out (28), but in a league with a dearth of good hurlers, Strong still shined. He’s going to have many better seasons down the road, but he’s just not going to have enough of them to make the real Hall of Fame or either of my fake ones.

                Interestingly enough, the Baltimore Black Sox have a Facebook page that started back in 2013. According to the page, “The Baltimore Black Sox were established in 1913 and played their last games in 1935. They won the 1929 championship.” The author of the page says, “The 1913 date is crucial for historical reasons, for socio-cultural reasons, but mostly for the following: African Americans founded the team. People used to think that white men brought the team in 1916; that’s wrong too. Charlie Spedden brought the team in 1917. But people dated the start of the BLACK Sox to the year they thought white men brought it.”

                While the black baseball players couldn’t be part of the American or National white leagues, it seems white people had no problems with owning some of these Negro League teams. I’ve read it throughout my admittedly scant research and it’s actually a surprise to me. I don’t know if it was just to try to make a buck or feeling like they were doing the black ballplayers a favor, but it’s definitely unusual.

P-Oscar Levis, Cuban Stars East, 27 Years Old

1923 1924

76 IP, 7-2, 3.79 ERA, 24 K, 115 ERA+, 4.36 FIP, 1.224 WHIP

32 AB, .219, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .219/.242/.375, 67 OPS+

WAR-1.9

WAR for Pitchers-1.8 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1923 and ’24, Levis declined a bit in 1925 and missed this great honor. He’s back this year and probably next year and then he’ll be done. Levis was never a man who pitched a lot of innings, but he accomplished a lot with those he did compile. For whatever reason, starting this season, his strikeout-to-walk ratio went down dramatically and he actually walked more batters than he K’d this year.

                Baseball Reference says, “He was 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA for Habana in 1925-1926, leading the loop with 15 games pitched, two shutouts, 91 1/3 IP and 52 strikeouts.  He went 7-2 with a save and a 3.79 ERA (114 ERA+) for the Cuban Stars in 1926. He tied Sam CooperCharles Corbett and Ping Gardner for 9th in wins in the ECL, tied Henry Gillespie for second with two shutouts (one shy of Gardner) and was 6th in WHIP (between Eustaquio Pedroso and Phil Cockrell. He became a US citizen that year. 

                “Levis was 3-1 for Marianao in Cuba’s 1926-1927 Triangular Season.”

                This Jamaican hurler was 27 years old at this time and has been among the elite pitchers in the Eastern Colored League during its whole time of existence. It certainly looked like only good times were ahead. He’s not done making these lists, but he’s not going to be in the Majors too much longer. His lack of innings pitched and his short career would keep Levis from being among the all-time greats.

C-Biz Mackey, Hilldale Club, 28 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924 1925

312 AB, .327, 10 HR, 76 RBI, .327/.400/.522, 151 OPS+

WAR-3.4

Wins Above Replacement-3.4 (5th)

WAR Position Players-3.4 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-3.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require six more All-Star seasons. 17 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

Offensive WAR-3.3 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-163

Doubles-25

Runs Created-64 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-38

Def. Games as C-79 (2nd Time)

Putouts as C-351 (2nd Time)

Assists as C-66 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as C-11 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as C-7 (2nd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Mackey’s career from 1921-to-1926 was one of the all-time great stretches by a backstop in Major League History.  During that time, he hit .349 with a .403 on-base percentage and a 534 slugging percentage. His OPS+ was 156. The only thing that hurts him is the lack of games played by the two leagues (Negro National League and Eastern Colored League) in which he participated. Mackey is not going to have any more great seasons in his career, but with catchers, it’s always hard to tell if they’ll make my list or not, so I don’t know if he’ll be back.

                David Adler of mlb.com writes, “There were three great catchers of the Negro Leagues era: Josh Gibson, Roy Campanella and Biz Mackey.

                “An unparalleled all-around catcher whom the great Negro Leagues hurlers loved to pitch to, Mackey could do it all behind the plate. He was sensational defensively and threw out baserunners with ease even from a crouch. In the minds of many of his peers, none topped Mackey at his position.

                “In October of 1926, Mackey’s Hilldale team faced an All-Star team of Major Leaguers with a young Lefty Grove on the mound. Hilldale beat the Philadelphia Athletics Hall of Famer’s squad, 6-1, and Mackey notched a hit off Grove himself. He knocked hits off other Major Leaguers like Bullet Joe Bush, and played against the likes of Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons.”

                It’s no mean feat to be compared to Josh Gibson and Roy Campanella.

C-Bill Johnson, Harrisburg Giants, 30 Years Old

1925

92 AB, .304, 3 HR, 15 RBI, .304/.340/.554, 142 OPS+

WAR-0.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 198 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Passed Balls-4

2nd Time All-Star-This is going to be the last year Johnson is going to catch regularly as he’s going to move to Hilldale Club in 1927 and it’s going to move him to leftfield. It’s possible HIlldale just wanted more of Johnson’s bat in the lineup but his hitting is going to start to decline in 1927. This was probably his best hitting year as he set career highs in batting average and slugging percentage. Maybe it helped him that Oscar Charleston was a teammate.

                There’s not much more to say about Johnson. I wrapped up his career in his 1925 blurb. Wikipedia does mention the history of the Harrisburg Giants, saying, “The Harrisburg Giants were a U.S. professional Negro league baseball team based in HarrisburgPennsylvania. Originally formed in April 1890 by Colonel William ‘C.W.’ Strothers as an amateur team, they became semi-professional by 1894. They joined the Eastern Colored League (ECL) for the 1924 season with Hall of Fame center fielder Oscar Charleston as playing manager. The Giants became known primarily for their hitting; along with Charleston, outfielder/first baseman Heavy Johnson, winner of the batting triple crown for the 1923 Kansas City Monarchs, was signed away from the rival Negro National League. Speedy outfielder Fats Jenkins, a well-known professional basketball player and member of the New York Rens, also played for Harrisburg throughout its tenure in the ECL.”

                Wikipedia will go on to mention Harrisburg finished second in the ECL, but Baseball Reference has them as fourth.

Martin Dihigo, Baseball card ca. 1945 : Credit: Collection of the Simthsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

1B-Martin Dihigo, Cuban Stars East, 21 Years Old

1924 1925

152 AB, .375, 14 HR, 44 RBI, .375/.475/.737, 229 OPS+

35 IP, 3-1, 3.86 ERA, 28 K, 113 ERA+, 2.71 FIP, 1.400 WHIP

WAR-4.3

Wins Above Replacement-4.3 (3rd)

WAR Position Players-3.6 (1st)

Offensive WAR-2.9 (2nd)

Defensive WAR-0.7 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

1926 ECL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-3.6

Batting Average-.375

Slugging %-.737

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.212

Home Runs-14

Adjusted OPS+-229

Adj. Batting Runs-27

Adj. Batting Wins-2.6

Offensive Win %-.890

AB per HR-10.9

3rd Time All-Star-Dihigo first made my list in 1924 as a shortstop then made it in 1925 as a second baseman. This year is the third consecutive year Dihigo has been on my list and at his third different position – first base. His hitting, which had been improving yearly, was off the charts this season as you can tell by the different categories in which he led above. It would be the first of three consecutive Major League seasons Dihigo would hit double-digit dingers.

                Peter C. Bjarkman of SABR writes, “The skinny kid who had arrived in the early 1920s with the Cuban Stars had filled out and developed wrists of steel in the mold of Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron. Holway, arguably the preeminent historian of the Negro leagues, has ranked Dihigo among the greatest of all black sluggers. He regularly led the Cuban circuit in home runs, in ballparks where outfield fences were a long way from home plate—if they existed at all. While ballpark considerations and the short schedules of the Caribbean leagues diminished the impact of Dihigo’s raw hitting numbers, Holway’s reconstructed record for the Cuban great (5,496 at bats, 1,660 hits, 134 HRs, .304 BA) remains impressive by almost any standard of measure.”

                The reason Dihigo isn’t making my Hall of Fame isn’t lack of talent, but lack of Major League seasons. He played a lot in Cuban leagues and various other “minor” leagues, but didn’t play enough MLB seasons to qualify for my Hall.

1B-Robert Hudspeth, New York Lincoln Giants, 32 Years Old

1923

183 AB, .372, 7 HR, 39 RBI, .372/.416/.574, 169 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR Position Players-2.1 (7th)

Offensive WAR-2.0 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 40 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1923, Hudspeth had a good enough season in ’24 to make my list again, but, for whatever reason, didn’t. Someday when I’m 166 years old and finish this project, I’ll have to go back and correct errors and that might be one of them. Hud’s batting average declined to .262 in 1925 and then he came back this year, at the age of 32, with his best season ever. In 1927, he’s going to go to the Brooklyn Royal Giants after four years with New York. Then, in 1928, he’ll be back with the Lincoln Giants, but only for two games. Hudspeth will finish his career in 1929 with the Lincoln Giants and Hilldale Club. He would die young in 1935 at the age of 41.

                Edwin Ocasio-Lopez (EOL?) writes, “High Pockets’ antics at first base were said to have added humor to the game, and because of his height, he could stretch every which way to catch the ball when thrown his way. The San Antonio Evening News described his sleight of hand antics at first base by calling him the ‘Hermann’ of baseball, referring to a ‘Hermann Pass,’ which is a sleight of hand card trick used to control cards. Before becoming a full-time professional baseball player, High Pockets worked as a Pullman Porter. Pullman Porters were African American men hired to assist passengers on George M. Pullman’s luxury railroad sleeping cars. Although Porters may not have been paid a ‘living wage,’ this was a career that was sought after by many African Americans during this time.”

1B-George Carr, Hilldale Club, 31 Years Old

1920 1921 1925

279 AB, .315, 2 HR, 45 RBI, .315/.412/.441, 133 OPS+

WAR-1.9

WAR Position Players-1.9 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.1 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Putouts-753

Def.  Games as 1B-77

Putouts as 1B-752

Assists as 1B-35 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 1B-16 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as 1B-55

4th Time All-Star-After having his best season ever in 1925, Carr declined a bit in 1926 but was still good enough to make my list. One ability in which he improved was drawing the base on ball as he walked 43 times this year compared to 25 in 1925. That’s why, even though his average dropped 40 points (.355 to .315), his on-base percentage increased (.409 to .412). Of his full seasons, 1925 and ’26 are the two with his highest OBPs.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz, in Forgotten Heroes: George “Tank” Carr, write, “In 1926 Hilldale played a six game exhibition series versus Earle Mack’s All Stars during the first two weeks of October. The series was played in Wilmington (DE), Bloomington (PA) and at Hilldale Park. Earle Mack’s team included Major League stars George Burns, Jimmie Dykes, Lefty Grove, Henie Manush, Jack Quinn and Rube Walberg. In the final game of the series which was played on October 9th, Nip Winters defeated Philadelphia ace Rube Walberg by the score of 4-3. Hilldale dominated the Major Leaguers winning 5 of the 6 games played. Earle Mack’s All Stars were also billed as the Major League All Stars during their post season play. The series was a success for Hilldale on the field but a disappointment at the box office. The final two games that were played at Hilldale Park only drew 3,102 fans.

                “George Carr led Hilldale in hitting during their exhibition games against the Major Leaguers. Tank went 9 for 25 for a .360 batting average.”

2B-Charlie Smith, Brooklyn Royal Giants, 24 Years Old

102 AB, .363, 2 HR, 17 RBI, .363/.435/.500, 155 OPS+

WAR-1.3

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Charles E. “Chino” or “Charlie” Smith was born on September 24, 1901 in Hamlet, North Carolina. The five-foot-11, 180 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder and second baseman started his career in 1925 with the Royal Giants, hitting .316 with five homers. This season, he didn’t play many games, only 28, but was the best second baseman in the league. He’s only going to have a four-year Major League career, but he’s going to end up with a final average of .408. You’re not going to believe his next two seasons.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes, “Charles Smith, now usually known as ‘Chino’ (his nickname in Cuba), but called simply ‘Charlie Smith’ in the newspapers of the late 1920s, died in New York City in the early hours of the morning on January 15, 1932. Aged only 31 at his death, ‘Smitty’ was eulogized by the Homestead Grays’ Cumberland Posey as ‘one of the best hitters of all time’ (Pittsburgh Courier, January 23, 1932).  The New York Amsterdam News called him one of baseball’s ‘most outstanding characters and an all-time hitter whose ability drew many fans to the games in which he appeared’ (January 27, 1932).  He was a pugnacious, crowd-baiting hitter of ferocious line drives who terrified pitchers. Satchel Paige deemed him one of the two toughest outs he ever faced (the other being Jud Wilson).”

                I’ll have more on his death when I do his 1929 write-up. How do I know I’m writing him up in 1929? Trust me, I am!

Posed action of Pittsburgh Crawfords Judy Johnson

3B-Judy Johnson, Hilldale Club, 26 Years Old

1924 1925

335 AB, .325, 2 HR, 63 RBI, .325/.374/.436, 121 OPS+

4 1/3 IP, 0-0, 2.08 ERA, 3 K, 225 ERA+, 3.72 FIP, 1.846 WHIP

WAR-3.2

Wins Above Replacement-3.2 (7th)

WAR Position Players-3.2 (4th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (8th)

Defensive WAR-1.1 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Defensive WAR-1.1

Hits-109

Def. Games as 3B-87 (4th Time)

Putouts as 3B-92 (2nd Time)

Assists as 3B-158 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-19 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Johnson reigned as the Eastern Colored League’s best third baseman for the third consecutive year. In my opinion, this was his best season ever. He had years where he hit better, but his good stick this year combined with his dazzling fielding made this his best all-around campaign. It didn’t help Hilldale win the pennant. However, according to Baseball Reference, it did have the best record in the ECL.

                 Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “After Hilldale’s World Series victory, Johnson traveled to Florida to play winter ball. Florida was one of several winter venues for ballplayers — both black and white. Whether players went to Cuba, Mexico, Florida, or California, the reason was the same: The job of ballplayers was to play ball and these locations provided additional venues in which to play. Negro League ballplayers often received better pay in the winter leagues because their regular ballclubs frequently struggled financially and could not afford to pay a high wage.

                “In 1926 Hilldale failed to match its three prior pennants and finished second to the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants. Atlantic City went on to play the Chicago American Giants in an epic World Series of their own. Although Johnson hit .316 that year, he suffered an injury during the season — he was hit in the head by a pitch — that affected his batting over the next couple of years. ‘After he was hit in the head by a pitch, Johnson’s average slipped below .300 in 1927 and 1928, but he rebounded and hit .390 in 1929.’”

3B-John Beckwith, Baltimore Black Sox/Harrisburg Giants, 26 Years Old

1920 1922 1924 1925

199 AB, .332, 9 HR, 54 RBI, .332/.393/.593, 167 OPS+

1 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K, 9.03 FIP, 3.000 WHIP

WAR-1.8

WAR Position Players-1.8 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Black Sox Team Stats

Giants Team Stats

5th Time All-Star-The Mighty Beckwith played on Baltimore for the third consecutive season, but after 26 games, moved to Harrisburg. No matter where he played, Beckwith crushed the ball. This is the second time Beckwith has made my list playing the hot corner. He’s also made it three times as a shortstop. He has a reputation as a lazy fielder, but at this point in his career, his defensive stats aren’t bad.

                John Holway of SABR writes, “Yet Beckwith was fated, it seemed, always to be second fiddle.  Like Sam Crawford or Lou Gehrig, who played in the shadows of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, Beck always seemed to be upstaged, first by the flamboyant Oscar Charleston, later by the Herculean Josh Gibson. Yet in the seven years for which we have final or partial statistics, Beckwith rocked Negro league pitching for a lifetime batting average of .408. He hit over .400 no less than four of those years, between 1921 and 1929, yet three of those years he finished second – twice to Charleston, and once to Chino Smith. 

                “A year later, 1926, Beckwith and Charleston were playing on the same team, the old Harrisburg Giants. With Rap Dixon, Fats Jenkins, and Rev Cannady, the Giants had a truly formidable hitting club. Their pitching was weak, however, and they could finish only second, behind the Bacharachs. No statistics were published, but Baltimore fast baler Laymon Yokely winces at what he recalls as ‘the longest home run I ever saw. Beckwith hit it up in Newark stadium. It went through the smoke and out of sight.’”

SS-Dick Lundy, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 27 Years Old

1923 1924

198 AB, .354, 2 HR, 43 RBI, .354/.421/.510, 154 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR Position Players-2.4 (6th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (7th)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Atlantic City Bacharach Giants

43-28-1, 2nd in ECL, Lost WS to Chicago American Giants, 5-4-2

Manager Dick Lundy

OPS+-84, 5th in league

ERA+-128, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Rats Henderson, 4.9

Led in:

Putouts as SS-136

3rd Time All-Star-Lundy was the Eastern Colored League’s best shortstop in 1924, but in 1925, his hitting fell off. That year was his worst hitting year of his first eight years of Major League baseball. He came back this year, hitting for his highest average thus far (.354) and helping guide Atlantic City to the league crown. In the World Series against the Negro National League’s Chicago American Giants, Lundy hit .300 (12-for-40) with a double and a triple, but it wasn’t enough as Atlantic City fell to Chi-town, 5-4-2.

                Stephen V. Rice of SABR writes, “Lloyd became manager of the Lincoln Giants in 1926. Lundy replaced him as manager of the Bacharach Giants and led the team to the ECL pennant in 1926 and 1927. According to estimates by Seamheads.com, Lundy hit a robust .355 in 1926, far above the league average of .265.

                “With home games in Atlantic City, a popular tourist destination rife with illegal alcohol during Prohibition, Lundy ran a tight ship. ‘We have no trouble with discipline down in Atlantic City,’ he said. ‘Our players cannot drink or run around. If they do they are reported to the management. Fans expect a high-class ballplayer and they get one or else.’

                “The high-class Lundy was an intelligent and skillful leader, wrote columnist W. Rollo Wilson of the Pittsburgh Courier. ‘His remarkable playing is an inspiration and his men try to measure up to the standard’ he sets. His players ‘all like him and he never rides them. If they have brains he allows them to be used, and while he is absolutely the manager, he welcomes suggestions from anyone competent to make them.’”

SS-Pelayo Chacon, Cuban Stars East, 37 Years Old

125 AB, .344, 0 HR, 21 RBI, .344/.418/.440, 135 OPS+

WAR-1.5

Defensive WAR-0.4 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 111 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars East

29-22, 3rd in ECL

Manager Pelayo Chacon

OPS+-93, 4th in league

ERA+-114, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Martin Dihigo, 4.3

1st Time All-Star-Pelayo Chacon was born on September 22, 1888 in La Habana, Cuba. The five-foot-eight, 140 pound righty shortstop and first baseman started with Cuban Stars East in 1923 as a player-manager. His hitting never impressed, but his fielding was always among the best in the league. The reason Chacon finally made my list this season is he had a fluke hitting season, batting .344, the only time in his five-season Major League career he hit above .280.

                Wikipedia says, “Nicknamed ‘Cortina’ or ‘The Curtain’ he played from the age of 19, from 1908 to 1931 with several clubs, including AlmendaresAzulClub FéHabanaCuban House of David, the New York Cubans, and the Cuban Stars (East). Chacón also managed the New York Cubans from 1916 to 1919 where he also played shortstop.

                “When the Negro National League formed in 1920, Chacón played for the Hilldale Club, then moved to the Cuban Stars (East) where he played most of the rest of his career.

                “It appears he played his final games at the age of 42 for the Cuban House of David baseball team.

                “He was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.”

              Chacon died in Caracas, Venezuela on March 11, 1971 at the age of 82. Over his seven year managing career, Chacon guided Cuban Stars East to a 136-180 record, finishing in second once and third two times.

CF-Clint Thomas, Hilldale Club, 29 Years Old

1922 1924 1925

318 AB, .321, 9 HR, 78 RBI, .321/.379/.513, 143 OPS+

WAR-2.9

Wins Above Replacement-2.9 (9th)

WAR Position Players-2.9 (5th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-88 (2nd Time)

Total Bases-163

Triples-8 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-78

Stolen Bases-24

Caught Stealing-9

AB per SO-39.8

Def. Games as CF-88

Putouts as CF-208

Assists as CF-10 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as CF-2 (2nd Time)

Putouts as OF-208 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as CF-.991

4th Time All-Star-For a while now, Thomas has been one of the best outfielders in baseball, but after moving back to centerfield this season after three years of playing left, he had his best season ever. As most speedy people do, he stole a lot and hit a lot of three-baggers, leading the Eastern Colored League in both. However, after this season, it’s tough to judge whether or not he’ll make another one of these lists as his hitting fell off.

                Gary Joseph Cieradkowski writes, “DURING ONE SUCH ROAD TRIP in 1932, Clint Thomas made what has gone down to be the greatest catch in blackball history. Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, built a grandiose stadium to showcase the virtual All-Star team he was assembling. For the very first game played in Greenlee Field, the Crawfords hosted the Black Yankees. With the legendary Satchel Paige on the mound, the Craws expected opening day at the only black-owned sports complex to be an easy win for the home team. Unfortunately, Clint Thomas had other ideas.

                “With the Black Yanks up 1-0 and a few Crawfords on base, slugger Josh Gibson pounded a long fly ball to deep left center. The Hawk turned on his heels and peeled off for the fence, his back to the plate. The left fielder ran alongside yelling ‘Got it Hawk? Got it?’ Thomas just ran as fast as he could and when he reached the wall, stretched his arm out high and snagged the ball right at the top of the wall. The air went out of the Crawfords after that and the Black Yankees beat Paige. Ted Page, a member of the Crawfords that day remarked, ‘Clint could chase that ball into another world.’

                “…Finally, The Hawk and his second wife Ellen settled in West Virginia where he became a staff supervisor for the state’s Department of Mines and then a messenger for the State Senate, a post he held well into his 80’s. The old ball hawk passed away at the age of 94 in 1990.”

CF-Oscar Charleston, Harrisburg Giants, 29 Years Old, Inducted in Ron’s HOF

1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925

169 AB, .308, 10 HR, 43 RBI, .308/.438/.568, 174 OPS+

16 IP, 0-2, 5.63 ERA, 6 K, 79 ERA+, 6.15 FIP, 1.563 WHIP

WAR-1.8

WAR Position Players-1.8 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1976)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1926)

Harrisburg Giants

27-22, 4th in ECL

Manager Oscar Charleston

OPS+-113, 1st in league

ERA+-87, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Charleston, 1.8

Led in:

Stolen Bases-24 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-14.1 (5th Time)

7th Time All-Star-Charleston is the only Negro League player who has made my list all seven of the seasons I’ve covered these wonderful players and he’s going to make more. This wasn’t one of Charleston’s best seasons, but it would have easily been the greatest year of just about any other player. That consistency, that unbelievable skill, is the reason Charleston entered my Hall of Fame this year and also has a chance at making my ONEHOF (the One-entrant-a-year Hall of Fame).

                Tim Odzer of SABR writes, “After the 1925 regular season, Charleston played in an exhibition contest against a white ‘Bronx Giants’ team that featured a young Lou Gehrig. Gehrig went 1-for-2 with two walks, while Charleston went 4-for-6 with a home run. During his career, we have box scores for 53 games in which Charleston played against major-league players, hitting .318 with 11 home runs. He got hits against Walter JohnsonBob Feller, and Lefty Grove.

                “In addition to his domestic play, Charleston burnished his reputation as a baseball star through his play in Cuba. He was known as ‘El Terror de los Clubs,’ with one newspaper describing him as a man capable of fighting alone against other teams. During the time Charleston played in Cuba, it was a beisbol paradiso, as both major-league and Negro League stars spent their winters on the island. He had several superb seasons there and left quite an impression on Cuba’s baseball fans. In 1922–23, Charleston hit .446 in league games but was unable to qualify for the batting title when his Santa Clara team withdrew from the league because of a league decision that took away a win. In 1925 Charleston was part of a Cuban All-Star team that played against an All-Yankee team in front of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In 1926-27 Charleston was one of four players (along with Pablo ‘Champion’ Mesa, Tank Carr, and Dick Lundy) to hit over .400. Over 996 at-bats in Cuba, Charleston hit. 361 with 19 home runs and 58 stolen bases. His team also won three championships.”          

     

RF-Jud Wilson, Baltimore Black Sox, 30 Years Old

1923 1924 1925

161 AB, .373, 3 HR, 36 RBI, .373/.487/.559, 186 OPS+

WAR-3.2

Wins Above Replacement-3.2 (8th)

WAR Position Players-3.2 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-2.7 (3rd)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

On-Base %-.487

Stolen Bases-24

4th Time All-Star-After three seasons of being the Eastern Colored League’s best first baseman, Wilson was moved to rightfield this year. It will be the last season he plays the outfield regularly and the rest of his career he’ll be bouncing between first and third base. Boojum is the first rightfielder to make the list for Baltimore since Charlie Mason in 1924. Of course, Mason only played one game for the Black Sox, so that doesn’t really count.

                Joseph Gerard of SABR writes, “Back in Baltimore in 1926, Wilson hit .347, but the Black Sox slipped to 23-36, leaving them 30½ games behind the Bacharach Giants, who finished with an extraordinary record of 63-15. Wilson returned to Cuba that winter but saw limited action, hitting .333 in only 54 at-bats.”

                James A. Riley writes on nlbemuseum.com, “A savage, pure hitter who hit with power and was at this best in the clutch, Wilson could hit anything thrown to him and would have been an ideal designated hitter. Cum Posey considered him to be the most dangerous and consistent hitter in black baseball, calling him one of the stars of all time, and placed him on the all-time All-American team for a national magazine in 1945. So intense was his disdain and lack of respect for pitchers that he actually dared them to throw the ball. The left-handed slugger hit all varieties of pitching styles and all pitchers, including Satchel Paige, who considered him one of the two best hitters ever in black baseball.”

RF-Otto Briggs, Hilldale Club, 35 Years Old

346 AB, .283, 0 HR, 31 RBI, .283/.382/.327, 94 OPS+

WAR-1.5

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 65 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-88 (2nd Time)

At Bats-346 (2nd Time)

Plate Appearances-412 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-47 (2nd Time)

Singles-86 (2nd Time)

Times on Base-153 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as RF-88 (4th Time)

Putouts as RF-151 (2nd Time)

Assists as RF-10 (2nd Time)

Errors Committed as RF-7 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as RF-3

Double Plays Turned as OF-3

1st Time All-Star-Otto Richard Briggs was born on April 7, 1891 in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The five-foot-seven, 155 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder has been playing for Hilldale since their debut in 1923. In the 1924 World Series that his squad lost to the Monarchs, Briggs hit .233 (10-for-43) with three doubles and in the ’25 Series that Hilldale won over Kansas City, he hit .414 (12-for-29) with two doubles. He’s the first player to make my list as a rightfielder for Hilldale.

                Baseball Reference says, “Otto Briggs was a Negro League player from 1914-1930. He later managed. Primarily an outfielder, he was noted for good speed but a poor arm.

                “Briggs debuted in 1914 with the West Baden Sprudels. He hit .333 as a starting outfielder for the team in 1915; he also spent part of the season backing up Bingo DeMoss at second base for the Indianapolis ABCs. He was 10 for 32 with 3 walks and 2 doubles for Hilldale in 1917; he would spend the remainder of his playing career with Hilldale. During World War I, he served in the 368th Infantry Regiment in France. Returning to the US, he was just 3 for 20 with a walk for Hilldale in 1919 in their limited games against other top black teams. He hit .217/.265/.239 while playing error-free ball in the outfield in 12 games in 1920. That year, he was also 5 for 21 in exhibitions against white major leaguers.

                “Briggs went into decline after that, hitting .284 in 1926, .206 in 1927 and .236 in 1928 even though league offensive levels were high. Otto was 1 for 5 against white big leaguers in 1928. He batted .217 in 1930 to end his playing career.”

                He died at the age of 52 on October 28, 1943 in Philadelphia.

RF-Cleo Smith, Newark Stars/Baltimore Black Sox, 26 Years Old

34 AB, .235, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .235/.409/.382, 117 OPS+

WAR-0.3

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 214 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Stars Team Stats

Black Sox Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Cleveland “Cleo” Smith was born in 1900 in Virginia. The lefty hitting, righty throwing second baseman, third baseman, and outfielder started with the Black Sox in 1923, leading the Eastern Colored League in triples with six. In 1924, Smith played for Harrisburg and New York and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1925. This season, he made his first (and probably last) All-Star team as a fluke as I picked him because he was the Newark Stars’ best player. However, Newark played just 11 games and Smith participated in just nine of those.

                Wikipedia says of Newark, “The Newark Stars were a Negro league baseball team in the Eastern Colored League, based in Newark, New Jersey, in 1926. The team’s owner was Wilbur Crelin and its manager and third baseman was Andy Harris. The team featured outfielder Charlie Mason and second baseman George Scales; the other players were largely castoffs of other Eastern Colored League teams. Sol White, in his last appearance in uniform after a career spanning nearly 40 years in professional baseball, served as a bench coach. They played at Davids’ Stadium (later known as Ruppert Stadium), the home of the Newark Bears of the International League. The Stars disbanded mid-season, and only won one game, while losing 10.”

                There’s not much information on Smith. Unless he’s 121 years old, he’s probably dead, but Baseball Reference doesn’t list a date of death. He would finish his Major League career with the Philadelphia Tigers and the Black Sox in 1928.

1926 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Bill Foster, CAG, 1st MVP

P-William Bell, KCM

P-George Harney, CAG

P-Rube Curry, CAG

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM

P-Chet Brewer, KCM

P-Logan Hensley, SLS

P-Andy Cooper, DS

P-Bill McCall, ABC

P-Charley Wilson, DM

C-Mitchell Murray, SLS

C-Pythias Russ, CAG

1B-Mule Suttles, SLS

1B-Edgar Wesley, DS

2B-Dink Mothell, KCM

3B-Dewey Creacy, SLS

3B-Candy Jim Taylor, CEL

SS-Willie Wells, SLS

SS-Bill Riggins, DS

SS-Halley Harding, ABC

CF-Turkey Stearnes, DS

CF-Cristobal Torriente, KCM

CF-Cool Papa Bell, SLS

CF-Cando Lopez, CSW

RF-Branch Russell, SLS

P-Bill Foster, Chicago American Giants, 22 Years Old, 1st MVP

1925

174 2/3 IP, 13-4, 1.80 ERA, 111 K, 252 ERA+, 3.14 FIP, 0.979 WHIP

60 AB, .250, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .250/.297/.333, 62 OPS+

WAR-8.5

Wins Above Replacement-8.5 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-8.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1996)

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

Chicago American Giants

57-24-3, 2nd in NNL, Won CS over Kansas City Monarchs, 5-4; Won WS over Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 5-4-2

Managers Rube Foster (27-17-1) and Dave Malarcher (30-7-2)

OPS+-78, 6th in league

ERA+-166, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Bill Foster, 8.5

Led in:

1926 NNL Pitching Title (3rd Time)

Wins Above Replacement-8.5

WAR for Pitchers-8.3

Earned Run Average-1.80 (3rd Time)

Walk & Hits per IP-0.979 (3rd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-5.926 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-5 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-252 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-54

Adj. Pitching Wins-5.3

2nd Time All-Star-In Foster’s 1925 blurb, I wrote, “You are going to be absolutely dazzled by some of Willie’s upcoming seasons.” Here’s example number one as he dominated the league as a pitcher and received his first Most Valuable Player from me. He helped guide the American Giants to a second place finish and a playoff series against Kansas City, which they won, 5-4. Foster went 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA, starting three games and relieving in another. In the World Series against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, Foster pitched in four games, starting three, and went 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA. Chicago took the crown by beating AC, 5-4-2. I am calling this Foster’s best season ever and the American Giants’ best pitching season since Dave Brown in 1920.

                According to the stats from Baseball Reference, Brown won one game in the Championship Series against the Monarchs. Wikipedia begs to differ, saying, “In 1926, Foster won 23 games in a row and 26 overall, but his most amazing performance came the last day of the playoffs to determine the Negro National League title. Needing to win both games of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Monarchs, Foster hurled complete game shutouts in both games of a doubleheader against Bullet Joe Rogan and the Monarchs, 1–0 and 5–0, to put the Giants in the World Series. Foster was the starting pitcher in Game 7 and Game 11 for the Giants, and he won both of his starts while facing Hubert Lockhart. In the former, he allowed four runs on eight hits in nine innings of work, while in the latter he threw a complete game shutout despite allowing ten hits.”

P-William Bell, Kansas City Monarchs, 28 Years Old

1925

177 IP, 15-6, 2.39 ERA, 68 K, 190 ERA+, 3.33 FIP, 1.051 WHIP

75 AB, .253, 0 HR, 14 RBI, .253/.300/.373, 73 OPS+

WAR-5.9

Wins Above Replacement-5.9 (4th)

WAR for Pitchers-5.6 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 71 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

Complete Games-16

Errors Committed as P-6

2nd Time All-Star-Bell broke Bullet Rogan’s streak of being Kansas City and the Negro National League’s best player and best Monarch pitcher. It was Bell’s best year ever. Too bad it couldn’t carry over to the postseason. In the Championship Series against Chicago, Bell started two games and had no decisions. He gave up seven runs (five earned) in 13 innings pitched as the Monarchs lost to the American Giants, 5-4.

                Kevin Larkin and Frederick C. Bush of SABR write, “At the beginning of the 1926 season the Monarchs added Cuban star Cristobal Torriente, another strong hitter. Bell’s 15-6 record put him in a tie for the team lead in wins with Rogan, who was 15-5, and the veteran pair had the help of 19-year-old Chet Brewer, who went 13-2. Pitching carried the Monarchs in 1926; the batting fell off from the past few seasons. Torriente (.348) and Rogan (.306) were the only Monarchs batters to hit over .300. Kansas City won the first half of the NNL season with a record of 57-21 and faced the second-half winner, the Chicago American Giants, to determine the league championship. Kansas City won four of the first five games, but Chicago roared back to win the final four games and claimed the pennant.”

                This would be Bell’s last appearance in the postseason. He ended up going 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA and helping Kansas City to a championship in 1924. But just because he’s done making playoffs doesn’t mean he’s done making my list.

P-George Harney, Chicago American Giants, 36 Years Old

1925

149 2/3 IP, 11-6, 2.41 ERA, 72 K, 189 ERA+, 3.30 FIP, 1.143 WHIP

58 AB, .310, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .310/.355/.466, 110 OPS+

WAR-5.6

Wins Above Replacement-5.6 (5th)

WAR for Pitchers-5.0 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Saves-4

Games Finished-14

2nd Time All-Star-You weren’t going to hold a team as good as the American Giants down for long and they came roaring back this season due to its usual great pitching. Part of that staff was Harney, who had his best season ever and will probably make one more of these lists. In the Championship Series against the Monarchs, Harney went 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA as the American Giants won over KC, 5-4. In the World Series against Atlantic City, he went 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA as Chicago beat the Bacharach Giants, 5-4-2.

                Here’s Wikipedia’s recap on the American Giants 1926 season: “The 1926 Chicago American Giants baseball team represented the Chicago American Giants in the Negro National League (NNL) during the 1926 baseball season. The team compiled a 60–21–3 (.732) record, won the NNL pennant, and defeated the Bacharach Giants in the 1926 Colored World SeriesRube Foster was the team’s owner and manager. Dave Malarcher took over as manager in the second half of the season. The team played its home games at Schorling Park in Chicago.

                “The team’s leading batters were:

  • Right fielder Jelly Gardner – .331 batting average, .398 slugging percentage in 66 games
  • First baseman Jim Brown – .319 batting average, .478 slugging percentage, five home runs, 50 RBIs in 72 games
  • Left fielder Sandy Thompson – .318 batting average, .394 slugging percentage, 44 RBIs in 75 games

“The team’s leading pitchers were Willie Foster (13–4, 1.63 ERA, 108 strikeouts), George Harney (12–6, 1.91 ERA), and Reuben Currie (10–4, 3.38 ERA).”

P-Rube Curry, Chicago American Giants, 27 Years Old

1920 1921 1923 1925

137 IP, 10-4, 2.96 ERA, 53 K, 154 ERA+, 3.40 FIP, 1.263 WHIP

62 AB, .290, 0 HR, 10 RBI, .290/.323/.323, 67 OPS+

WAR-4.4

Wins Above Replacement-4.4 (7th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.2 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

5th Time All-Star-Curry started his career with the Kansas City Monarchs, playing with them through the 1923 season, and then went to Hilldale Club of the Eastern Colored League in 1924 and ’25. He came back to the Negro National League this season and ended up again being on a great team, a squad that went on to win the Colored World Series. This was Curry’s best season ever and in the Championship Series against the Monarchs, he went 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA. Chicago beat KC, 5-4. He started three games against Atlantic City in the World Series, going 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA. The American Giants beat the Bacharach Giants, 5-4-2.

                Dirk Lammers of Nonohitters.com writes, “The Chicago American Giants’ Rube Currie threw a Negro National League no-hitter, 91 years ago today. On Tuesday, July 13, 1926, Currie no-hit the Dayton Marcos for a crushing 16-0 victory. The curveball specialist didn’t walk a single Dayton batter, but he missed out on the perfecto due to an error.” (If you go back and read my blurbs, Currie was an incorrect spelling.)

                Baseball Reference says, “Rube returned to California for the winter but was just 5-4 for the Philadelphia Royal Giants. Currie began the 1926 season as a hold-out, eventually signing with the Chicago American Giants. He was 8-4 with a 2.44 RA, third in the NNL. He threw a no-hitter against the Dayton Marcos and walked none but lost a perfect game due to an error by his team. Currie was 2-0 with a 0.95 RA in the playoffs, again beating his old Monarch teammates. In the 1926 Negro World Series, he again got the call for game one. After 3 runs in 7 1/3 innings, he was relieved by Bill Foster in what wound up as a 3-3 tie. In game five, he lost a 7-5 contest. In game nine, he came back to beat the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants with Chicago on the verge of elimination. They went on to win the Series. Currie was 1-1 with a 5.06 RA.”

                Curry died on June 11, 1966 in Chicago at the age of 67.

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 32 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924 1925

122 2/3 IP, 12-3, 2.86 ERA, 68 K, 159 ERA+, 3.09 FIP, 1.239 WHIP

136 AB, .287, 1 HR, 18 RBI, .287/.405/.404, 109 OPS+

WAR-3.9

Wins Above Replacement-3.9 (8th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.8 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925)

Kansas City Monarchs

60-22, 1st in NNL, Lost CS to Chicago American Giants, 5-4

Manager Bullet Rogan

OPS+-99, 3rd in league

ERA+-153, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-William Bell, 5.9

Led in:

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.09 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-As if Rogan didn’t do enough by pitching, playing first base, and also patrolling rightfield, he now was the manager of the Monarchs and they didn’t miss a beat. Bullet is starting to decline a bit, but he’ll still be on these lists for a while. In the Championship Series against the American Giants, Rogan pitched four games, starting two, and went 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA (Maybe. Wikipedia says he lost two games). As a batter, he hit .583 (seven-for-12) with a double. Despite Rogan’s heroics, KC lost to Chi-town, 5-4.

                Actually, most sources disagree with Baseball Reference’s stats. James A. Riley writes on Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s page, “In 1926 he assumed the team’s managerial reins, and with his leadership and performance at bat and on the mound, the Monarchs won the first-half championship before losing a heartbreaking 5-out-of-9 playoff to the second half champions, the Chicago American Giants. Rogan batted .583 and, in a valiant effort to stave off defeat, started both ends of a double-header on the last day of the playoff, but to no avail as he dropped both contests to Willie Foster, who also pitched both games.” I agree with those who say he lost two games. Sorry, BR.

                Travis Rogers, Jr. of The Sentinel and Rural News, writes of Rogan, “Rogan was an outstanding pitcher with a tremendous fastball, a fine curve, and good control, ‘Bullet’ Rogan was  a smart pitcher who used a no-windup delivery, a sidearm motion, and always kept the ball down. He got his nickname ‘the Bullet’ because of his powerful right arm. In addition to his basic pitches, he included a forkball, palm ball (today, we call it the circle change-up), and the split-fingered fastball in his arsenal.” I would have loved to see Rogan play.

P-Chet Brewer, Kansas City Monarchs, 19 Years Old

121 1/3 IP, 12-1, 2.37 ERA, 78 K, 192 ERA+, 3.31 FIP, 1.162 WHIP

49 AB, .224, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .224/.269/.245, 34 OPS+

WAR-3.8

Wins Above Replacement-3.8 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.8 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.923

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.074

Hit By Pitch-12

1st Time All-Star-Chester Arthur “Chet” Brewer was born on January 14, 1907 in Leavenworth, Kansas. The six-foot-four, 176 pound switch-hitting, righty throwing pitcher, outfielder, and first baseman started his Major League career with Kansas City in 1925. He pitched 11 games, but had a terrible 7.52 ERA. That didn’t stop the Monarchs from giving him a chance to shine in ’26 and he did as you can see by the stats above. In the Championship Series against Chicago, he pitched four games, starting three and went 1-2 with a 1.61 ERA.  KC lost to the American Giants, 5-4.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz write in Forgotten Heroes: Chet Brewer, “Chet’s greatest asset as a pitcher may have been his excellent control and retentive memory of what individual players and teams liked to hit. His best pitch was his fastball or his ‘smoke,’ as he often referred to it, that moved in on hitters Brewer’s lively fast ball was made even more effective by the wide repertoire of other pitches that he was able to throw. Other pitches that he had in his arsenal were a devastating sweeping rainbow curveball, overhand drop ball, good screwball and emery ball. Back in the days when scuffing a ball was legal, Chet learned to throw an ‘emery ball’ from Emory Osborne and Ted ‘Double Duty’ Radcliffe. Chet also had the ability to spot any of these pitches wherever and whenever he wanted.”

                That “smoke” hit quite a few batters this season, but he’d get better control later and have some marvelous seasons.

P-Logan Hensley, St. Louis Stars, 26 Years Old

231 2/3 IP, 18-8, 4.16 ERA, 122 K, 109 ERA+, 4.37 FIP, 1.463

89 AB, .180, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .180/.240/.258, 29 OPS+

WAR-3.7

Wins Above Replacement-3.7 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.8 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Wins-18

Games Pitched-40

Innings Pitched-231 2/3

Strikeouts-122

Games Started-25

Home Runs Allowed-20

Bases on Balls-89

Hits Allowed-250

Earned Runs-107

Batters Faced-1,006

Def. Games as P-40

Assists as P-73

1st Time All-Star-Logan Frank Hensley was born on February 16, 1900 in Pacific, Missouri. The five-foot-nine, 168 pound righty pitcher started with the Stars in 1922 and ’23 then finished the latter season with the Toledo Tigers. In 1924, he started with the Cleveland Browns and then concluded that year with the Stars. In 1925, he became a regular pitcher for St. Louis and helped them into the Championship Series against Kansas City. In those games, Hensley pitched two games, starting one, and had no decisions with a 5.40 ERA. This year, he had the best pitching season for St. Louis since Bill Drake in 1921.

                Baseball Reference says, “Logan “Slap” Hensley was a top Negro League pitcher of the late 1920s.

“Hensley broke in with the St. Louis Stars in 1922, going 0-1. He split 1923 between St. Louis (0-2, 19.80), Toledo Tigers (0-1, 5.82) and Cleveland Tate Stars (1-1, 7.00). In 1924, he was 4-1 for St. Louis and 1-4 for the Cleveland Browns. Going to St. Louis full-time in 1925, he was 11-3 in the regular season, then 0-1 in the postseason versus the Kansas City Monarchs.

“Hensley went 17-7 with a 3.02 RA and 61 whiffs for the Stars in 1926. He was second in the Negro National League in wins behind Bill Bell, was 5th in RA (the lowest of any hurler who did not work for the Chicago American Giants in their very pitcher-friendly park) and was 4th in strikeouts behind Bill FosterChet Brewer and Webster McDonald.”

P-Andy Cooper, Detroit Stars, 28 Years Old

1922 1923 1924 1925

182 IP, 13-9, 3.91 ERA, 70 K, 116 ERA+, 3.45 FIP, 1.269 WHIP

65 AB, .154, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .154/.179/.169, -10 OPS+

WAR-2.7

War for Pitchers-3.1 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 43 percent chance)

Team Stats

5th Time All-Star-One thing Detroit could count on year after year  was a great pitching season from this big lefty. This season, Cooper won 12 or more games for the fifth consecutive season. He’s still got a few All-Star lists left in his career, though he’d never do as well as he did over this five-year stretch. I mentioned in a previous post that, if judged by Career WAR, Cooper is the second best Detroit Stars player of all time, behind Turkey Stearnes.

                Dan D’Addona of Vintage Detroit writes, “Cooper was born in Waco, Texas in 1889. At his peak, he was roughly 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, giving him plenty of muscle to have an overpowering fastball. He became a great pitcher my mastering the screwball and having a stellar tight-spinning curveball.

                “Unlike Hill, who played much of his career before the Negro National League began in 1920, Cooper started his career when the NNL began. He joined the Detroit Stars in 1920 and played on the stars for eight years, before playing two seasons for the Kansas City Monarchs, only to return to Detroit in 1930. Then it was back to Kansas City for another eight years.

                “Cooper followed his breakout season by going 11-6 (.647) in 1924, then 11-2 (.846) in 1925. In 1926, he went 13-10 (.565), then went 4-1 (.800) in 1927.

                “’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 black newspapers of the day. ‘Cooper could almost put the ball any place he wanted it to go.’”

P-Bill McCall, Indianapolis ABCs, 28 Years Old

1924 1925

148 IP, 5-11, 3.53 ERA, 83 K, 129 ERA+, 3.76 FIP, 1.230 WHIP

57 AB, .193, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .193/.220/.193, 8 OPS+

WAR-2.6

WAR for Pitchers-2.8 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Indianapolis ABCs

40-50-1, 5th in NNL

Manager Bingo DeMoss

OPS+-99, 3rd in league

ERA+-153, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Halley Harding, 2.7

3rd Time All-Star-In just four years of pitching in the Majors, McCall was already pitching on his sixth team. No matter where he went, he had success, but after this season, he wouldn’t play in the Majors for four years before ending up on his seventh team in 1931, the Detroit Stars. For his career, McCall ended up 29-44 with a 4.03 ERA (114 ERA+). When he pitched for good teams like the Monarchs and American Giants, he didn’t have too bad of record, going 8-7 with those two squads. McCall’s problem was he was usually the best pitcher on terrible staffs. He died young, at the age of 45, on July 12, 1943 in South Fayette Township, Pennsylvania.

                Mlb.com says of the ABCs, “Though C.I. Taylor and [Rube] Foster were competitive rivals on the field, there must have been an underlying respect between the two, as Taylor would revive his ABCs in 1920 (they did not take part in the ’19 season) to join Foster’s American Giants as charter members of the first viable Negro League, the Negro National League. The ABCs ended up playing a total of seven seasons in the Negro National League, to mixed success. The 1922 season was among their best from a performance standpoint, but sadly it was also the year that C.I. Taylor passed away. His widow, Olivia, took control of the ABCs, and his brother Ben stepped up as well to assume the team’s managerial duties. Though things went fairly well that first season without him, the ABCs we’re unable to maintain the same level of success that C.I. had brought, leading the team to disband after the 1926 season.”

P-Charley Wilson, Dayton Marcos, 31 Years Old

11 1/3 IP, 1-0, 0.00, 4 K, 3.12 FIP, 0.882 WHIP

4 AB, .500, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .500/.600/.500, 187 OPS+

WAR-0.8

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 214 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Dayton Marcos

6-36, 6th in NNL

Manager Eddie Huff

OPS+-27, 8th in league

ERA+-78, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Charley Wilson, 0.8

1st Time All-Star-Charles “Charley” Wilson was born on June 26, 1895 in Roanoke, Virginia. The pitcher started with the Dayton Marcos in 1920 before going to the Columbus Buckeyes and Detroit Stars in 1921. He stayed with the Stars in 1922 and then didn’t play in the Majors from 1923-to-1925. He got an opportunity this year with the Dayton Marcos, who had last been part of the Negro National League in 1920, and was their best player. That’s the reason he made this list. He died exactly two years after my bride was born, on December 15, 1965 at the age of 70 in Salem, Virginia.

                Wikipedia says of the Macros, “John Matthews, still owner of the Marcos, was present at NNL winter meetings and the Marcos were slated to rejoin the NNL in 1923. However, the team would not rejoin league play until 1926. The Marcos made agreements with local clubs to once again using Westwood Field with plans to renovate their old home including additional seating. Local star catcher Eddie Huff was signed as field manager. The 1926 Marcos were a revolving door of names and faces, with as many as 43 different men wearing a Dayton uniform in league play. In June the Marcos made headlines by grabbing former star shortstop Joe Dewitt from the St. Louis Stars, purchasing him outright along with 4 other players. Hewitt struggled in his new home, hitting .079 in league play. Hewitt was briefly backed up by 20 year old rookie shortstop Alex Radcliff, who would later garner 11 All-Star selections with the Chicago American Giants. On July 13, the Marcos travelled to Schorling Park in Chicago to face the American Giants. The day ended in the Marcos landing on the wrong side of a 13-0 no-hitter by Rube Currie in the second game of a doubleheader. Just six days later, the team withdrew from league play. The Marcos ended the year in last place with a 6-36 record.”

C-Mitchell Murray, St. Louis Stars, 30 Years Old

1923 1924 1925

277 AB, .314, 11 HR, 56 RBI, .314/.403/.516, 136 OPS+

WAR-3.1

WAR Position Players-3.1 (6th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (9th)

Defensive WAR-0.6 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Hit By Pitch-15

Def. Games as C-81

Putouts as C-363

Assists as C-94

Errors Committed as C-13

Double Plays Turned as C-19 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases Allowed as C-76

4th Time All-Star-Murray was proving himself to be the Negro National League’s best catcher and this year had his best season ever. He’ll be with St. Louis until 1928 when he would be acquired by the American Giants. He’d then finish his career with the Indianapolis ABCs. Altogether, he would have a career average of .301 and hit 29 homers. This year, Murray hit his career high for dingers with 11. He’d never hit more than six in any other season.

                Murray was involved in an incident involving Satchel Paige, according to Larry Tye’s book, Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend. Tye writes, “His first big game with Birmingham involved a hit-and-run, although not the sort of baseball fans were accustomed to. It was late June 1927 and the Black Barons were playing the St. Louis Stars…Then he let fly a breakneck pitch that whacked the hand of the batter, St. Louis catcher Mitchell Murray. Wielding his bat, Murray charged the mound as fans warned Satchel, ‘You have nothing to defend yourself with—run, boy, run!’ Others, fearful of what was unfolding, screamed, ‘Murder! Murder!’ Paige raced for the dugout, outrunning Murray but not his bat, which struck him just above the hip. With St. Louis players massing near the Black Barons’ bench and fans threatening with knives and rock, the police were summoned.” There’s more at the link.

                It’s possible Murray will be back on this list, but in case he’s not, I’ll mention he died young, at the age of 44 on August 12, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio.              

C-Pythias Russ, Chicago American Giants, 22 Years Old

178 AB, .275, 3 HR, 33 RBI, .275/.342/.455, 104 OPS+

WAR-1.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 29 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Range Factor/9 Inn as C-7.19

Range Factor/Game as C-6.92

Fielding % as C-.982

1st Time All-Star-Pythias Russ was born on April 7, 1904 in Cynthiana, Kentucky. The righty shortstop, catcher, and first baseman started his Major League career with the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons in 1925 before coming to Chi-town where he would finish his career. He is the first American Giant to be a catcher on my All-Star list since George Dixon in 1920. Surprisingly, he didn’t play in the postseason for Chicago.

                Baseball Reference says, “Russ was a multi-sport star in college, playing baseball, basketball, running track and making All-American in football in 1924. He was recruited by Candy Jim Taylor to join the Memphis Red Sox. In 1925, the 21-year-old rookie split catching chores with Larry Brown, hitting .327.

                “Rube Foster signed Russ to play for the Chicago American Giants and he hit .268 for them in 1926.”

                I couldn’t find anything on why he didn’t play in the Championship Series against the Kansas City Monarchs, but I’d assume it was an injury.

                Surprisingly, after this season, Russ is going to move from catcher to shortstop, where he would have his best years. He’ll be back on this list a few times, but he’s going to have a short career due to dying young.

                While researching Russ, I got confirmation from Gary Ashwill that Chicago’s home stadium was a terrible park for hitters. He writes on Agate Type, “The thing to remember here is that from 1926-1929 Russ was playing his home games in Schorling Park, where offenses went to die in the 1920s NNL.  Looking at the raw numbers, you might assume that, while Russ was very good, he was not really comparable to Hall of Famer Willie Wells, his shortstop counterpart with the Stars, who batted .365/.425/.712 in 1928 (including the playoffs).”

1B-Mule Suttles, St. Louis Stars, 25 Years Old

358 AB, .425, 32 HR, 130 RBI, .425/.472/.877, 241 OPS+

WAR-6.4

Wins Above Replacement-6.4 (2nd)

WAR Position Players-6.4 (1st)

Offensive WAR-6.8 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 94 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

1926 NNL Batting Title

1926 NNL Triple Crown

WAR Position Players-6.4

Offensive WAR-6.8

Batting Average-.425

On-Base %-.472

Slugging %-.877

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.349

Hits-152

Total Bases-314

Triples-19

Home Runs-32

Runs Batted In-130

Adjusted OPS+-241

Runs Created-148

Adj. Batting Runs-71

Adj. Batting Wins-6.4

Extra Base Hits-79

Times On Base-184

Offensive Win %-.915

AB per HR-11.2

Double Plays Turned as 1B-56

Assists as LF-8 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as LF-2 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-George “Mule” Suttles was born on March 31, 1901 in Blocton, Alabama. The six-foot-three, 215 pound righty first baseman and leftfielder started his Major League career with the Birminham Black Barons in 1924, before coming to St. Louis this season and having his best season ever and one of the greatest years recorded. It was so great, he took over this position from last year’s All-Star, Willie Bobo. Suttles hit 32 homers in just 89 games. Certainly playing in St. Louis, a hitter’s haven, helped, but it was still an incredible year.

                Wikipedia has a different height and weight than Baseball Reference. It says, “Suttles, who stood 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), weighed in at 195 lbs, and used a 50-ounce bat, was known for his power, including several 500+ foot homers; a game against the Memphis Red Sox in which he blasted three homers in a single inning, and a home run at Havana, Cuba‘s Tropicana Park that flew over a 60-foot (18 m) high center field fence and landed in the ocean. Willie Wells saw the homer and remarked, ‘He hit this…ball so far it looked like we were playing in a lot; it didn’t look like no ball park.’ It was because of Suttles’ strength that he got his nickname, and late in games when a big hit was needed his teammates would encourage him with cries of, ‘Kick, Mule!’ Clarence Israel, an Eagles player, was quoted as saying, ‘He was considered my dad. Suttles was the most gentle person I ever saw.’”

A photographic cigarette insert card for Billiken cigarettes features Negro League star Edgar Wesley and was produced in 1923 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

1B-Edgar Wesley, Detroit Stars, 35 Years Old

1922 1923 1925

300 AB, .310, 16 HR, 64 RBI, .310/.395/.513, 133 OPS+

WAR-2.5

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Putouts-879

Def. Games as 1B-83

Putouts as 1B-878

Assists as 1B-61

Errors Committed as 1B-28

4th Time All-Star-When I did Wesley’s 1925 write-up, I wasn’t sure he was going to make another list, so I talked about his later life and his death. Well, Wesley’s back from the dead and again is one of the Negro National League’s best first basemen. It was a step down from his 1925 season, in which he hit .404 and slugged .715, but it’s tough to continue at that rate. He’s only got one more year left after this and I’m pretty sure he’s not going to make my list in 1927, but I’ve been wrong before (many times).

                William F. McNeil wrote a book entitled Cool Papas and Double Duties: The All-Time Greats of the Negro Leagues. He writes, “Edgar Wesley was one of the many slugging first basemen to play in the Negro leagues over the first half of the twentieth century. The big 6’, 200-pound left handed hitter was one of the most dangerous men at the plate in his prime. He played in the Negro leagues from 1918 to 1931, primarily with the Detroit Stars.

                “It is obvious the Edgar Wesley was a force to be reckoned with at the plate. He would have been a dangerous hitter in the major leagues, probably averaging in the range of .280 with 37 home runs a year. In some years, the big left handed slugger could have hit as high as .330 with 55 or more home runs.”

                It’s too bad we’ll never know if that’s true or not.

2B-Dink Mothell, Kansas City Monarchs, 28 Years Old

267 AB, .296, 1 HR, 34 RBI, .296/.365/.404, 98 OPS+

WAR-1.9

Defensive WAR-0.9 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Carroll Ray “Dink” Mothell was born on August 13, 1897 in Topeka, Kansas. The six-foot, 175 pound switch-hitting, righty throwing second baseman, first baseman, and outfielder started his Major League career with the Monarchs and Chicago American Giants in 1920. He didn’t play in the Majors for the next three years before coming back to Kansas City in 1924. When the Monarchs won the World Series over Hilldale in 1924, Mothell hit .167 (two-for-12). In the Championship Series that Kansas City won over the St. Louis Stars in 1925, Dink hit .400 (four-for-10) and this year, when the Monarchs lost to the American Giants in the CS, he hit .233 (seven-for-30). This was Mothell’s best year ever and he’s the first second baseman from KC to make my All-Star list.

                The Columbia Missourian says, “ A space of grass is all that designates where Carroll Ray ‘Dink’ Mothell is buried. No tombstone. No nameplate. No marker of any kind. No description of a man who was born and raised in Topeka before going on to play 15 seasons of Negro Leagues baseball.

                “’Mothell was a great player on a great team,’ said Phil S. Dixon, a Negro Leagues historian and author of ‘Wilber Bullet Rogan and the Kansas City Monarchs.’

                “During his 15 seasons in Negro Leagues baseball, Mothell played every position. According to Lester’s statistics, Mothell played 624 games from 1920-34 with the most at second base (285) and the least at pitcher (1).”

                Mothell died on April 24, 1980 in Topeka.

3B-Dewey Creacy, St. Louis Stars, 27 Years Old

1925

391 AB, .340, 23 HR, 107 RBI, .340/.389/.632, 159 OPS+

WAR-3.3

WAR Position Players-3.3 (4th)

Offensive WAR-4.1 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

At Bats-391

Def. Games as 3B-92 (2nd Time)

Putouts as 3B-97

Assists as 3B-171

Errors Committed as 3B-32

Double Plays Turned as 3B-17

2nd Time All-Star-When you don’t have the stats to determine whether a park is a hitter’s park or a pitcher’s park, you can still judge it by looking at the runs scored and runs allowed by a team. This isn’t as valuable as knowing how many runs a team scored and allowed at home and comparing it to how many runs a team scored and allowed on the road, but it’s helpful. Judging by this stat, Schorling Park, the home of the Chicago American Giants was a huge pitcher’s park and Stars Park, St. Louis’ playing field, was a huge hitters’ haven. According to Wikipedia, “The park became famous for its 269-foot left field wall, built to accommodate a trolley car barn. Despite special rules that in some seasons counted home runs hit over the car barn as ground-rule doubles, the park proved very friendly to power hitters over the years.”

                That brings me to Creacy and all of these Stars at this time. He had some incredible years and this one was his best ever. However, he would have not put up the kind of stats above, including 23 homers, in any other park. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t good, but he just wasn’t as good as his stats indicate.

                John Fleming of St. Louis Bullpen writes, “An above-average hitter in six of his eight seasons, Creacy’s peak with the Stars came in 1926, a banner year for baseball in St. Louis, when he notched a career-high 23 home runs and amassed an OPS+ of 159. Although regularly overlooked by flashier players, Creacy was one of the stalwarts of the team, finishing fourth in Stars history in plate appearances.”

3B-Candy Jim Taylor, Cleveland Elites/Detroit Stars, 42 Years Old

1923

86 AB, .314, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .314/.379/.372, 95 OPS+

17 2/3 IP, 1-1, 5.09 ERA, 7 K, 93 ERA+, 3.88 FIP, 1.472 WHIP

WAR-0.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 55 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cleveland Elites

8-40-1, 8th in NNL

Managers Candy Jim Taylor (7-40-1) and Frank Duncan (1-1)

OPS+-75, 7th in league

ERA+-64, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Candy Jim Taylor, 0.5

Stars Team Stats

Led in:

Oldest Player-42 Years Old

2nd Time All-Star-Candy Jim is one of the most interesting of all the Negro League players. You’ll notice above he’s 42 years old and already the oldest of all of the Negro National League competitors. He would continue to play in the Majors until 1942, when he was 58 years old! Admittedly, he wouldn’t have over 100 at bats after 1924 and he was mainly known as a manager, but the longevity of his career is still amazing. By the way, Taylor made my list as a fluke, getting an automatic spot as Cleveland’s best player.

                Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History says, “The CLEVELAND ELITES were the city’s representative in baseball’s Negro National League for the 1926 season. Owned by Sam Shepard and managed by “Candy” Jim Taylor and Frank Duncan, the team folded by the end of the year with an abysmal 6-38 record. The Elites played their home games at Hooper Field.

                “The Elites had a few flashes of brilliance during an otherwise dismal season. In early September the CLEVELAND GAZETTE called one of their recent victories ‘one of the most sensational rallies ever witnessed at Hooper Field.’ The Elites scored six runs during the ninth inning to beat the Detroit Stars 9-7. Even though the Elites had a good record against local, semi-pro teams, their record in league contests was still lackluster. The team folded at the end of the year, and Cleveland was offered the Indianapolis ABC franchise for the 1927 season.”

                There were many comings and goings in the Negro Leagues similar to Cleveland’s.

SS-Willie Wells, St. Louis Stars, 21 Years Old

1924 1925

279 AB, .373, 13 HR, 64 RBI, .373/.470/.584, 171 OPS+

WAR-4.9

Wins Above Replacement-4.9 (6th)

WAR Position Players-4.9 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-4.4 (3rd)

Defensive WAR-0.9 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1997)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Putouts as SS-188

Double Plays Turned as SS-60

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.67 (2nd Time)

Fielding % as SS-.935 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Even though Wells has already made my list two times previously, this is the year that made people realize Wells would be one of the best players there ever was. I’m not talking just Negro Leagues, but any league. Sure his home park helped him, but you still have to hit the ball no matter where you play and Wells could do that. He also could field among the best of them. He also hasn’t had near his best years yet.

                Baseball Reference says, “Wells was playing for the minor San Antonio Black Aces when he drew the attention of the Chicago American Giants‘ Rube Foster and George Keys of the St. Louis Stars. Wells opted to go to St. Louis, an overnight train from ride from his hometown of Austin, TX where his mother was encouraging him to complete college. In St. Louis, he played in a hitters’ park. He hit just .263 as a rookie in 1924 (struggling with the curveball) and increased that 7 points the next year, when his 14 steals were 5th-best in the Negro National League. In 1926, Willie developed into a star. He batted .371, tied for 4th in the NNL. In his first three years, he played in the California Winter League, managing just a .238 average and .319 slugging percentage.”

                I point this out a lot, but notice his stats in the text are not the same stats recorded by Baseball Reference in its numerical stats. You’d think they would be.       

SS-Bill Riggins, Detroit Stars, 26 Years Old

1923

330 AB, .300, 7 HR, 52 RBI, .300/.376/.455, 113 OPS+

2/3 IP, 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 1 K, 51 ERA+, 4.53 FIP, 3.000 WHIP

WAR-3.2

WAR Position Players-3.3 (5th)

Offensive WAR-2.5 (10th)

Defensive WAR-1.3 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Detroit Stars

52-47-1, 4th in NNL

Managers Bill Riggins (44-34-1) and Candy Jim Taylor (8-13)

OPS+-107, 2nd in league

ERA+-98, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Turkey Stearnes, 6.0

Led in:

Assists-310

Errors Committed-35

Def. Games as SS-87 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-300

Errors Committed as SS-34 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Since last making my list in 1923, Riggins continued to play solid short and also took over the managerial reins of the Stars this season. He still was a good player, even leading the Negro National League in Defensive WAR in 1925, but just below the level it took to make my All-Star team. My guess is he’s got another time on this list left in him, but after seven years with Detroit, he’ll be leaving them in 1927. He would fourth all-time in WAR for the Stars, behind Turkey Stearnes, Andy Cooper, and  Edgar Wesley.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes, “To sum up: it seems, if all this hangs together, that ‘Orville’ Riggins was really Arvell Riggins, born February 7, 1900, in either Missouri or Illinois (the census records differ), to a father from Georgia (where, by the way, most black families named Riggins lived in the early twentieth century), possibly Dan Riggins, and a mother from Tennessee (who would have died before 1920, if Dan was the father).  He had at least two children, boys named William and Lonnie, the first of whom might have been pictured in the Chicago Defender in 1921, who were living with their mothers’ parents in 1930.  And there are indications (though they are not conclusive) that Arvell Riggins had been divorced or widowed and had remarried by 1930.”

                That’s an interesting paragraph, but I suggest you read the whole thing to see how Ashwill came up with all of that information.

SS-Halley Harding, Indianapolis ABCs, 21 Years Old

270 AB, .378, 1 HR, 44 RBI, .378/.449/.474, 138 OPS+

WAR-2.7

WAR Position Players-2.7 (9th)

Offensive WAR-3.0 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 37 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-William Claire Halley Harding was born exactly 100 years before my anniversary on November 13, 1904 in Wichita, Kansas. The five-foot-nine, 180 pound switch-hitting righty throwing shortstop, leftfielder, and second baseman had this stellar rookie year, his best season ever. He’ll be around for a few seasons and develop quite the glove, but he’d never hit as well as he did this year. Only one more time will he even hit over .300.

                Harding lived an amazing life, as pointed out by Gary Ashwill of Agate Type, who writes, “Halley Harding was a three-sport star in college and the pros who played for both the Kansas City Monarchs and one of the early Globetrotters basketball teams, tried out for the Chicago Cardinals, and appeared with Fritz Pollard’s New York Brown Bombers.  He played baseball in Japan, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, and somehow managed to stretch out his varsity college football career over (at least) seven seasons and four different schools.  An irrepressible character and mile-a-minute talker, Harding was a nervy know-it-all who once presumed to instruct Ernie Nevers in how to kick a football.  He argued with managers and feuded with Buck O’Neil in the pages of The Sporting News.  He boxed and acted and produced newsreels and movies.  As a young man he tended to talk his way into trouble, but as he matured he parlayed his gift of gab into a career as a crusading journalist and civil rights activist who played a key role in breaking pro football’s color line.  But until Alexander Wolff of Sports Illustrated called for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 (along with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, the players Harding helped get signed by the Los Angeles Rams in 1946), he had been virtually forgotten.”

CF-Turkey Stearnes, Detroit Stars, 25 Years Old

1923 1924 1925

342 AB, .383, 21 HR, 103 RBI, .383/.458/.716, 199 OPS+

WAR-6.0

Wins Above Replacement-6.0 (3rd)

WAR Position Players-6.0 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-5.5 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2000)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-93 (2nd Time)

Doubles-33

Power-Speed #-21.0

Assists as CF-18

Errors Committed as CF-9

Double Plays Turned as CF-7

Assists as OF-18

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

4th Time All-Star-When writing about players like Stearnes, who is among the all-time greats, you can start to sound repetitious because so many of his seasons blend together. He’s for sure going to make my Hall of Fame and I would also say he’s going to make my ONEHOF, the One-A-Year Hall of Fame of my invention, which admits just the best of the best. That certainly defines Stearnes, who continued to be one of the Negro National League’s best power hitters. This was the first year he didn’t lead the NNL in triples.

On the Hall of Merit page on Baseball Think Factory, a comment written about Stearnes and his power says, “Chris Cobb-Mack Park, the Detroit Stars home park from 1923 until it burned down in 1929, had an extremely short right field porch and probably extremely inflates Stearnes’ home run total (Stearnes was an extreme pull hitter) as well as Edgar Wesley.

“In 1930, the Detroit Stars moved in to Hamtramck Stadium which had a 407 foot right field line and Stearnes power became all triples.

“In a normal stadium, Mule Suttles would have out-homered Stearnes by a considerable margin. But, of course, Stearnes was better than Suttles in just about every other aspect except drawing walks.

“I already stated this in the Beckwith thread, but basically Stearnes is a dead ringer for Stan Musial, right down to the funky lefty stance. I think Stearnes was actually a little better than Stan, less average, more power, better defense.
“Suttles is a dead ringer for Hank Greenberg”

CF-Cristobal Torriente, Kansas City Monarchs, 32 Years Old

1920 1921 1923 1924

276 AB, .351, 5 HR, 65 RBI, .351/.446/.511, 146 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR  Position Players-3.0 (7th)

Offensive WAR-2.9 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

5th Time All-Star-Torriente had a tough year in 1925 and didn’t make my list and then was sent from one great team, the American Giants, to another, the Kansas City Monarchs, where he’s back on my All-Star team. Torriente is the first Monarch to make my list as a centerfielder. In the Championship Series against his former team, Carlos hit .355 (11-for-31) with two doubles. However, Kansas City lost the Series, 5-4.

                Wikipedia says, “He died in New York City at age 44, after a long battle with alcoholism and tuberculosis, reportedly buried in a pauper’s grave in New York.

                “However, another old Cuban teammate of Cristobal TorrienteRogelio Crespo, told John Holway that ‘they draped a Cuban flag over his coffin, and a politician arranged to return the body to Havana,’ where it was interred in the Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón with dozens of other Cuban baseball stars. In 1939, he was named to the inaugural class of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame. The Pittsburgh Courier named Torriente to their All Time Negro League team in 1952, calling him ‘a prodigious hitter, a rifle-armed thrower, and a tower of strength on the defense.’

                “In the 2001 book The New Bill James Historical Baseball AbstractBill James ranked Torriente as the 67th greatest baseball player ever. Torriente was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. After years of research, his grave was finally identified in 2020 by Dr. Machado Mendoza and his team in the Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón.”

CF-Cool Papa Bell, St. Louis Stars, 23 Years Old

1925

448 AB, .334, 12 HR, 58 RBI, .334/.413/.534, 143 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR Position Players-3.0 (8th)

Offensive WAR-3.4 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1974)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Plate Appearances-448 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-107 (2nd Time)

Stolen Bases-36 (2nd Time)

Singles-83

Outs Made-267

Def. Games as CF-91

Putouts as CF-206

Putouts as OF-206

Fielding % as CF-.978 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-In general, baseball rating stats tend to downplay singles hitters. That’s why Bell is going to make my Hall of Fame, but it’s going to take a while. One thing that is not going to hurt him is his home park in St. Louis, which was a hitter’s paradise. Still, since Bell, like all of these Negro League players, was hurt by the lack of official games played, I don’t have any qualms about him being in Cooperstown and eventually being in my Hall of Fame.

                Wikipedia says, “Bell ultimately made a permanent move to center field and stopped pitching. Before becoming an outfielder, Bell batted right-handed and threw left-handed. His transition to the outfield was aided by learning to bat as a switch hitter. When he batted left-handed, his baserunning speed was even more problematic for opponents because he was a couple of steps closer to first base. Biographer Shaun McCormack points out that Bell did not have a strong throwing arm. However, Bell’s speed allowed him to play very shallow in the outfield and to still catch balls that were hit behind him.

                “Pitchers tried to avoid issuing walks to Bell, because he was often able to steal both second base and third base, scoring a run on the next play. Bell could also sometimes score a run if he was on first base and the batter got a base hit. Bell described the style of play on the occasions when the Negro league players faced white teams in exhibitions: ‘We played a different kind of baseball than the white teams. We played tricky baseball. We did things they didn’t expect. We’d bunt and run in the first inning. Then when they would come in for a bunt we’d hit away. We always crossed them up. We’d run the bases hard and make the fielders throw too quick and make wild throws. We’d fake a steal home and rattle the pitcher into a balk.’”

CF-Cando Lopez, Cuban Stars West, 20 Years Old

261 AB, .349, 5 HR, 29 RBI, .349/.384/.467, 119 OPS+

WAR-2.4

Defensive WAR-0.9 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 499 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

19-49, 6th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-82, 5th in league

ERA+-78, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Cando Lopez, 2.4

Led in:

Range Factor/9 Inn as CF-3.53

Range Factor/Game as CF-3.29

1st Time All-Star-Justo Candido “Cando” Lopez was born in 1906 in La Habana, Cuba. The righty centerfielder had this good rookie year, but would never match it. It certainly must have looked like he was off to an impressive career considering the year he had and the fact he was only twenty. He would remain with Cuban Stars West for four more seasons, then not play in any Major Leagues from 1931-34. In 1935 and ’39, Lopez played for the Negro National League II New York Cubans to finish his MLB career.

                Mark Rucker of SABR wrote an article titles Baseball Archeology in Cuba: A Trip to Guinesin which Lopez is briefly mentioned. Here’s some of it, I suggest you read the whole thing.

                “Visiting Cuba is like tripping in a time machine. We’re not talking about a beach vacation at Varadero, but a visitation to the living, working Cuba. A Cuba where baseball is woven into the shirts they wear, is the caffeine in their coffee, and the excitement in their voices. When you are there, you’ll find the time traveler gets a different version of now and then. In Cuba there is the pre- and post-Revolutionary country, a national history more seen as a continuity today than in the recent past, but still a history divided, one capitalist and one socialist.

                “Managing ‘Cuba’ was Armando Marsans, one of the first Cubans to wear a major league uniform in the twentieth century, playing eight years in the American, the National, and the Federal Leagues. Marsans’ pitching staff features Willie Foster, newly of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Willie Powell, small and sturdy right-hander, along with Cuban Basilio ‘The Witch’ Rosell. Sharing the infield and the outfield were Judy Johnson and Oscar Charleston, monster stars both in the Negro Leagues and in Cooperstown, Walter ‘Steel Arm’ Davis, from the Chicago American Giants, Cubans Pelayo Chacón, who played in Cuba from 1908 to 1932, Cando Lopez, Francisco Correa, and José Perez. The catcher was Larry Brown, whose defensive skills and strong arm were legendary.”

RF-Branch Russell, St. Louis Stars, 30 Years Old

1924 1925

298 AB, .305, 8 HR, 59 RBI, .305/.420/.513, 140 OPS+

WAR-2.5

WAR Position Players-2.5 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.7 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

61-35-2, 3rd in NNL

Managers Branch Russell (1-8), Dizzy Dismukes (20-10), and John Reese (40-17-2)

OPS+-142, 1st in league

ERA+-87, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Mule Suttles, 6.4

Led in:

Bases On Balls-53

Assists as RF-11

Double Plays Turned as RF-4

3rd Time All-Star-It took a few seasons, but once Russell stopped bouncing around the field and made rightfield his main position, he started to shine in the Negro National League. One skill he didn’t have, however, seemed to be managing as he started as the Stars’ skipper, but after a 1-8 start, he was replaced by Dizzy Dismukes. They didn’t win either half of the season and didn’t make the postseason, something they had done the previous year.

                I’ve mentioned many times about the hitter-friendly park in which St. Louis played, but here’s some more information on it from Wikipedia, which says, “The Giants originally played at Giants Park the first month and a half of the 1922 season, and occasionally played some games in the 1920s at three nearby parks: Vandeventer Lot II, Easton Street Park, and Market Street Park.

                “The Stars played in Stars Park, located at the southeast corner of Compton and Laclede avenues which was the primary home baseball park of the Stars from 1922 to 1931. It was completed in mid-season 1922 as one of the few ballparks built expressly for the Negro leagues. It had a capacity of 10,000 people. The park became famous for its 269-foot left field wall, built to accommodate a trolley car barn. Despite special rules that in some seasons counted home runs hit over the car barn as ground-rule doubles, the park proved very friendly to power hitters over the years.”

                It does make some hitters in St. Louis during these years seem better than they really were.

1925 Eastern Colored League All-Star Team

P-Nip Winters, HIL, 3rd MVP

P-Rats Henderson, AC

P-Bob McClure, BBS

P-Phil Cockrell, HIL

P-George Britt, BBS

P-Joe Strong, BBS

P-Ping Gardner, HBG

P-Connie Rector, BRG

P-Rube Curry, HIL

P-Red Ryan, HIL

C-Biz Mackey, HIL

C-Bill Johnson, WMP/HBG

1B-George Carr, HIL

1B-Jud Wilson, BBS

2B-Martin Dihigo, CSE

2B-John Henry Lloyd, AC

3B-Judy Johnson, HIL

SS-Walter Cannady, HBG

SS-John Beckwith, BBS

SS-George Scales, NLG

LF-Clint Thomas, HIL

LF-Chaney White, WMP/AC

CF-Oscar Charleston, HBG

RF-Rap Dixon, HBG

RF-Country Brown, WMP/AC

P-Nip Winters, Hilldale Club, 26 Years Old, 3rd MVP

1923 1924

200 IP, 17-8, 3.02 ERA, 85 K, 162 ERA+, 1.180 WHIP

86 AB, .302, 3 HR, 15 RBI, .302/.362/.558, 135 OPS+

WAR-6.5

Wins Above Replacement-6.5 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-5.5 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Hilldale Club

53-18-1, 1st in ECL, Beat Kansas City Monarchs in WS, 5-1

Manager Frank Warfield

OPS+-112, 2nd in league

ERA+-122, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Nip Winters, 6.5

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-6.5 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-5.5 (3rd Time)

Wins-17 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-40 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.8 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-There are sometimes complaints the same teams win over and over in modern day baseball. High paying teams like the Yankees and Dodgers can almost be assured to make the playoffs and have shots at championships. The same thing was happening in the beginning years of the Eastern Colored League as Hilldale Club took their third straight championship. It helped having the league’s best player as I awarded Winters his third straight Most Valuable Player. The MVP only pitched one game against the Kansas City Monarchs in the World Series and won it, allowing just three runs (two earned) in nine innings.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz write in Forgotten Heroes: Jesse “Nip” Winters, “Besides being the best hitting team and top offense in the Eastern Colored League, Hilldale also had the best pitching staff in the East. Jesse “Nip” Winters continued to be the ace of the staff for Hilldale with a 19-8 record in Eastern Colored League games. When non-league games are added to his season total, Nip is credited with winning at least 30 games during the season. During the 1925 season, Winters led the ‘league’ in games (30), complete games (17), innings pitched (218), wins (19), strikeouts (97) and base on balls (58).   “The 1925 Negro League World Series was an even worse financial disaster than the year before. The total gate receipts for the entire series were a mere $ 21,000.00. When the players left to go home, each member of the losing Kansas City Monarchs team got $ 57.64 per man or less than $ 10 a game.”

P-Rats Henderson, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 28 Years Old

1923 1924

228 1/3 IP, 15-11, 3.82 ERA, 125 K, 128 ERA+, 1.331 WHIP

88 AB, .193, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .193/.245/.284, 36 OPS+

WAR-4.4

Wins Above Replacement-4.4 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-4.3 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Pitched-32 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-228 1/3 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts-125 (2nd Time)

Games Started-25 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-20 (2nd Time)

Bases on Balls-79

Hits Allowed-225 (2nd Time)

Losses-11 (2nd Time)

Earned Runs-97 (2nd Time)

Batters Faced-985 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as P-32 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Henderson continued to be the star pitcher for the Bacharach Giants, making my list for the third straight season and having the best Atlantic City pitching season in its short history. An injury led him to pitching just 10 games in 1924, but this season he was back to his workhorse self, as you can tell by looking at all of the different categories in which he led the Eastern Colored League. He’s still got better seasons ahead.

                Dr. Layton Revel writes in Forgotten Heroes: Arthur “Rats” Henderson: “Before the start of the 1925 season, Arthur Henderson had resolved his differences with Atlantic City management and was signed to play for the Bacharach Giants for their 1925 season. Arthur’s ‘new’ contract was for $ 375 per month which made him the highest paid black pitcher in the East. The pitching staff for Atlantic City fared significantly better than the hitters during the 1925 season. The Bacharach Giants had a 4.25 ERA which was third best in the Eastern Colored League and had a team ERA of 3.77 in all games played during the 1925 season. Arthur ‘Rats’ Henderson was the ace of the pitching staff and carried most of the pitching load during the season. Henderson went 20-13 (.606) for the 1925 season. Based on current research this was the highest win total of his professional career.”

                Up to this point in his short career, Rats’ main problem was pitching on lackluster teams and not being able to compete in the postseason. That will change next year.

P-Bob McClure, Baltimore Black Sox, 34 Years Old

1924

139 IP, 15-4, 3.11 ERA, 58 K, 157 ERA+, 1.317 WHIP

53 AB, .189, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .189/.232/.226, 19 OPS+

WAR-3.9

Wins Above Replacement-3.9 (5th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.0 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-McClure had his second consecutive All-Star season for the Black Sox and his best season ever. It was also the best season for a pitcher in the Black Sox’s short history. After this season, he would stay with Baltimore through 1928 before moving to the American Negro League’s Atlantic City Bacharach Giants in 1929, which would be McClure’s last season. He’d finish his career with a 60-51 record and a 4.13 ERA (108 ERA+)

                Baseball Reference notes, “Pitching for Royal Poincina in the Florida Hotel League in 1924-1925, he came one out away from throwing a no-hitter. Bob went 17-7 in 1925 and was third in the ECL in wins behind Nip Winters and Rats Henderson. He fell suddenly to 4-14 in 1926 but bounced back in 1927 with a 11-5 mark for Baltimore. His 2.47 RA led the ECL; Henderson was the only other hurler under 3.50.

                “McClure was 0-4 for Baltimore in 1928 and 6-7 for the 1929 Atlantic City Bacharach Giants. He went 0-3 for the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1930.

                “Bob was supposed to pitch for Baltimore in 1931 but contracted pneumonia and died later in the year. His teammates from Baltimore served as pallbearers.”

                McClure lived a short life, but for two seasons, he showed himself to be one of the ECL’s best pitchers. Because he was already 31 when he died and his best years were behind him, he probably wouldn’t have added much more to his career, but it was still a huge loss.

P-Phil Cockrell, Hilldale Club, 30 Years Old

1924

125 2/3 IP, 11-2, 3.15 ERA, 51 K, 155 ERA+, 1.098 WHIP

39 AB, .308, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .308/.413/.359, 101 OPS+

WAR-3.8

Wins Above Replacement-3.8 (6th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.4 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Walks & Hits per IP-1.098

Hits per 9 IP-7.377

2nd Time All-Star-Cockrell made my All-Star list as a fluke in 1924. It’s not that he didn’t pitch well, but just that in a normal season wouldn’t have been one of my picks. This year changed that, however, as he continued to dominate for the Eastern Colored League’s best team. He’s not better than the league’s best player, Nip Winters, but he was a good second arm. In the World Series against the Negro National League’s Kansas City Monarchs, Cockrell started two games and went 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA. Hilldale won the Series, 5-1.

                Patrick Gordon of the Philadelphia Baseball Review wrote an article picking All-Star teams from the two 1925 Negro Major Leagues. Hey, wait a minute! That’s my bit! Anyway, he played  two simulated games between the NNL and the ECL and the National League won both. There isn’t any write-up on how Cockrell did in either of the two games, but he did make Gordon’s All-Star team.

                The players Gordon picked that didn’t make my team are Frank Warfield, Dick Lundy, Fats Jenkins, Ghost Marcelle, and Alejandro Oms.

                Hall of Fame Debate writes of Cockrell, “A star pitcher for the Hilldale Club of the 1920s, Phil Cockrell mixed in a spitball to go with his above average fast one.  He helped Hilldale capture three straight pennants from 1923 through 1925 and is credited with records of 10-1 and 14-2 in the latter two pennant-winning seasons.  Nicknamed ‘Fish,’ Cockrell won the deciding game in the 1925 Negro League World Series.  After his playing days he became an umpire.”

P-George Britt, Baltimore Black Sox, 29 Years Old

113 2/3 IP, 5-3, 3.01 ERA, 57 K, 163 OPS+, 1.126 WHIP

89 AB, .303, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .303/.374/.348, 88 OPS+

WAR-3.6

Wins Above Replacement-3.6 (7th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.1 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 76 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

1925 ECL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-3.01

Adjusted ERA+-163

1st Time All-Star-George W. Britt was born on July 6, 1895 in Lexington, Kentucky. The five-foot-eight, 175 pound righty pitcher, catcher, and first baseman started his Major League career in the Negro National League. He played for the Dayton Macros in 1920 and the Columbus Buckeyes and Indianapolis ABCs in 1921. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1922 and then came to the Eastern Colored League Baltimore squad. In 1923, he played mainly first base, becoming primarily a pitcher in 1924. Britt played with the Black Sox through 1926 and then didn’t play in the Majors in 1927 or ’28. In 1929 he played in the American Negro League for the Hilldale Club and the Homestead Grays. Britt again was out of the Majors for two years before coming back in 1932 for the East-West League Homestead Grays. The team switched to the Negro National League II in 1933 and it was with that league that Britt pitched for the Newark Dodgers in 1934.

                Once again, Britt didn’t play in the Majors for three seasons before pitching for the Negro National League II Washington Black Senators. He again took a year off from the big leagues and then pitched for numerous teams over the next five years. You’ll have to look it up yourself! He retired at the age of 48, three years before Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers.

                Britt lived a long life, dying in January of 1981 in Erie, Pennsylvania at the age of 85. This was his best season ever in his extended career.

P-Joe Strong, Baltimore Black Sox, 22 Years Old

1923

146 1/3 IP, 11-10, 3.94 ERA, 39 K, 124 ERA+, 1.216 WHIP

64 AB, .266, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .266/.329/.375 82 OPS+

WAR-3.5

Wins Above Replacement-3.5 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.0 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Saves-4

Shutouts-2

Wild Pitches-4

2nd Time All-Star-Strong made my 1923 list by a fluke as the Milwaukee Bears’ best player. In 1924, he jumped leagues, from the Negro National League to the Eastern Colored League, and came to Baltimore. He had a pretty good season this year and will have some great years in the future. However, because of some of the leagues he played in having short seasons, Strong would never win more games than he did this campaign.

                That picture above is one of the most used pictures when people write about the Negro Leagues. It’s used in an article by The San Diego Union-Tribune in a story written by Jack Harris. Here’s some of what he wrote on the Negro Leagues’ effect on official statistics: “As a result, the lists of MLB’s all-time leaders in statistics such as batting average and on-base percentage will likely see a shakeup with the addition of the Negro League players. While Negro League players didn’t compile big ‘counting stat’ totals (such as home runs, hits and RBIs) because of seasons that were often half the length of MLB clubs’, the leaderboards in various statistical averages could be significantly altered.

                “For example, according to Seamheads, there were enough Negro League players with high enough batting averages and plate appearances to push Babe Ruth and Ted Williams out of the top 10.

                “In a statement, MLB said a review process is underway with its official statistician, the Elias Sports Bureau, to determine the full scope of the designation’s effect on records and statistics. Historians and other experts will be consulted as part of that process.”

P-Ping Gardner, Harrisburg Giants, 26 Years Old

138 1/3 IP, 11-6, 4.03 ERA, 40 K, 121 ERA+, 1.207 WHIP

55 AB, .164, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .164/.193/.255, 15 OPS+

WAR-2.7

WAR for Pitchers-2.9 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 71 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Kenneth Fuller “Ping” Gardner was born on March 5, 1899 in Washington DC. The five-foot-nine, 157 pound righty pitcher stared with Hilldale Club in 1923 before moving to Harrisburg in ’24. This was his best season ever and the best season by a pitcher in Harrisburg’s short two-year history. Gardner would pitch two more seasons for Harrisburg before moving to Atlantic City in 1928. In 1929, the Eastern Colored League disbanded and Atlantic City and Ping moved to the American Negro League. Gardner then didn’t pitch in the Majors during 1930 and ’31, before finishing his career with the East-West League Newark Browns in 1932.

                Baseball Reference says, “He was 7-8 with a save and a 4.50 ERA (96 ERA+) for Harrisburg in 1926. He tied Sam CooperOscar Levis and Corbett for 8th in wins, was 9th in K (51), ranked 6th in complete games (12, between Cockrell and Willie Gisentaner) and led in shutouts (3). That winter, he was 5-4 for the Alacranes of the Cuban Triangular League. He faded in 1927, going 1-4 with a 4.89 ERA for Harrisburg. In 1928, he was 4-10 with two saves and a 5.72 ERA (88 ERA+) for the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, ending his longest tenure with one team at four years. He led the ECL in losses (two more than Connie Rector), tied Nip Winters for 4th with 9 complete games and tied Rector for the most saves. He was 4-2 for the Cleveland Giants in the California Winter League. He was 1-3 with a 13.17 ERA for the Bacharach Giants in 1929.”

                Ping lived a long life, dying at the age of 85 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

P-Connie Rector, Brooklyn Royal Giants, 33 Years Old

68 2/3 IP, 6-2, 3.28 ERA, 25 K, 150 ERA+, 1.223 WHIP

38 AB, .342, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .342/.405/.395, 108 OPS+

WAR-2.5

WAR for Pitchers-2.2 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 44 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Brooklyn Royal Giants

14-20-1, 5th in ECL

Manager Eddie Douglass

OPS+-82, 6th in league

ERA+-104, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Connie Rector, 2.5

1st Time All-Star-Cornelius “Connie” Rector was born on June 15, 1892 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound righty pitcher and outfielder started his Major League career at the age of 31 with Brooklyn. He’s going to have some dazzling seasons over a  long career that, according to Baseball Reference, will continue until he’s 52 years old! In case you’re wondering, Satchel Paige was 58 years old when he pitched his last season in 1965.

                The Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia writes of Rector: “Rector spent a large portion of his life playing professional baseball, having an exceptionally long career that appears to have spanned at least 34 years. His first playing appearances likely came with the local Arkadelphia Cuban Giants in 1910and the Malvern Tigers in 1911. In both instances, Rector played alongside teammate Charles Spearman, an Arkadelphia native like Rector who would also achieve success in Negro baseball. Rector’s acquaintance with Spearman may have helped him gain entry into professional baseball, for in 1919, Rector and Spearman became teammates on the Dallas Black Giants. In addition to performing well as an outfielder, Rector quickly found success as one of the best pitchers in the Texas Colored League. In 1920, Rector and Spearman shifted to the league’s Fort Worth Black Panthers. In one particular game against the Beaumont Black Oilers on Sunday, May 2nd, Rector defeated opponent Jesse Hubbard 2 to 1 by pitching 18 innings on only one run while issuing only one walk and striking out fourteen batters.”

P-Rube Curry, Hilldale Club, 26 Years Old

1920 1921 1923

128 IP, 11-1, 4.57 ERA, 47 K, 107 ERA+, 1.219 WHIP

45 AB, .200, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .200/.265/.244, 33 OPS+

WAR-1.9

WAR for Pitchers-1.9 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.917

Bases on Balls per 9 IP=1.828

4th Time All-Star-After pitching three All-Star seasons for the Negro National League, Curry moved to HIlldale in 1924. He didn’t have a great regular season, but pitched stupendously in the World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs, starting in one game and relieving in two. Curry pitched a total of 16 1/3 innings, going 1-1, with a 0.55 ERA. This season, HIlldale beat KC and Curry started two games, winning them both and garnered a 1.29 ERA. Hilldale beat the Monarchs, five games to one.

                Baseball Reference has more details, saying, “Back in the United States, Rube moved to the Hilldale Club and struggled to a 1-6 finish with a 5.43 ERA. He was better in the 1924 Negro World Series. In game four, he came out of the bullpen and beat Cliff Bell and his old Kansas City teammates, 4-3. In game eight, he lost 3-2 to Rogan when Biz MackeyJudy Johnson and Louis Santop all made crucial defensive mistakes in the bottom of the 9th to blow a 2-0 lead. He was 1-1 with a 0.83 RA in the Series.

                “Currie was 7-8 in the 1924-1925 California Winter League. He did a far better job for Hilldale in 1925, going 13-2 with a 4.00 RA to finish 5th in the Eastern Colored League in both wins and RA. Holway ranks him as the best pitcher in the ECL that season. In the 1925 Negro World Series, he got the start in game one and beat Big Bill Drake 5-2 in 12 innings. Four games later, he was back to top Cliff Bell by a 2-1 margin. He was 2-0 with a 1.29 RA for the Series and John Holway ranks him as the top performer in the 1925 Series.”

P-Red Ryan, Hilldale Club, 27 Years Old

1923 1924

52 IP, 5-2, 3.29 ERA, 17 K, 149 ERA+, 1.038 WHIP

20 AB, .100, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .100/.100/.100, -48 OPS+

WAR-1.3

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-During the last two seasons, Ryan was the ying to Nip Winters’ yang as the two superstars mowed down opposition batters for Hilldale. This year, however, Ryan made my list only by fluke because I put Martin Dihigo as a second baseman instead of a pitcher. Regardless, it was still a good year despite the fact Ryan pitched only 52 innings. In the World Series against the Monarchs, he relieved in just one game, giving up no runs in two innings and earning the win. HIlldale beat Kansas city, five games to one.

                Baseball Reference says, “He was 0-3 for Santa Clara/Matanzas in the winter of 1924-1925. In 1925, he was 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA (149 ERA+). Had he qualified, he would have been 6th in the ECL in ERA, between Connie Rector and Webster McDonald. Replacing Scrip Lee in the bottom of the 9th with a 1-1 tie against Kansas City in Game 3 of the 1925 Negro World Series, he worked two shutout innings (1 H, 0 BB, 1 K) while Hilldale rallied to win in the 10th. That gave them a 2-1 lead on the Series and they would not look back on the way to claiming the title.  He was 0-2 between Almendares and San Jose in Cuba in the winter of 1925-26.”

                Because there’s such scant research on the Negro Leagues, I can’t find out why Ryan pitched in only 11 games this year and why over half of those were in relief.

Biz Mackey

C-Biz Mackey, Hilldale Club, 27 Years Old

1921 1922 1923 1924

210 AB, .348, 6 HR, 54 RBI, .348/.427/.562, 154 OPS+

WAR-2.7

WAR Position Players-2.7 (6th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require seven more All-Star seasons. 29 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as C-59

5th Time All-Star-After playing shortstop in 1924, Mackey moved back to catcher this season and that would be his main position over the rest of his career. The problem with Mackey is once he turns 30, his playing time is going to go way down and his hitting is going to fall off. So let’s just enjoy this great stretch by one of the great all-time catchers. In the World Series against the Monarchs, Mackey was outstanding, hitting .360 (nine-for-25) with three doubles, a triple, and a homer.

                Chris Rainey of SABR writes, “The Hilldale squad ran away with the title again in 1925, posting a 52-15 record. The players did prove to be human during a week in June when they dropped three to the Harrisburg Giants and then lost a doubleheader to the Baltimore Black Sox. Mackey, who batted cleanup, produced only four hits in the games. Hilldale was knocked out of first place by the losses but regained the lead in mid-July and never looked back.

                “Hilldale earned a rematch with the Monarchs in an October series. Mackey struggled early in the series. He was 2-for-17 in the first four games and even dropped a ball in a home-plate collision. Baseball takes a team effort and his teammates picked him up as Hilldale captured three of the first four matches. In the final games, in Philadelphia, Mackey’s bat came alive and he had three hits, including a home run and double. Hilldale took five of six to capture the crown.”

C-Bill Johnson, Wilmington Potomacs/Harrisburg Giants, 29 Years Old

164 AB, .293, 3 HR, 25 RBI, .293/.363/.433, 105 OPS+

WAR-0.8

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 199 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Wilmington Potomacs

10-21-2, 7th in ECL

Manager Mack Eggleston

OPS+-99, 3rd in league

ERA+-97, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Chaney White, 1.6

Harrisburg Giants Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-William H. “Bill” Johnson was born on November 21, 1895 in Sparta, Georgia. The six-foot, 185 pound switch-hitting, righty throwing catcher, outfielder, and first baseman started his Major League career in 1920 with the Negro National League Dayton Macros. He didn’t play in the Majors from 1921-to-1923 and then played with the Washington Potomacs in 1924. Johnson played for them and the Harrisburg Giants this season and for Harrisburg again in 1926. He moved to Hilldale Club in 1927 and finished his career with the Philadelphia Tigers in 1928. He was a catcher the whole time, except for Hilldale Club, where he played leftfield.

                This was the last season for the Potomacs. Wikipedia gives their history, saying, “The Washington Potomacs were a Negro league baseball team in the Eastern Colored League, based in Washington, D.C., in 1924.They also operated as an independent team in 1923. In 1925 the Potomacs moved to Wilmington, Delaware where they played as the Wilmington Potomacs for the 1925 season. In mid-July, George Robinson, owner of the Potomacs, announced that his team was folding and was unable to complete the season. The league contracted to seven teams and the Potomacs players were dispersed to other teams.”

                Such was common in the Negro Leagues. Very few teams made money and the larger teams ended up supporting some of the smaller ones. Johnson was one of those sent to another team, but he did much better with Wilmington (.353/.444/.506) than with Harrisburg (.226/.265/.354). He lived a long life, dying on October 26, 1988 in New York City.

1B-George Carr, Hilldale Club, 30 Years Old

1920 1921

276 AB, .355, 10 HR, 64 RBI, .355/.409/.623, 163 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR Position Players-3.0 (5th)

Offensive WAR-3.0 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Triples-11

Stolen Bases-24

3rd Time All-Star-Carr last made my list in 1921 for the Negro National League Kansas City Monarchs. He stayed with KC in 1922, but played mainly centerfield. In 1923, Carr moved to the Eastern Colored League and played for the pennant-winning Hilldale Club. In the 1924 World Series, Carr hit .316 (six-for-19) with three stolen bases. HIlldale lost to the Monarchs that season, 5-4-1. This year, Carr hit .308 (eight-for-26) with a homer and six RBIs. Hilldale won the Series over KC, 5-1.

                In my very humble opinion, this was Carr’s best year, though he’s not done making All-Star lists.

                Baseball Reference says, “For several years Carr spent the summers on the west coast, where he grew up, but in 1920 he joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League. Carr hit .336 and stole 15 bases; he was third in swipes and tied for fourth with 5 home runs. He led the Monarchs in average. The next season Carr was second on the Monarchs in average (.330) and his 15 homers were second in the NNL behind only Oscar Charleston. Carr hit .303 in ’22 for Kansas City.

                “In 1923, Tank moved to the Philadelphia Hilldales and slumped badly, hitting only .195, though he tied for second in the Eastern Colored League with 7 stolen bases. In his second year in the ECL Carr hit .270, finished fourth in the league with 15 doubles and second with 9 steals. Carr had one of his best seasons at age 30 in 1925. He led the ECL in doubles (26), triples (13) and steals (27) and posted a .358 average to lead the Hilldale club. His 8 homers were 5th in the circuit. In the Negro World Series he hit .320 with a key home run in game 5 as the Hilldales beat his former Monarch squad.”

1B-Jud Wilson, Baltimore Black Sox, 29 Years Old

1923 1924

227 AB, .370, 8 HR, 53 RBI, .370/.421/.581, 157 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR Position Players-2.4 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.4 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-I would have loved to have seen Wilson at the bat. While it’s possible he was helped by his home park, the fact he’d hit over .350 in his career for six different teams in four different leagues tells us he could hit anywhere at any time. In one of my previous write-ups about Wilson, he was referred to as the “black Ty Cobb.” What’s going to be incredible is he’s going to end up playing 21 seasons despite starting his Major League career at the age of 27.

                Joseph Gerard of SABR writes, “In 1925 the Black Sox posted a winning percentage of .678, finishing at 61-29, but still could not overtake the Hilldale Club (sometimes known as the Daisies), which was led by future Hall of Fame inductees Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey. Wilson finished ninth in the league in hitting with an average of .354.

                “After the 1925 season, Wilson made his first venture out of the country, traveling to Cuba to play for the Habana Leones of the Cuban Winter League. He made his mark in his first season in Cuba by leading the league with a batting average of .430, and by hitting a rare home run over the right-field wall at Almendares Park, a distance of more than 400 feet, in the last season before the park was destroyed by a hurricane. In doing so, Wilson joined Cristobal TorrienteOscar CharlestonAlejandro Oms, and Esteban Montalvo as the only men ever to do so, earning himself the nickname El Jorocon — The Bull — in the process.”

2B-Martin Dihigo, Cuban Stars East, 20 Years Old

1924

160 AB, .306, 3 HR, 22 RBI, .306/.380/.438, 111 OPS+

73 IP, 4-4, 3.70 ERA, 31 K, 132 ERA+, 1.411 WHIP

WAR-2.7

WAR for Pitchers-1.9 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars East

18-26-1, 6th in ECL

Manager Pelayo Chacon

OPS+-78, 7th in league

ERA+-99, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Martin Dihigo, 2.7

2nd Time All-Star-For the second consecutive year, Dihigo made the list more from his pitching than hitting, but because he played more games at second base than any other position, this is where I put him. Last year, he made it to my list as a shortstop, despite contributing more as a pitcher. Starting next season, the versatile Dihigo is going to start hitting the cover off of the ball and have some good seasons. He just didn’t have enough of them in the Majors to make my Hall of Fame so he settled for making it into Cooperstown. There’s no shame in that, Martin!

                Wikipedia says, “Martín Dihigo’s stature as a ballplayer is reflected in this conversation between former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis and broadcaster Jaime Jarrín:

“Al said, ‘Jaime, the best player that I have ever seen in my life is Martin Dihigo, but he never came to the Major Leagues,'” Jarrin said. “‘After Dihigo, I would put Roberto Clemente above Willie Mays. Those are the two best players I have ever seen in my entire life.’

“Along with Willie Wells, Dihigo is just one of two players to be inducted to the AmericanCubanMexicanDominican Republic and Venezuelan Baseball Halls of Fame.”

                Peter C. Bjarkman of SABR writes, “The conversion to pitcher, however, did not mean a slacking-off in other aspects of his balanced game. The late 1920s and early 1930s saw Dihigo’s winter-league batting averages in his native Cuba soar from .300 (1925) to .344 (1926) to .413 (1927) to .450 (the second half of the same season after being traded from Habana to Marianao). In one remarkable individual performance, El Inmortal would nip out teammate Willie Wells for a Cuban League batting title by registering a 5-for-5 outing on the season’s final day—a shade better than Wells’ own 4-for-4 in the same ballgame.”

                We’re going to see that same improvement in his Major League hitting.

2B-John Henry Lloyd, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 41 Years Old

1921 1923 1924

254 AB, .331, 3 HR, 57 RBI, .331/.406/.437, 118 OPS+

WAR-2.0

WAR Position Players-2.0 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.0 (10th)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

Atlantic City Bacharach Giants

36-38-2, 4th in ECL

Manager John Henry Lloyd

OPS+-77, 8th in league

ERA+-115, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Rats Henderson, 4.4

4th Time All-Star-Despite being 41 years old, Lloyd again made my list. He’s now made it at second base two times. I mentioned in his last blurb he moved to that position last year after 20 years of playing shortstop. Yet look above, he’s still in the top 10 in Defensive WAR. His hitting declined a bit this year, but believe it or not, he’s still got some incredible seasons at the bat left. Along with all that, he was the team’s skipper and the team stayed in fourth place for the second straight year.

                In Verdun2’s Blog, V writes, “I’m telling you this because it reinforces one of the primary problems when dealing with black baseball before 1950. The statistical information is spotty. In the case of my fantasy team John Henry Lloyd only has enough information available to get him into about 50 games of a 154 game season. Pete Hill gets about 75 games. Louis Santop can make about 100 games. All three are Hall of Famers. And some of the statistics are quite simply a best guess (or at least close to it–Kevin did a great job figuring out how to add the player’s information in to the existing system). And this brings up one of the greatest problems with trying to deal with the black leagues of the era.

                “Exactly how good were these guys? Frankly I don’t know and neither does anyone else. I, and everyone else, can make educated guesses and the working around of stats in something as unimportant in the grand scheme of things like a fantasy league can provide a glimpse of what almost all of our parents and grandparents missed. But ultimately, it is only a glimpse.”

                That’s why Lloyd isn’t making my Hall of Fame, which is based only on recorded stats. However, he did make Cooperstown, rightfully so I may add.

3B-Judy Johnson, Hilldale Club, 25 Years Old

1924

262 AB, .389, 6 HR, 66 RBI, .389/.431/.576, 158 OPS+

WAR-3.1

Wins Above Replacement-3.1 (10th)

WAR Position Players-3.1 (4th)

Offensive WAR-3.1 (4th)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as 3B-70 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Johnson again showed himself to be the best third baseman in the league. He was one of the leaders of the pennant-winning Hilldale Club. Johnson set career records for batting average (.389) here in 1925. In the World Series against the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League, he hit .250 (six-for-24) with a double. It wasn’t a great series for Johnson, but his team still beat KC, five games to one.

                Wikipedia says, “The following season, with Johnson hitting .392, the Daisies secured a third straight pennant and returned to the World Series for a rematch with the Monarchs. The favored Hilldale club owed its success in the series—which they won five-to-one—to a stronger line-up consisting of seven starters finishing the regular season batting over .300 and pitching staff led by Nip Winters.

                “After the season, Johnson started playing winter ball in Cuba and was moved to the clean-up spot in the line-up for the remainder of his stint with Hilldale.”

                I want to make a note here. It’s true Hilldale did have an outstanding lineup and a strong team. But one of the main reasons they won the Series is because Bullet Rogan, the great two-way player for the Monarchs, was injured and didn’t play in the games. I’m not taking anything away from the Daisies (funny, Baseball Reference doesn’t give HIlldale a nickname), but it would have been a whole different Negro World Series if Rogan was around. Still, congratulations to Johnson and the Daisies!

SS-Walter Cannady, Harrisburg Giants, 23 Years Old

275 AB, .389, 13 HR, 86 RBI, .389/.444/.604, 168 OPS+

1/3 IP, 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 0 K, 35 ERA+, 6.000 WHIP

WAR-3.9

Wins Above Replacement-3.9 (4th)

WAR Position Players-4.0 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-3.9 (2nd)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Defensive WAR-0.4

Def. Games as SS-71

1st Time All-Star-Walter Cannady was born on March 6, 1902 in Norfolk, Virginia. The five-foot-10, 180 pound righty shortstop, second baseman, and third baseman started with the Negro National League Cleveland Tate Stars in 1922. He was 20 years old at the time and in 16 recorded games, hit .386 as a leftfielder. You would have thought someone would snatch the young man up, but he didn’t play in the Majors again until this 1925 season and then had an incredible year, his best season ever.

                James A. Riley of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum writes, “Although second base was his best position, Rev was an all-purpose player who could play anywhere in the field and play the position well. He was a good fielder in all aspects of defensive play, but was best known for his hitting. Throughout his well-traveled career, he was usually placed in the heart of the batting order, regardless of the team. A bad-ball hitter, he was known as a superior curveball hitter who would wait on a curve and then ‘jump on it.’ He also had relatively good speed on the bases, although not excelling as a base stealer. Cannady was quiet but moody and ‘mean,’ and other players generally left him alone because of his unpredictability. On one occasion he attacked an umpire and, after being put out of the game, broke the umpire’s car windows with a bat. At times he was also lazy and seemingly unconcerned about playing, which introduced an inconsistency in his play.”

SS-John Beckwith, Baltimore Black Sox, 25 Years Old

1920 1922 1924

183 AB, .404, 15 HR, 64 RBI, .404/.473/.738, 209 OPS+

WAR-3.5

Wins Above Replacement-3.5 (8th)

WAR Position Players-3.4 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-3.4 (3rd)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Baltimore Black Sox

33-31-2, 3rd in ECL

Managers John Beckwith (25-18-1) and Pete Hill (11-15-1)

OPS+-94, 4th in league

ERA+-118, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Bob McClure, 3.9

Led in:

AB per HR-12.2

4th Time All-Star-Playing shortstop for the second consecutive year for the Black Sox, Beckwith had his best season ever and his best power year ever if judged by recorded stats. As I’ve mentioned in all of his blurbs, he had a reputation as the best power hitter around at this time and this season, he actually was, leading the league in at bats per homer (12.2). Those 15 homers would have been 45 if he played a 150-game season.

                Seamheads has quotes from various people on Beckwith. Those include:

                Leslie Heaphy, writer of The Negro Leagues (1869-1960) wrote, “Baltimore also had managerial difficulties related to discipline among the players, and even the fans, because the players often acted like men who never really grew up. After John Beckwith forced the team to name him manager in 1925 to keep him from leaving, he had trouble with the players who disliked the way he ran the team. Beckwith got into further trouble when he hit an umpire during a game in Harrisburg in August 1925. Baltimore finally had to let him go to restore peace in the clubhouse and on the field.”

                Monte Irvin in Few and Chosen, writes, “Beckwith’s fatal flaws were a tendency to be a little lazy in the field and a fiery temper and mean disposition. I’ve heard that in one game, Beckwith made an error that cost pitcher Bill Holland a ballgame and so enraged Holland that he threw his glove on the ground in disgust. Angry that he was being shown up by a teammate, Beckwith walked over to Holland and decked him with his right hand.”

                Despite the players hating him, check out the won-loss records above of when Beckwith was running the show and what happened when it was turned over to Pete Hill.

SS-George Scales, New York Lincoln Giants, 24 Years Old

1923 1924

105 AB, .352, 5 HR, 33 RBI, .352/.460/.571, 165 OPS+

WAR-1.5

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 11 more All-Star seasons. 50 percent chance)

New York Lincoln Giants

7-41-2, 8th in league

Managers Judy Gans (3-31-2) and Clarence Lindsay (4-10)

OPS+-85, 5th in league

ERA+-60, 8th in league

WAR Leader-George Scales, 1.5

3rd Time All-Star-There have been some terrible teams in baseball’s long history, but the Lincoln Giants might be one of the worst, winning just seven of 48 decisions. Their best player was this pudgy shortstop, Scales, and it’s the reason he made my list. While it will still be almost impossible for him to make my Hall of Fame, he did increase his chances from 29 to 50 percent by making the All-Star team this season.

                Stephen V. Rice of SABR writes, “On June 1, 1924, the Lincoln Giants swept a doubleheader from the Cuban Stars; playing both games at second base, Scales handled 18 chances without error, and he went 6-for-9 at the plate. In a doubleheader against the Jamaica (New York) Cardinals on May 30, 1925, he clouted four home runs — two in each game — yet the Lincoln Giants lost both contests.

                “The Lincoln Giants released Scales in August 1925 ‘not because of his ball playing, but because of a personal difference with the owner,’ Jim Keenan. Scales finished the season with the Homestead Grays.”

                Scales was probably happy to go to the Grays, despite them not being a “Major League” team, because that team was fantastic. According to Baseball History Daily, “Twenty-five games into the 1925 season, the independent Homestead Grays had won 23 games, lost one and tied one according to The Pittsburgh Courier.

                “Bill Nunn of The Courier called the club, ‘Pittsburgh’s one winning ballclub,’ and regionally the ‘greatest drawing card in baseball.’” It’s weird the article says the Grays were Pittsburgh’s one winning ballclub, because the Pirates won the National League pennant in 1925.

LF-Clint Thomas, Hilldale Club, 28 Years Old

1922 1924

255 AB, .341,7 HR, 61 RBI, .341/.411/.541, 144 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR Position Players-2.4 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Doubles-24 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-Despite his reputation, Thomas didn’t make Cooperstown nor will he make my Hall of Fame. Still, for a stretch of time in the mid-1920s, there weren’t too many outfielders better than this man. He had another good season and helped Hilldale get to the Colored World Series. He hit .273 (six-for-22) with two doubles and two steals. However, he was also caught stealing twice. It didn’t stop Hilldale from winning the Series over Kansas City, 5-1.

                Billy Reed of The Washington Post writes, “He never got the recognition he deserved, even when he was playing, because, in the 1920s and 30s, black baseball players were regarded as little more than side-show freaks. He didn’t get it after retirement, either, because Clint [The Hawk] Thomas isn’t one to bray or well on what might have been.

                “So, for the past 40 years, Thomas mas been content to work in the West Virginia statehouse. He makes coffee for the state legislators, supervises messengers for the Senate, and hires the janitors. Nobody suspected that, once upon a time, he was a professional baseball player of extraordinary ability.

                “’I don’t believe in talking,’ said Thomas yesterday, chuckling softly. ‘Besides, if I’d started saying that I used to be a ballplayer, everybody would say, “Well the office found out about this honor, they started calling everybody to find out if it was a fake.”’”

                The article isn’t clear but the honor he received was being guest of honor at a shindig thrown at someone’s house.

LF-Chaney White, Wilmington Potomacs/Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 31 Years Old

238 AB, .353, 6 HR, 43 RBI, .353/.414/.508, 138 OPS+

WAR-2.0

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Wilmington Team Stats

Atlantic City Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Chaney Leonard White was born on April 15, 1894 in Longview, Texas. The five-foot-10, 196 pound righty hitting, lefty throwing outfielder started his career as a centerfielder for Atlantic City in 1923. In 1924, he played for the Bacharach Giants and the Washington Potomacs. Then this year Washington moved to Wilmington and after it folded, White came back to the Boardwalk and made his first All-Star team. He made it as a fluke as Wilmington’s best player.

                James A. Riley writes in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, “His hard-nosed approach earned him a reputation as a ‘dirty’ ballplayer, and he made no distinctions about who was on the receiving end of his flashing spikes. He once opened a wound on catcher Larry Brown‘s leg above the knee that required eight stitches to close, and in another play at home plate, he cut the chest protector and shin guards off Josh Gibson.

                “White’s style of play contrasted with his demeanor off the field, where he was quiet and slow-talking, with a girlish laugh. His movements were languid, making him appear lazy and lackadaisical, but he was described as a gentleman and a scholar.”

                “He had some problems during his early years in Atlantic City, stemming from leg injuries. He started the 1924 season in center field for the Bacharachs, but suffered from bad legs and in mid-June was released to the Washington Potomacs. There he became their regular centerfielder until late in the season, when he suffered a bad knee injury and was unable to return to his previous form and had to be rested.”

CF-Oscar Charleston, Harrisburg Giants, 28 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923 1924

255 AB, .427, 20 HR, 97 RBI, .427/.523/.776, 232 OPS+

WAR 5.6

Wins Above Replacement-5.6 (2nd)

WAR Position Players-5.6 (1st)

Offensive WAR-5.6 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1976)

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

Harrisburg Giants

48-24-1, 2nd in league

Manager Oscar Charleston

OPS+-115, 1st in league

ERA+-103, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Charleston, 5.6

Led in:

1925 ECL Batting Title (3rd Time)

1925 ECL Triple Crown (3rd Time)

WAR Position Players-5.6 (5th Time)

Offensive WAR-5.6 (5th Time)

Batting Average-.427 (3rd Time)

On-Base %-.523 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.776 (3rd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.299 (3rd Time)

Runs Scored-97 (5th Time)

Hits-109 (3rd Time)

Total Bases-198 (4th Time)

Home Runs-20 (4th Time)

Runs Batted In-97 (4th Time)

Bases on Balls-51

Adjusted OPS+-232 (3rd Time)

Runs Created-104 (5th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-53 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.8 (4th Time)

Extra Base Hits-46 (5th Time)

Times On Base-160 (4th Time)

Offensive Win %-.900 (3rd Time)

Power-Speed #-18.4 (4th Time)

Def. Games as CF-64 (3rd Time)

6th Time All-Star-Charleston continued playing and managing for the Harrisburg Giants and, as the skipper, almost guided them into first place. It helped his best player was one Oscar Charleston, who as a player continued to dominate the league. This is the third time he hit over .400 in a season and it will be the last time. The only thing Charleston is missing at this time is a league title, but he’ll eventually make the postseason.

                Charleston’s Hall of Fame page says, “’Charlie was a tremendous left-handed hitter who could also bunt, steal a hundred bases a year, and cover center field as well as anyone before him or since…he was like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Tris Speaker rolled into one.’ – Buck O’Neil

                “A powerful hitter who could hit to all fields and bunt, Charleston was also extremely fast on the base paths and in center field. He played a very shallow center, almost behind second base, and his great speed and instincts helped him outrun many batted balls. He had a powerful arm. Coupled with this great natural ability was an aggressive demeanor and will to win.

                “His finest season was likely 1925 when he hit .427 for the Harrisburg Giants to go with 20 homers and 97 RBI. He won batting titles in the Eastern Colored League in 1924 and 1925.”

                I hate to disagree with an august organization such as the Hall of Fame, but I think 1920 was his best season. It doesn’t matter, though, so many of his campaigns in the 1920s were incredible and it’s hard to tell one season from another.

RF-Rap Dixon, Harrisburg Giants, 22 Years Old

287 AB, .352, 8 HR, 53 RBI, .352/.421/.512, 140 OPS+

WAR-2.6

WAR Position Players-2.6 (7th)

Offensive WAR-2.5 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-73

1st Time All-Star-Herbert Alphonso “Rap” Dixon was born on September 15, 1902 in Kingston, Georgia. The five-foot-11, 185 pound righty outfielder started his Major League career with Harrisburg in 1924 and really stepped up his game this season. He’s going to have a few All-Star seasons going forward, though not nearly enough to make any of my Hall of Fames. He would start to develop quite a power stroke during his playing days.

                Ted Knorr and Chris Rainey of SABR write, “The following season, 1925, was the Harrisburg Giants’ highwater mark. Charleston captured his second consecutive triple crown (.427/20/97 in a 73-game ECL season). Jenkins hit .317 and scored 82 runs while Dixon made his presence known hitting .352/8/53. The team finished second (48-24-1, .664) behind Hilldale. The outfield trio was honored with both Charleston and Dixon being named first team All-East and Jenkins as an honorable mention in left.

                “That fall, Dixon accepted an invitation from Hilldale’s Biz Mackey and joined the Philadelphia Royal Giants in the California Winter League. The team won the season’s second half with an overall record of 24-15-3. Dixon batted just .271 and usually was in the bottom of the order. He did stroke four hits as the Royal Giants swept the White King Soapsters in a three-game postseason battle.

                “His fine 1925 season made Dixon a star. New York Giants manager John “Muggsy” McGraw told the press that winter that, ‘If that boy Dixon was not so black, I could make a Cuban out of him and the National League would have another star to talk about. He is without question, one of the greatest outfielders in the United States.’ Despite the glowing praise, Colonel Strothers listened to offers from Rube Foster that might have sent Dixon to Chicago.

RF-Country Brown, Wilmington Potomacs/Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 29 Years Old

243 AB, .333, 3 HR, 42 RBI, .333/.413/.416, 115 OPS+

WAR-1.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 249 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Potomacs Team Stats

Bacharach Giants Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Elias “Country” Brown was born on March 28, 1896 in Atlanta. The lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder, third baseman, and second baseman started his Major League career with the Washington Potomacs in 1924. That team became the Wilmington Potomacs this season and Brown followed. When Wilmington disbanded, Brown was picked up by Atlantic City. He did much better for the Potomacs than the Bacharach Giants, hitting .404 in Wilmington and .271 in Atlantic City.

                Baseball Reference says, “Brown moved to the Washington Potomacs in 1923. In 1924, he hit .335 for them, just missing the top 5 in the Eastern Colored League. He followed with a .420 mark for the Potomacs in partial playing time in 1925.

                “Throughout his career, Brown was noted for his clowning while in the coaching box. He would occasionally bat while standing on his knees. He had a very detailed routine wherein he mimed a crap game, removing clothing and throwing them in for his ante. He would then faint after seeing the results of an imaginary dice roll. Brown once brought out a shovel to dig a grave for an umpire.

                “He got into an altercation with his brother-in-law on Christmas morning in 1937 and a blow fell Brown, whose skull was fractured. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, on the same street, and died there. James Riley‘s baseball encyclopedia lists Brown’s brother-in-law as dying during the fight, not Brown. Research by Gary Ashwill, though, turned up a 1/1/38 edition of the New York Amsterdam News which said Brown died during the fight and his brother-in-law, Raymond Terrell, laid the fatal blow.”

1925 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM, 4th MVP

P-Nelson Dean, KCM

P-Andy Cooper, DS

P-Juan Padron, CAG

P-Bill McCall, CAG

P-Bill Drake, KCM

P-Bill Foster, BBB/CAG

P-George Harney, CAG

P-Steel Arm Tyler, MRS

P-William Bell, KCM

C-Poindexter Williams, BBB

C-Mitchell Murray, SLS

1B-Willie Bobo, SLS

1B-Edgar Wesley, DS

2B-Anderson Pryor, DS

3B-Dewey Creacy, SLS

3B-Dave Malarcher, CAG

SS-Willie Wells, SLS

LF-Wilson Redus, SLS

LF-Earl Gurley, MRS/CAG/ABC

CF-Turkey Stearnes, DS

CF-Cool Papa Bell, SLS

RF-Branch Russell, SLS

RF-Clarence Smith, DS

RF-Esteban Montalvo, CSW

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 31 Years Old, 4th MVP

1921 1922 1923 1924

155 1/3 IP, 15-2, 1.74 ERA, 96 K, 302 ERA+, 1.011 WHIP

125 AB, .360, 2 HR, 40 RBI, .360/.424/.592, 170 OPS+

WAR-9.3

Wins Above Replacement-9.3 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-7.4 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

Ron’s: Yes (Inducted in 1925) 131 Tot/47 P

Kansas City Monarchs

59-23-2, 1st in NNL, Won CS over St. Louis Stars, 4-3; Lost WS to HIlldale Club, 5-1

Manager Jose Mendez

OPS+-99, 3rd in league

ERA+-153, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Bullet Rogan, 9.3

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-9.3 (4th Time)

WAR for Pitchers-7.4 (3rd Time)

Win-Loss %-.882

Strikeouts-96 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-15 (3rd Time)

Shutouts-4 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-3.097

Adj. Pitching Runs-59 (4th Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-6.0 (3rd Time)

5th Time All-Star-The year 1925 was the sixth year of the Negro National League being a Major League and it has its first entrant into my Hall of Fame, this stellar talent, Bullet Rogan. I had written back in his 1921 blurb that I thought it would be between him and Oscar Charleston as to whom would be my first Negro League Hall of Fame inductee and it was none other than the multi-faceted Bullet. Along with making my Hall, I also gave him the NNL Most Valuable Player for the fourth time. I’m also calling this his best season ever.

                Then to add to all of that above, he also guided the Monarchs to their third straight NNL title. In the Championship Series against the St. Louis Stars, Rogan started three games and won them all, compiling a 2.42 ERA, and also hit .450 (nine-for-20) as the Monarchs won, 4-3.  In the World Series, he didn’t play as Hilldale beat KC, 5-1. Wikipedia explains his absence: “Rogan may have reached his peak in 1925, leading Kansas City to its third straight league championship with a 17–2 record and a .381 batting average. In the playoffs against the St. Louis Stars he hit .450 and won three more games, including one shutout. However, before the World Series rematch with Hilldale, Rogan suffered a knee injury while playing with his young son. Forced to undergo surgery, he missed the series. Without their star, the Monarchs were defeated in six games.” What a difference one man can make, especially if it’s this man!

P-Nelson Dean, Kansas City Monarchs, 26 Years Old

134 2/3 IP, 11-3, 2.74 ERA, 67 K, 192 ERA+, 1.062 WHIP

56 AB, .196, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .196/.196/.196, 6 OPS+

WAR-5.1

Wins Above Replacement-5.1 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-5.3 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Nelson Dean was born on February 18, 1899 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. The five-foot-seven righty pitcher had this great rookie year for the best team in the league. In the Championship Series against the Stars, Dean started one game and lost, giving up three runs in four innings. KC still went on to win four games to three. In the World Series versus Hilldale, Dean pitched two games, going 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA. It didn’t help as Hilldale won the Series, 5-1.

                There’s not much on Dean out in the Internets, so here’s Wikipedia’s wrap-up of the Monarchs’ season: “Motivated by the Monarchs’ runaway pennant victory, NNL president Rube Foster changed the league schedule to a split-season format for 1925. Kansas City nevertheless took the league title again in 1925, but lost the World Series to Hilldale when Rogan was injured just before the series began and won one game and lost five to Hilldale. Even though Méndez was the manager, it was still possible to see him on the mound during the few years he held the position. Among the team’s regulars during these years were the brilliant-fielding second baseman/shortstop Newt Allen who in the 1924 series alone had an average of .282 and seven doubles and Frank Duncan, one of the best-regarded defensive catchers in Negro league history. Newt Joseph played third base for the Monarchs from 1922 through their NNL years, hitting a composite .284 during that time.”

                Before reading this article in Wikipedia, I wasn’t aware there was a split-season.

P-Andy Cooper, Detroit Stars, 27 Years Old

1922 1923 1924

146 2/3 IP, 12-2, 2.88 ERA, 49 K, 182 ERA+, 1.077 WHIP

54 AB, .241, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .241/.293/.407, 86 OPS+

WAR-4.7

Wins Above Replacement-4.7 (4th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.3 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Detroit Stars

56-44, 4th in NNL

Manager Bruce Petway

OPS+-114, 2nd in league

ERA+-92, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Turkey Stearnes, 5.4

Led in:

Saves-4 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-I’ve noted over the years how sorry I feel for Mike Trout, baseball’s best player, who has only made the postseason once and played in just three games. He’s not the first good athlete to whom that happened and won’t be the last. Andy Cooper is one of those players. He will pitch phenomenally for years, but isn’t going to make the playoffs for quite a while. I’m calling his 1925 campaign his best season ever.

                Dirk Lammers of nonohitters.com writes, “Today would be the 122nd birthday of Andy Cooper, who threw a Negro National League no-hitter for the Detroit Stars in 1925.

                “On Sunday, June 28, 1925, during the second game of a Sunday doubleheader, Cooper no-hit the Indianapolis ABCs for a 1-0 win.

                “The 6-foot-2, 220-pound southpaw from Waco, Texas, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.”

                Robert F. Darden writes a long article about the great pitcher in Waco’s Magazine and says of this season: “In June 1925, Cooper threw a no-hitter against the Indianapolis ABCs. That year he won his first nine decisions, but a couple of days after the no-hitter, he broke his leg and was out until September. Cooper finished 11-2 in 1925.”

                Here’s another bit from that article: “Because he played and coached in the segregated times of the 1920s through 1940s, Cooper doesn’t have much of a paper trail. He is in baseball’s Hall of Fame mostly because the players who played in the so-called Negro Leagues insisted he was one of the best to ever play (and manage) the grand old game. Due to their efforts and the work of a handful of baseball fans and experts, Cooper was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 2006, along with 16 other Negro League luminaries.”

                Read the whole thing.

P-Juan Padron, Chicago American Giants, 32 Years Old

1922 1923 1924

122 1/3 IP, 10-5, 3.09 ERA, 60 K, 170 ERA+, 1.136 WHIP

43 AB, .233, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .233/.267/.233, 35 OPS+

WAR-4.5

Wins Above Replacement-4.5 (6th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.4 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Chicago American Giants

57-41-2, 3rd in NNL

Manager Rube Foster

OPS+-70, 8th in league

ERA+-140, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Juan Padron, 4.5

4th Time All-Star-Padron has now made my list four consecutive years, but this is going to be his last. In 1926, he’s going to move to the Indianapolis ABCs and go 2-4 with a 5.95 ERA. Age, along with pitching in a hitter’s park, caught up with him. He was part of the American Giants’ 1922 pennant team, but he never got to pitch in a Negro World Series. Still, for four years, he was one of the Negro National League’s very best.

                The Hall of Miller and Eric writes, “Padrón’s record also doesn’t explain much of what happened to him. I can’t either. He pitched at the highest levels from 1915 to 1926, and suddenly, he fell off the map. To be honest, it looks like a classic case of a pitcher’s arm just giving out. He’s cookin’ with gas in 1925 (ERA+ of 170) then disappears after 1926. Riley indicates he began pitching semipro ball a few years later in Michigan, which seems plausible. His arm gave out, a few years later, it comes back a little but not enough to compete at the top level, so he makes his bread where he can. He ended up staying in Michigan.

                “One whale of a pitcher. In many ways, he’s Hippo Vaughn with an extra All-Star-level season in there. Vaughn is about one All-Star-level year from being a very serious contender for the Hall of Miller and Eric, so Padrón will clearly be a person of considerable interest to us.”

                Padron died on December 7, 1981 at the age of 89 in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

P-Bill McCall, Chicago American Giants, 27 Years Old

1924

119 IP, 6-6, 2.95 ERA, 61 K, 178 ERA+, 1.202 WHIP

44 AB, .182, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .182/.234/.205, 19 OPS+

WAR-4.1

Wins Above Replacement-4.1 (7th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.1 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After pitching for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924 and actually pitching (terribly) in the Negro World Series, McCall came to Chi-town and actually pitched his best season ever. It was the only time in his Major League career he had a .500 season. Of course, it always helps to pitch in Chicago which was a notoriously difficult home park for hitters, but he still did well.

                There isn’t a lot out there on McCall, so I’m going to post a little bit from Baseball History Daily on Rube Foster, Chicago’s skipper. He believed as far back as 1914 that blacks would be let into the Majors. Unfortunately, he was wrong for way too many years. Here’s part of the article: “At the beginning of the 1914 baseball season, Andrew Bishop “Rube” Foster believed baseball’s color line was on the verge of being broken.

                “He talked about it with The Seattle Post-Intelligencer while touring the West Coast with the Chicago American Giants:

                “’Before another baseball season rolls around colored ball players, a score of whom are equal in ability to the brightest stars in the big league teams, will be holding down jobs in organized baseball…They’re taking in Cubans now, you notice and they’ll let us in soon.’

                “Billy Lewis, a writer for The Indianapolis Freeman did not share Foster’s optimism:

                “’It goes without saying it emphatically, that Foster’s opinion sounds mighty good to the “poor down-trodden” colored players who have to do so much “tall” figuring in order to make ends meet.  But the plain fact of the matter is that Rube has drawn on his imagination for the better part of his opinion.  For as much as I hope and as colored players and people hope for better days for the colored players there’s nothing to warrant what he had to say. Foster is having the time of his life, riding about in special cars out west, and naturally enough with the distinguished consideration paid him and his bunch of players, he feels to give out something worthwhile.’”

                Read the whole thing.

P-Bill Drake, Kansas City Monarchs, 30 Years Old

1921

123 2/3, 9-6, 3.35 ERA, 57 K, 157 ERA+, 1.156 WHIP

45 AB, .133, 1 HR, 6 RBI, .133/.188/.200, 4 OPS+

WAR-3.7

Wins Above Replacement-3.7 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.8 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After Drake made my All-Star team for the St. Louis Stars in 1921, he started 0-4 for the Stars in ’22 before moving on to the Monarchs. With the Monarchs, he started to shine. In the 1924 Negro World Series that Kansas City won over Hilldale, Drake pitched in relief four games, going 0-1, with a 4.61 ERA. This season, he pitched in the Championship Series against his former team, the Stars, and went 0-1 with a 0.75 ERA. In the World Series that the Monarchs lost to Hilldale, he struggled, going 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA.

                Baseball Reference says of Drake, known as “Plunk”: “Plunk was known for his trick pitches and curveball.

                “Drake played with white semipro teams in North Dakota during his career but refused to play in the Florida Hotel League due to racial conditions in the South. Later in life, he did take a basketball team to Atlanta, GA to play against black college teams. Bill also refused to play in the Caribbean due to the response Cuban batters in the USA had to his tendency to work inside.

                “Off the field, Bill had the reputation as a jokester.

                “Drake did not plan much for his post-baseball life and did not hold a steady job until the 1940s; from age 52 to 62, he worked for Famous & Barr before retiring. He struggled financially due to his lack of planning and sought aid where available, once claiming war service in a pension appeal.”

                Plunk died on October 30, 1977 in St. Louis.

P-Bill Foster, Birmingham Black Barons/Chicago American Giants, 21 Years Old

78 IP, 6-0, 1.62 ERA, 49 K, 327 ERA+, 1.000 WHIP

25 AB, .240, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .240/.296/.400, 85 OPS+

WAR-3.7

Wins Above Replacement-3.7 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.5 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1996)

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

Birmingham Black Barons

27-59-1, 7th in NNL

Manager Sam Crawford

OPS+-82, 5th in league

ERA+-80, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Poindexter Williams, 2.1

American Giants Team Stats

Led in:

1925 NNL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-1.62 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.000 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-6.577 (2nd Time)

Strikeouts per 9 IP-5.654 (2nd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-327 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William Hendrick “Bill” or “Willie” Foster was born on June 12, 1904 in Calvert, Texas. The six-foot, 190 pound switch-hitting, lefty pitching hurler started with his brother Rube’s team in 1923, pitching just eight innings and allowing seven runs (five earned). In 1924, he started his season with the Memphis Red Sox and then came to Chicago. It was a very good year and he could have made my list. This season, he started his season with the Birmingham Black Barons and then finally came back to his bro’s team where he would pitch for the next 10 seasons. He is going to make my list a lot.

                Thomas Kern writes in SABR, “Foster’s first stint with the Chicago American Giants, from 1923 to 1930, witnessed his ascendence to elite status. From 1923 to 1925, he pitched on a limited basis for the American Giants, and was also loaned to Memphis in 1924 and to the Birmingham Black Barons in 1925. However, Rube had no intention of losing Bill and, in fact, indicative of his embracing his brother in his orbit, called on the services of his younger brother to serve as majority shareholder when Rube orchestrated the initial incorporation of the Negro National League in the winter of 1924-1925. Lester notes, however, that later on ‘Willie Foster did not play an active role in the league’s operation, leaving the administrative decision to his older brother Rube.’”

                You are going to be absolutely dazzled by some of Willie’s upcoming seasons.

P-George Harney, Chicago American Giants, 35 Years Old

116 2/3 IP, 7-5, 3.63 ERA, 50 K, 145 ERA+, 1.320 WHIP

41 AB, .171, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .171/.209/.171, 3 OPS+

WAR-3.4

WAR for Pitchers-3.6 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-George Arthur Harney was born on June 1, 1890 in Bessemer, Alabama. The five-foot-11, 180 pound righty pitcher and rightfielder started with the American Giants in 1923. He went 11-3 in 1924, but didn’t make my list, but had a good year this season. He probably would have had a chance at Cooperstown had not his Major League career started so late in life.

                 William McNeil wrote a book entitled The California Winter League: America’s First Integrated Professional Baseball League, a league of which Harney was a participant. McNeil said, “Willie Foster, one of the greatest southpaw pitchers in Negro League history, arrived on the scene midway through the streak, and 6-0 the rest of the way to put the icing on the cake. In his first winter start, on January 16, he shout out Pirrone’s All-Stars 4-0, behind an eleven strikeout masterpiece. A week later, Rube Foster’s little brother chalked up another whitewash job, trouncing the White Kings 11-0, and fanning five in the seven inning nightcap. Stearnes with a homer and sing (sic), Mackey with a homer, and Dixon with three singles led the attack. George Harney got into the act by blanking the kings (sic) in game two, 4-0, scattering seven hits. Turkey Stearnes had a single and a home run.”

                I’d like to know more about this California Winter League and maybe sometime I’ll have time to read up more on it, but needless to say it had a lot of stars, including Turkey Stearnes, Biz Mackey, and Bill Foster, Hall of Famers all.

P-Steel Arm Tyler, Memphis Red Sox, 19 Years Old

171 2/3 IP, 9-12, 4.14 ERA, 93 K, 127 ERA+, 1.113 WHIP

53 AB, .132, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .132/.179/.132, -15 OPS+

WAR-3.2

WAR for Pitchers-3.5 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Memphis Red Sox

34-49-1, 6th in NNL

Manager Dizzy Dismukes

OPS+-82, 5th in league

ERA+-80, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Steel Arm Tyler, 3.2

Led in:

Games Started-23

Losses-12

1st Time All-Star-William “Steel Arm” Tyler was born on September 26, 1905 in Evansville, Indiana. The five-foot-eight, 165 pound righty pitcher and outfielder had this impressive rookie year and he’ll be back on this list possibly once more. This would be the last year for the Memphis Red Sox, a team that finished sixth both years of its existence. Teams tended to come and go during these years of the Negro Leagues, unless they were the stalwart franchises like the Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, or Kansas City Monarchs.

                Now there isn’t much on Tyler, but before him was a player nicknamed “Steel Arm” Taylor, who is written about on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum page by James A. Riley. He wrote, “Taylor often coached college teams, beginning in the spring of 1899, when he coached the Biddle University team. He returned to that post again in 1905, and also coached the M&I College team of Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1908, developing players who later went into the professional ranks. This included a battery with the Birmingham Giants- Pinson, a pitcher, and Cobb, who did the brunt of the backstopping in the 1909 season.

                “As a coach, Taylor emphasized clean living and hard work, and set an example for his players, abstaining from the use of both alcohol and tobacco in any form. He was a hard worker and possessed a sweet baseball disposition. When his younger brother Ben Taylor was appointed manager of the Washington Potomacs in 1924, Johnny was asked to go with him as the pitching coach.”

P-William Bell, Kansas City Monarchs, 27 Years Old

112 IP, 10-3, 3.21 ERA, 44 K, 164 ERA+, 1.054 WHIP

47 AB, .043, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .043/.063/.043, -71 OPS+

WAR-3.1

WAR for Pitchers-3.7 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 75 percent chance)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-William Bell was born on the same day as my niece Chiara, just many years beforehand. He was born on August 31, 1897 in Hallettsville, Texas. The five-foot-seven, 170 pound righty pitcher and outfielder started his Major League career with the Monarchs in 1923. In 1924, he started three games against Hilldale Club in the Negro Leagues World Series, going 1-0, with a 2.63 ERA. This season, he started two games in the Championship Series against the St. Louis Stars, and went 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA. In the World Series rematch against Hilldale, Bell pitched in three games, starting two and lost his only decision despite a 1.15 ERA. In the postseason, he had terrible luck, giving up 24 runs, but half of those were unearned.

                Kevin Larkin and Frederick C. Bush of SABR write, “Bell returned to the Monarchs in 1925 and went 11-5 with a 2.80 ERA over 144⅔ innings in 22 appearances (15 starts) in the regular season and World Series. Mendez managed again, and the team included pitching stalwarts Rogan (15-2) and Nelson Dean (11-3) alongside Bell. The offense continued to be stout as four players hit .300 or better: Rogan (.360), center fielder Hurly McNair (.332), third baseman Newt Joseph (.323), and shortstop Dobie Moore (.312).

                “The 1925 Monarchs won the first half of the Negro National League season and finished the year with a record of 62-23. They played against the second-half winner, the St. Louis Stars, for the league championship. The St. Louis lineup included such luminaries as shortstop Willie Wells, center fielder James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell, and the veteran Candy Jim Taylor, who also managed the team. William Bell took the mound in the third game of the seven-game series, losing to the Stars, 3-2. He also started Game Six, facing the Stars’ Roosevelt Davis – another future Pittsburgh Crawfords teammate – and came away with a 9-3 victory that tied the series at three games apiece. Rogan started Game Seven, which the Monarchs won, 4-0, to capture the NNL title.”

C-Poindexter Williams, Birmingham Black Barons, 27 Years Old

242 AB, .335, 6 HR, 49 RBI, .335/.374/.525, 139 OPS+

WAR-2.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 43 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Poindexter Williams was born on September 10, 1897 in Decatur, Alabama. The six-foot-195 pound righty catcher started his Major League career with the Chicago American Giants and Detroit Stars in 1921. He stayed on Detroit the next year. Williams didn’t play in the Majors in 1923 before coming to his home state and playing for Birmingham in 1924. This year, he was the Black Barons’ best player, according to WAR.

                The Negro Southern League Museum-Birmingham webpage says of the Barons, “The Birmingham Black Barons were organized in 1920 as the Birmingham Stars, one of the first eight teams of the Negro Southern League. That same year, Rube Foster organized the Negro National League. Frank Perdue paid $200 for the rights to be the first owner of the new team. The Stars nickname was quickly discarded, and the team became the known as the Black Barons – a reference to the name of the white team in the city. In 1923, the Black Barons became associate members of the Negro National League under new owner Joe Rush. They became full members of the league in 1925.

                “Several members of the Black Barons during the 1920s had careers that led to their induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Those were pitcher Bill Foster, the legendary Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, and George ‘Mules’ Suttles. Paige is considered by many to be the best pitcher in baseball history. Suttles hit 127 known home runs in Negro League competition, a number that may make him the League’s all-time home run king.”

                There’s nothing on Williams, who would play quite a while with the Black Barons and died on March 17, 1969 at the age of 71 in Homewood, Alabama.

C-Mitchell Murray, St. Louis Stars, 29 Years Old

1923 1924

176 AB, .375, 3 HR, 38 RBI, .375/.439/.483, 147 OPS+

WAR-2.0

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

St. Louis Stars

59-30-2, 2nd in NNL

Manager Candy Jim Taylor

OPS+-136, 1st in league

ERA+-110, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Willie Bobo, 4.6

3rd Time All-Star-Murray has made the All-Star list three consecutive times now and will most likely make it four next season. He is part of a fantastic St. Louis team, a squad that has seven players on this list. There are no pitchers, but they have a player at every position except second base. The Negro National League had a split season this year and the Stars won the second half to face the Monarchs in the Championship Series. Unfortunately they lost, 4-3. Murray hit only .091 (two-for-22) with a homer and three RBI.

                Cnlbr.org reports about the League Championship series: “The first three games of the series were played in St. Louis. Game one was played on September 19th. The Monarchs took game one by a score of 8-6. Kansas City was paced by three homeruns hit by Newt Allen, Frank Duncan and Dobie Moore. Bullet Rogan picked up the win in game one for the Monarchs and Slap Hensley took the loss for St. Louis. The St. Louis Stars rebounded and took games two and three by the scores of 6-3 and 3-2. The series was moved to Chicago for the final four games. Bullet Rogan opened the series in Chicago on September 26th win a 5-4 victory over the Stars. In the game Rogan collected four hits and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The St. Louis Stars came back in game five with a tough 2-1 victory to take a one game lead in the series. With a must win situation in game six, William Bell pitched the Monarchs to a 9-3 victory to even the series at three games apiece. Jose Mendez (Manager of the Kansas City Monarchs) sent Bullet Rogan to the mound for his third start of the series. Rogan did not disappoint and pitched a 4-0 shut out for the win and the Negro National League championship title.”

1B-Willie Bobo, St. Louis Stars, 23 Years Old

323 AB, .359, 14 HR, 84 RBI, .359/.452/.616, 184 OPS+

WAR-4.6

Wins Above Replacement-4.6 (5th)

WAR Position Players-4.6 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-4.6 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 29 more All-Star seasons, Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Bases on Balls-55

Def. Games as 1B-86

1st Time All-Star-Willie Alphonso Bobo was born in 1902 in Tennessee. The lefty first baseman started with the Monarchs in 1923, playing just one game and going oh-for-four. He went to St. Louis the next year and by this season was the Stars’ best player. It was also his best season ever and chances are this is first and only All-Star year. In the League Championship against Kansas City, Bobo hit .360 (nine-for-25) with a double, but it didn’t help as the Monarchs won the Series.

                John Fleming of St. Louis Bullpen put together a list of the 10 greatest players in St. Louis Stars history and ranked Bobo number 10. He wrote of him, “10. Willie Bobo–As is often the case for Negro League players, the biographical information available is somewhat scant. We know he was born in 1902, though we do not have a birth date. He died on February 22, 1931 in San Diego, though I couldn’t find a cause of death from anything approaching a reliable source. But we do know Willie Bobo was a St. Louis Star from 1924 through 1928 and that the first baseman was one of the most feared hitters in the Stars lineup. In 1925, his best season, Bobo had a 1.068 OPS in 391 plate appearances, with his walk rate and solid contact abilities bringing his OPS+ to a staggering 184, heights achieved by Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, and no other St. Louis first basemen. He never again reached quite those heights, but he remained a solid hitter for the remainder of his Stars career.”

1B-Edgar Wesley, Detroit Stars, 34 Years Old

1922 1923

228 AB, .404, 17 HR, 73 RBI, .404/.469/.715, 213 OPS+

WAR-3.9

Wins Above Replacement-3.9 (8th)

WAR Position Players-3.9 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-3.9 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

1925 NNL Batting Title

Batting Average-.404

On-Base %-.469

Slugging %-.715

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.184

Adjusted OPS+-213

Offensive Win %-.880

AB per HR-13.4 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-After last making the list in 1923, Wesley moved from the Stars of the Negro National League to the Harrisburg Giants of the Eastern Colored League in 1924 and had an off year. He was back with Detroit again this season and had his best season ever. Turkey Stearns and he (that’s them above) paired up to once again be the early black “Bash Brothers” as Wesley hit 17 homers and Stearnes parked 19. Babe Ruth put homers in vogue and Detroit fans reaped the benefits.

                Richard Bak of Vintage Detroit writes, “Wesley returned to Detroit in 1925. That summer, he and Stearnes turned Negro League pitching inside out. Turkey hit .364 while topping the circuit in home runs (19) and RBIs (60). Wesley hit a blistering .413 to win the batting crown while finishing runner-up to Stearnes in homers and ribbies. Wesley would have posted even greater numbers, but his season was cut short by a broken ankle. He played another season and a half with the Stars before being traded to Cleveland in 1927. From there he went on to play ball in Cuba and South America, just one more itinerant ballplayer past his prime and trying to make a living the only way he knew how.

                “Wesley quickly faded away. As is the case with so many other Negro Leaguers, not much is known of his life away from the diamond. He was 75 years old when he died in Detroit one July day in 1966. By then Mack Park, the scene of many of his and Stearnes’s greatest hits, had been torn down.”

2B-Anderson Pryor, Detroit Stars, 24 Years Old

1924

326 AB, .285, 6 HR, 47 RBI, .285/.379/.439, 119 OPS+

WAR-2.7

WAR Position Players-2.7 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (9th)

Defensive WAR-0.3 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 92 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as 2B-76

2nd Time All-Star-Pryor made the All-Star team for the second consecutive season as the Negro National League’s best second baseman. This was the 24-year-old’s best year ever, but he’s going to decline quickly after this. He’s got three seasons left in the Majors, but he’ll never play over 39 games during any of those years. Still, the little man (5’4”, 146 pounds) made his mark at the beginning of the Negro Major Leagues.

                In 1923, Pryor played for the Milwaukee Bears in their only season of existence. Dan Curran of OnMilwaukee writes of this squad, “The Milwaukee Bears faced some other baseball legends during its one season of play. Wilber “Bullet Joe” Rogan was a standout pitcher and hitter for the Kansas City Monarchs. “He may have been the best all-around baseball player of all time, better than Babe Ruth,” says Dixon, referring to players who excel at both pitching and hitting. Rogan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

                “Player statistics for the Bears are not available. Based on the batting order of the few box scores published in the Milwaukee papers, some of the top offensive players for the Bears would have been first baseman Percy Wilson and second baseman Anderson Pryor. Shortstop Leroy Stratton was ‘said to be the best looking infielder among the colored leaguers,’ according to the Sentinel. A man named Fulton Strong was likely the team’s top pitcher.”

                Since the above article was written, Baseball Reference has now added Major League stats.

3B-Dewey Creacy, St. Louis Stars, 26 Years Old

331 AB, .323, 14 HR, 72 RBI, .323/.378/.550, 146 OPS+

WAR-3.4

WAR Position Players-3.6 (6th)

Offensive WAR-3.4 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Power-Speed #-15.4

Def. Games as 3B-83

1st Time All-Star-Albert Dewey Creacy was born on April 13, 1899 in Fort Worth, Texas. The five-foot-nine, 160 pound righty third and second baseman started with St. Louis in 1924, but became the team’s fulltime third sacker this season. He would have a long career and he’ll make a lot of my lists, but he’s going to fall short of making Cooperstown and also my Hall of Fame.

                In the Negro National League Championship Series against the Kansas City Monarchs, Creacy hit .261 (six-for-23) with a homer and three RBI. The Stars lost to KC, four games to three.

                From cnlbr.org, there is an article about this newfangled invention, the league championship series. It says, “The schedules for most Negro League seasons were played in two halves with a winner being declared for each half of the season. If different teams each won one half of the season or if the season ended in a dispute over who should be crowned the “league” champion, a Play-Off Series was held.

                “After the 1925 regular Negro National League season, the Kansas City Monarchs, winners of the first half of the season, met the St. Louis Stars, winners of the second half of the season, in a Play-Off Series to determine which team would be crowned the Negro National League champion.

                “The St. Louis Stars finished the season with a record of 71-27 (.724). Candy Jim Taylor (Manager of the St. Louis Stars) had a starting lineup in which all but one of the starters hit over .300 for the season.

                “St. Louis Stars (1925)

1B Willie Bobo .352

2B Eddie Watts .314

SS Willie Wells .270

3B Dewey Creacy .394

C Mitch Murray .387

C Fat Barnes .359

OF Frog Redus .381

OF James Bell .348

OF Branch Russell .311”

You’ll notice the stats in this article differ from the stats I have on this page.

3B-Dave Malarcher, Chicago American Giants, 30 Years Old

1923 1924

315 AB, .324, 2 HR, 35 RBI, .324/.410/.381, 114 OPS+

WAR-2.6

Defensive WAR-0.3 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-Was Malarcher the best third baseman in the league? On the positive side, this is his third consecutive All-Star list. He didn’t hit too well, though this was his best year at the bat, but how much of that had to do with Chicago playing in a pitcher’s park. He wasn’t the best player at the hot corner this season, falling behind Dewey Creacy. As a matter of fact, in just glancing over the stats, Creacy seems to be a better all-around player.

                James A. Riley writes in the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, “Back to full strength in 1923, he hit .295, and in 1924 Foster moved him to the third slot in the batting order for a season, and he responded with another solid season, hitting .293. In 1925 he succeeded Bingo DeMoss as team captain after DeMoss was shipped to the ABCs by Foster to maintain league balance. Leading by example, Malarcher was a model of consistency, hitting for a .330 average during the season, his last under Foster.

                “Malarcher overcame many obstacles in life to experience his diamond accomplishments. He was born the youngest of ten children to parents struggling to escape the underside of society. His father was a farm laborer on a sugar plantation and his mother was a former slave, but they instilled positive values in their son that he retained throughout his life.”

                Because of the way Rube Foster ran his team and the lack of good offensive stats for Malarcher, it’s tough to tell whether he’s going to be making any more of my lists.

SS-Willie Wells, St. Louis Stars, 20 Years Old

1924

338 AB, .290, 8 HR, 53 RBI, .290/.386/.459, 126 OPS+

WAR-3.2

WAR Position Players-3.2 (7th)

Offensive WAR-3.2 (7th)

Defensive WAR-0.5 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1997)

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-I’m going to be writing a lot about Wells over the years, Lord willing, because he was an incredible ballplayer. During this time in the National and American Leagues, there weren’t a lot of great shortstops. I put Dave Bancroft and Glenn Wright on my list for the NL and Joe Sewell for the AL and I think Wells was better than any of them. What I’m saying is it would have been great to see how Wells did against those other Major Leaguers.

                In the Negro National League Championship Series, Wells hit .208 (five-for-24) with a double and a homer. The Monarchs beat Wells’ Stars, four games to three.

                Kevin Larkin of Legends On Deck lists Wells as the 12th Greatest Negro League player of all-time, writing of him, “‘El Diablo’ Willie Wells played primarily as a shortstop in the Negro Leagues and black baseball from 1924 to 1949. The sand lots of Texas were where Wells learned to play and love the game and in 1923 while with the San Antonio Black Aces, Rube Foster of he Chicago American Giants and Dr George Keys of the St Louis Stars discovered him. Wells opted to sign a contract with the Stars. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance early on in his career but Wells turned himself into a pretty good hitter. He would hit .378 in 1926 and .346 in 1927. Wells also set a home run record in 1926 when he hit 27 home runs in just 88 baseball games.”

                He’s already made my list twice and isn’t even close to having his best seasons yet.

LF-Wilson Redus, St. Louis Stars, 20 Years Old

258 AB, .372, 12 HR, 62 RBI, .372/.453/.624, 186 OPS+

WAR-3.6

WAR Position Players-3.6 (5th)

Offensive WAR-3.6 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as LF-72

1st Time All-Star-Wilson Robert Redus was born on January 29, 1905 in Tullahassee, Oklahoma. The five-foot-five, 160 pound righty outfielder started his Major League career in 1924 with the Indianapolis ABCs, the Cleveland Browns, and eventually the Stars. He became a regular this year and he’ll have a few good seasons. All three St. Louis outfielders made my list this year. In the League Championship Series, Redus hit .200 (four-for-20) with a triple. St. Louis fell to the Kansas City Monarchs, four games to three.

                Baseball Reference says, “Oklahoman outfielder Wilson “Frog” Redus played for 17 years in the Negro Leagues. He was often among his league’s leaders in key offensive departments.

                “Redus broke in as a teenager during 1924 with the Indianapolis ABCs (.074) and Cleveland Browns. In 1925, Frog became a starting outfielder for the St. Louis Stars, joining Cool Papa Bell and Branch Russell; the trio would stay together for 7 years. He hit .381, 4th in the Negro National League behind Mule SuttlesEdgar Wesley and Dewey Creacy. He hit only .217 in a postseason series against the Kansas City Monarchs.”

                I’m sure Baseball Reference is still compiling information for the Negro Leagues, but many times it’ll mention nicknames in its Bullpen write-ups, but not mention them on the player page. I’m not sure why Redus has the nickname “Frog.” Maybe that info is out there somewhere and I’ll have a chance to find it later. If any of my readers know, I’d be glad to hear it.

LF-Earl Gurley, Memphis Red Sox/Chicago American Giants/Indianapolis ABCs, 26 Years Old

174 AB, .333, 4 HR, 26 RBI, .333/.408/.511, 146 OPS+

65 1/3 IP, 1-4, 5.10 ERA, 19 K, 104 ERA+, 1.485 WHIP

WAR-1.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 76 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Red Sox Team Stats

American Giants Team Stats

Indianapolis ABCs

17-53, 8th in NNL

Manager Todd Allen

OPS+-74, 6th in league

ERA+-68, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Earl Gurley, 1.4

1st Time All-Star-Earl C. Gurley was born on August 6, 1898 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The five-foot-11, 183 pound lefty outfielder, pitcher, and first baseman started with the St. Louis Stars in 1922-23 before moving to the Memphis Red Sox in ’24. This season, he played for the three teams listed above and made my list as the Indianapolis ABCs best player. He wouldn’t play in the Majors in 1926 and then again play for three teams in 1927 – the Eastern Colored League Harrisburg Giants and the Negro National League’s Birmingham Black Barons and Chicago American Giants. In 1928, he went back to Memphis, then moved again in 1929, back to Birmingham. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1930 or ’31 and finished his MLB career with the Negro Southern League Montgomery Grey Sox.

                When the ABCs started in 1920, they had the great Oscar Charleston and finished fourth in the NNL.  While Charleston remained with them, which he did through 1923 (except for 1922 when he played for the St. Louis Giants), they were competitive. Without Oscar, they declined in 1924 and then had this miserable season in 1925.

                Back to Gurley. Many teams tried to do what the Monarchs did with Bullet Rogan and have players that pitched and played in the field. Gurley mainly played leftfield in his career, but he also pitched in 52 games. The problem for him, and everyone else, is he was no Rogan, either as a pitcher or hitter.

                Gurley died at the age of 70 on November 6, 1986 in Buffalo, New York.

CF-Turkey Stearnes, Detroit Stars, 24 Years Old

1923 1924

367 AB, .371, 19 HR, 126 RBI, .371/.439/.668, 193 OPS+

WAR-5.4

Wins Above Replacement-5.4 (2nd)

WAR Position Players-5.4 (1st)

Offensive WAR-5.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2000)
Ron’s: No (Would require four more All-Star seasons. Sure thing)

Team Stats

Led in:

WAR Position Players-5.4

Offensive WAR-5.3

Games Played-94

Hits-136

Total Bases-245

Triples-14 (3rd Time)

Home Runs-19 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-126

Runs Created-108

Adj. Batting Runs-48

Adj. Batting Wins-4.5

Extra Base Hits-57

Times On Base-181

Def. Games as CF-94

3rd Time All-Star-What we have here is another incredible season from Turkey Stearnes. If Bullet Rogan wasn’t so dominant, Stearnes might have won a few of my Most Valuable Players. I’m calling this season his best ever, but it’s impossible to tell because he had so many great years. Unfortunately his team, the Stars, couldn’t win either half of the season and weren’t able to make the League Championship Series.  He will make a few postseasons in his career, but that’s down the road.

                Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “In 1925 his OPS exceeded 1.000 and would stay above that plateau for the remainder of his time with the Stars. In league play over each of the next five years (1926-30), Turkey would hit over .350 (with one exception) with an OPS north of 1.000, and average 18 homers.

                “Most ballplayers want to win — white or black — so why was Stearnes satisfied to stay with the Stars rather than seek greener pastures? As noted earlier, players liked Stars owner Blount as well as his successor, Detroit entrepreneur Roesink, who bought the Stars in 1925 and owned them until their 1930 midseason collapse due to the Depression. According to Bak, ‘Although Roesink would later inspire the wrath of many Black Bottom fans, players generally considered the haberdasher a first-class owner. They were well paid and continued to travel by train, even as some NNL teams made the switch to more cost-effective touring cars and buses.’”

                You’ll have many more seasons to read about this outstanding player.

CF-Cool Papa Bell, St. Louis Stars, 22 Years Old

380 AB, .347, 10 HR, 58 RBI, .347/.395/.545, 150 OPS+

WAR-3.7

WAR Position Players-3.7 (4th)

Offensive WAR-3.6 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1974)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Plate Appearances-418

Runs Scored-94

Doubles-33

Stolen Bases-30

1st Time All-Star-James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell was born on May 17, 1903 in Starkville, Mississippi. The six-foot, 155 pound switch-hitting, lefty throwing centerfielder and pitcher started his Major League career with the Stars in 1922, mainly as a pitcher. He switched to centerfield in 1924 and his Hall of Fame career is off and running. He’s going to make my Hall but it’s not as sure of thing as I thought it would be. It helps Bell that he’s going to have a long career.

                In the League Championship Series against the Monarchs, Bell hit .276 (eight-for-29) with a double and two stolen bases. St. Louis lost to Kansas City in seven games.

                Dave Wilkie of SABR writes, “Bell’s first Negro League appearance most likely took place on May 9, 1922, against the Indianapolis ABCs as a lanky knuckleball pitcher. In regard to his pitching, Bell said, ‘I used to throw the knuckle ball. If I got two strikes on you, I could throw my knuckle ball and it would just do this dart-down. I bet you I could strike anybody out with that knuckle ball. My brother couldn’t catch me. But you know who could catch me with that knuckle ball? My sister.’

                “It was around this time that Bell received his legendary moniker. Big Bill Gatewood, manager of the Stars in 1922, who had twirled the Negro Leagues’ first no-hitter during the previous season, is most often credited with bestowing the fabled ‘Cool Papa’ nickname upon Bell. Supposedly, Bell fanned Oscar Charleston during a tight spot in an early-season game and Gatewood commented about how cool under pressure he was. Papa was added later to make it sound better. Gatewood’s influence on Cool Papa’s career didn’t stop there. He also had the foresight to move Bell to the outfield to get his bat in the lineup more often, and persuaded him to bat left-handed to take advantage of his speed heading to first. Bell switch-hit for the remainder of his career.”

RF-Branch Russell, St. Louis Stars, 29 Years Old

1924

278 AB, .306, 8 HR, 63 RBI, .306/.413/.518, 149 OPS+

WAR-2.8

WAR Position Players-2.8 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.7 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as RF-70

2nd Time All-Star-Russell spent his first few seasons bouncing all over the field but mostly playing in the infield. Once he moved to rightfield in 1924, he started lighting the league up. He’s now made my All-Star list as a rightfielder for the second consecutive year. In the League Championship Series the Stars played against the Monarchs, Russell hit .286 (six-for-21) with three RBI and four walks. Kansas City won the Series, 4-3.

                Ellen Knight of Winchester.us writes, “To judge by his later life, Russell also found time during his school years for sports. Since the mid-19th century, baseball had been a popular American and Winchester [, Virginia] pastime. In Russell’s boyhood, there was a new baseball field at Manchester Field, but it is more likely that he would have played in his own neighborhood on the open lot on Cross Street behind the Washington School. The town later purchased this lot, prepared it as a playfield in the 1910s, and dedicated it in 1925 as Leonard Field. By that time Russell had embarked on a career as a professional baseball player.

                “On Sept. 27, 1914, Russell enlisted in the army at Ft. Slocum, N.Y. In 1917, the year that the country entered World War I, he was promoted to corporal. He continued in the service through the war years and, after the war ended, re-enlisted in March 1919. He served in Headquarters Co., 25th Infantry, one of the all-black units of the United States Army known as the Buffalo Soldiers.”

RF-Clarence Smith, Detroit Stars, Age Unknown

1922

381 AB, .344, 5 HR, 82 RBI, .344/.373/.501, 133 OPS+

WAR-2.6

WAR Position Players-2.6 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

At Bats-381

Singles-91

2nd Time All-Star-When Smith last made this list, he was a leftfielder for the Stars in 1922. He then moved to rightfield in 1923 and now he’s back on the All-Star team this season. He’s the first rightfielder to make this list for the Stars in their short history. This was his best season ever. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1926. In 1927, he played for the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants of the Eastern Colored League. He again didn’t play in the Majors in 1928 before coming back to the Negro National League and playing two seasons with the Birmingham Black Barons. In 1931, Smith played for the Cleveland Cubs and Chicago Columbia Giants. He wasn’t in the Majors in 1932 and then finished his career with the Indianapolis ABCs/Detroit Stars of the Negro National League II in 1933.

                Wikipedia says, “The 1925 Detroit Stars baseball team competed in the Negro National League during the 1925 baseball season. The team compiled a 56–44 record (.560) in games against National League opponents. 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 John A. Roesink and managed on the field by catcher-manager Bruce Petway.

“Other key position players for the 1919 Stars included:

“Right fielder Clarence Smith – Smith compiled a .344 batting average and .501 slugging percentage with 10 triples, 84 runs scored, 82 RBIs in 92 games.”

The trouble with players like Smith is they were overshadowed by the power-hitting duo of Turkey Stearnes and Edgar Wesley, not to mention the speed of Cool Papa Bell.

RF-Esteban Montalvo, Cuban Stars West, 29 Years Old

166 AB, .319, 11 HR, 60 RBI, .319/.402/.620, 171 OPS+

59 IP, 3-3, 5.34 ERA, 23 K, 99 ERA+, 1.322 WHIP

WAR-2.2

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 81 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

20-30, 5th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-87, 4th in league

ERA+-83, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Esteban Montalvo, 2.2

1st Time All-Star-Esteban Montalvo was born in 1896 in Matanzas, Cuba. The six-foot, 190 pound lefty hitting, righty tossing rightfielder, pitcher, and first baseman started with Cuban Stars West in 1923 and would play for them through this season. He wouldn’t play in the Majors in 1926 and then in 1927, he’d move to the Eastern Colored League and play for the New York Lincoln Giants. In 1928, his last year in the Majors, he’d be back in the Negro National League and be back with Cuba.

                Montalvo is the first Cuban Stars West player to be an All-Star at rightfield.

                Here’s everything Wikipedia has to say about Montalvo, “Esteban Montalvo (1896 – 1930), nicknamed ‘Mayarí’, was a Cuban outfielder in the Negro leagues and Cuban League in the 1920s.

                “A native of Matanzas, Cuba, Montalvo made his Negro leagues debut in 1923 with the Cuban Stars (West). He played four seasons with the club, and also played for the Lincoln Giants in 1927. Montalvo also played for AlmendaresHabana, and the Leopardos de Santa Clara of the Cuban League. He died in 1930 at age 33 or 34.”

                Nowadays, you could find more information on a minor league benchwarmer than all the info you could dig up on some of these Negro League players. I’m sure Baseball Reference will find more stats and continue to add to its miraculous site, but some of this data are lost forever or was never even recorded. Hopefully, some of what I’m writing will help in the research or, at the very least, point you to those places that have compiled a good portion of it.

1924 Eastern Colored League All-Star Team

P-Nip Winters, HIL, 2nd MVP

P-Dave Brown, NLG

P-Red Ryan, HIL

P-Rats Henderson, AC

P-Willis Flournoy, BRG

P-Bob McClure, BBS

P-Oscar Levis, CSE

P-Charlie Henry, HBG

P-Darltie Cooper, HBG

P-Phil Cockrell, HIL

C-Louis Santop, HIL

C-Mack Eggleston, WP

1B-Jud Wilson, BBS

1B-Ben Taylor, WP

2B-John Henry Lloyd, AC

2B-George Scales, NLG

3B-Judy Johnson, HIL

SS-Dick Lundy, AC

SS-Martin Dihigo, CSE

SS-Biz Mackey, HIL

SS-John Beckwith, BBS

SS-Gerald Williams, NLG

LF-Clint Thomas, HIL

CF-Oscar Charleston, HBG

RF-Charlie Mason, AC/BBS

P-Nip Winters, Hilldale Club, 25 Years Old, 2nd MVP

1923

208 IP, 20-5, 2.77 ERA, 114 K, 152 ERA+, 1.077 WHIP

87 AB, .287, 4 HR, 12 RBI, .287/.303/.494, 123 OPS+

WAR-7.5

Wins Above Replacement-7.5 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-6.6 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Hilldale Club

47-26, 1st in ECL, Lost WS to Kansas City Monarchs, 4-5-1

Manager Frank Warfield

OPS+-114, 1st in league

ERA+-122, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Nip Winters, 7.5

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-7.5 (2nd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-6.6 (2nd Time)

Wins-20 (2nd Time)

Hits per 9 IP-7.313 (2nd Time)

Games Pitched-29

Saves-2 (2nd Time)

Innings Pitched-208

Strikeouts-114

Games Started-24

Complete Games-20

Shutouts-2

Bases On Balls-55

Def. Games as P-30

2nd Time All-Star-For the second consecutive season, Winters was the dominant player in the Eastern Colored League and led Hilldale Club to its second straight title. It was Winters’ best season ever, but my guess is he’s not done winning Most Valuable Players from me. In the World Series that Hilldale Club lost to the Kansas City Monarchs, 4-5-1, Winters was the team’s best weapon, going 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA in 38 2/3 innings. That’s right, Winters started four of the 10 games and won three of Hilldale’s victories. Incredible!

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research wrote a paper entitled Forgotten Heroes: Jesse “Nip” Winters, saying, “Jesse “Nip” Winters was once again the ace of the pitching staff and in 1924 he had the best season of his career. Winters went 23-7 (.767) against Eastern Colored League opponents and top level teams during the 1924 season. He led the Eastern Colored League in games pitched (35), complete games (24), innings pitched (260), wins (23) and strikeouts (147). In 30 starts he pitched 24 complete games and had three shutouts. Negro League researcher John Holway credits Jesse Winters with a won-loss record of 27-4 (.871) for the 1924 season.

                “Nip started the season strong with a one hitter against the Washington Potomacs on May 10th. The highlight of the 1924 season for Winters was a no-hitter he threw against Oscar Charleston’s Harrisburg Giants on September 3rd. He struck out seven and walked four in the game. The final 9 score of the game was 2-0 in Hilldale’s favor. This was the first no-hitter in Eastern Colored League history.”

P-Dave Brown, New York Lincoln Giants, 27 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923

179 2/3 IP, 13-8, 2.00 ERA, 107 K, 210 ERA+, 1.041 WHIP

71 AB, .296, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .296/.342/.296, 82 OPS+

WAR-6.4

Wins Above Replacement-6.4 (2nd)

WAR for Pitchers-5.9 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

New York Lincoln Giants

35-28-1, 3rd in ECL

Manager Judy Gans

OPS+-104, 2nd in league

ERA+-107, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Dave Brown, 6.4

Led in:

1924 ECL Pitching Title (2nd Time)

Earned Run Average-2.00 (2nd Time)

Walks & Hits per IP-1.041 (3rd Time)

Adjusted ERA+-210 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.8 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-Brown is one of four players who have made my All-Star list in the five seasons I’ve written about, joining Dobie Moore, Hurley McNair, and Oscar Charleston. That’s not bad company. This was his best season ever and the best pitching season in the short history of the Lincoln Giants. These are certainly five impressive seasons, but it’s going to be the last time he’ll be on this list as 1925 is going to be his last season.

                On NLBE Museum, James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, wrote, ” He began his career in the black major leagues in 1918, after a brush with the law, and ended it abruptly, in like manner, when he again ran afoul of the law in 1925. After killing a man in a barroom fight that year, apparently in an argument involving cocaine, he dropped out of sight to avoid arrest on a murder charge. Oliver Marcelle and Frank Wickware were with him when the fight started. The next day at the ballfield they were picked up, but Brown was not there. While the FBI was searching for him, it is reported that he traveled throughout the Midwest, playing for semi-pro teams under the alias ‘Lefty Wilson.’

                “Sometimes he toured with Gilkerson’s Union Giants, as he did in 1926, and in 1927 he was with a white team in Bertha, Minnesota. He was also reported to have pitched with teams in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1929 and Little Falls, Minnesota, in 1930. Unverified reports also persist that he died in Denver, Colorado, under mysterious circumstances.”

P-Red Ryan, Hilldale Club, 26 Years Old

1923

190 IP, 13-7, 3.22 ERA, 83 K, 131 ERA+, 1.168 WHIP

71 AB, .155, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .155/.178/.169, -1 OPS+

WAR-4.8

Wins Above Replacement-4.8 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-5.2 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Shutouts-2

Hits Allowed-194

2nd Time All-Star-For the second consecutive year, Ryan paired with Nip Winters to give Hilldale Club two great pitchers to rely on every few days. The difference between the two is that Winters had a great World Series against the Monarchs, while Ryan struggled. Red started two games and allowed seven runs, all earned, in six-and-a-third innings pitched. Spoiler alert, he’ll do a little better next season when Hilldale will take the crown. This year, it lost to Kansas City of the Negro National League, 5-4-1.

                On NLBE Museum, James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, wrote, “A veteran pitcher for Hilldale‘s Eastern Colored League pennant winners of 1923-1925, Ryan maintained his composure on the mound and did not get rattled when an error was made behind him. Consequently, fielders played their best for him. The little right-hander was a speedball artist who threw hard for his size, but utilized a knuckleball and a forkball to earn a regular-season record of 20-11 in 1923. In postseason play he started 2 games in the 1924 World Series and relieved in a game the following year as Hilldale defeated the Kansas City Monarchs for the championship of black baseball.

                “Ryan, who earned the nickname “Red” because of his light complexion and dark red hair, began his baseball career in 1915 with the Pittsburgh Stars of Buffalo and played with the Lincoln Stars, Bacharach Giants and Harrisburg before joining Hilldale in 1922.”

                He has the same nickname as Morgan Freeman’s character in The Shawshank Redemption. In Stephen King’s original story, the character Red was Irish not black.

P-Rats Henderson, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 27 Years Old

1923

69 2/3 IP, 5-2, 2.58 ERA, 50 K, 163 ERA+, 1.206 WHIP

31 AB, .258, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .258/.281/.258, 53 OPS+

WAR-2.8

Wins Above Replacement-2.8 (5th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.7 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-It’s quite a feat to finish fourth in WAR for Pitchers while pitching only 10 games all season, but that’s what Henderson did. His season wasn’t as good as Hubert Lockhart’s season of 1923 for Atlantic City, but it wasn’t bad at all. Who knows what Rats could have done if he had put a full season together. He’s got some better seasons ahead, though he’s not going to pitch long enough to make either of my Hall of Fames or Cooperstown.

                The Center for Negro League Baseball Research’s Dr. Layton Revel writes in Forgotten Heroes: Arthur “Rats” Henderson, “Tragedy struck Rats Henderson when he hurt his pitching arm on May 24, 1924. This severely limited his effectiveness and the number of games in which he could pitch during the 1924 season. Arm problems would haunt him his entire career. After taking time off to rest his arm, Rats was ready to return to play baseball. Almost immediately after returning to the Bacharach Giants, Rats for some unknown reason jumped the team and signed with Chappie Johnson’s Stars. Chappie Johnson’s team was a lower level squad that played independent ball. Henderson playing for the Chappie Johnson All Stars raises the question as to why would Arthur Henderson leave a well-established team like Atlantic City to play for a rag tag group lower level team like Chappie Johnson’s Stars. It is definitely a mystery. One possible reason was that he may have had a salary dispute with Bacharach Giants management.”

P-Willis Flournoy, Brooklyn Royal Giants, 28 Years Old

1923

80 1/3 IP, 3-5, 2.69 ERA, 41 K, 157 ERA+, 1.108 WHIP

30 AB, .267, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .267/.313/.333, 83 OPS+

WAR-2.6

Wins Above Replacement-2.6 (8th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.5 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Brooklyn Royal Giants

15-25-1, 6th in ECL

Manager Eddie Douglass

OPS+-90, 6th in league

ERA+-100, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Willis Flournoy, 2.6

2nd Time All-Star-It’s become obvious in our modern era that a pitcher’s win-loss record is a unreliable way to rate a hurler. Take Willis Flournoy. Even though he pitched only 80 1/3 innings and even though his record was 3-5, it was a very good season, his best ever, and the best pitching season for the Royal Giants in their short two-year history. Flournoy has more of these lists to make, but he’ll never be better than 1924.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type writes, “Maybe the most important find related to the Negro Leagues among the U.S. passport applications concerns ‘Pud’ Flournoy, a southpaw who pitched for Hilldale, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, and other teams in the 1920s, and was supposed to have struck out Babe Ruth three consecutive times.  We have, for the first time I think, learned that his full name was Willis Jefferson Flournoy; he was born on August 9, 1894 (WWI draft card) or 1895 (passport application) in Monticello, Georgia.  He served as a corporal in the Army in World War I.  If the passport application is correct, he was six foot five (his draft card says ‘tall’).  He died November 22, 1964, and is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, New Jersey.  He currently appears in Riley and other sources as ‘Jesse Willis Flournoy;’ ‘Jesse’ could be derived from his middle name.  (His name appears in several databases as ‘Willie’ instead of ‘Willis.’)”

                There are a lot of legends floating around the Negro Leagues, so I wonder if he really struck out the Bambino three straight times.

P-Bob McClure, Baltimore Black Sox, 33 Years Old

114 2/3 IP, 9-2, 2.59 ERA, 57 K, 163 ERA+, 1.195 WHIP

47 AB, .170, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .170/.188/.170, 2 OPS+

WAR-2.5

Wins Above Replacement-2.5 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.7 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 29 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Baltimore Black Sox

38-23, 2nd in ECL

Manager Pete Hill

OPS+-103, 3rd in league

ERA+-110, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Bob McClure, 2.5

1st Time All-Star-Robert “Bob” McClure was born on March 24, 1891 in Egypt, Texas. The six-foot-one, 185 pound righty pitcher started his Major League career with the Indianapolis ABCs from 1920-22. During the ’22 season, he was picked up by the Cleveland Tate Stars. He was already 31 at this point and his 5.84 ERA in 1922 didn’t bode well for his future. McClure didn’t play in the Majors in 1923 and then got another chance with Baltimore where he proved he wasn’t done yet. This was the best pitching season for Baltimore yet.

                Baseball Reference says, “McClure played for a team from Beaumont, TX from 1917-1919. In 1920, he joined the Indianapolis ABCs and was 7-7 with a 3.27 RA, third-best in the Negro National League. Bob went 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in 1921. In 1922, ‘Big Boy’ was 0-1 with a 8.56 ERA for the ABCs.

                “In 1923, McClure pitched for the Cleveland Tate Stars and went 1-5 but with a 2.64 ERA; he was hindered by poor offensive support. Among qualifiers, only Huck Rile had a lower ERA that season. McClure was 2-1 with a save in the 1923-1924 California Winter League.

                “Bob had a huge year for the 1924 Baltimore Black Sox, going 15-4 and tying for third in the Eastern Colored League in wins. He faced the Philadelphia Athletics in an exhibition game on October 15 and got a no-decision in a 8-7 win by Baltimore.

                “Pitching for Royal Poincina in the Florida Hotel League in 1924-1925, he came one out away from throwing a no-hitter.”

P-Oscar Levis, Cuban Stars East, 25 Years Old

1923

94 2/3 IP, 6-8, 3.33 ERA, 83 K, 127 ERA+, 1.299 WHIP

57 AB, .281, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .281/.328/.368, 97 OPS+

WAR-2.4

Wins Above Replacement-2.4 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.0 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Cuban Stars East

15-33-1, 8th in ECL

Manager Pelayo Chacon

OPS+-72, 8th in league

ERA+-92, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Levis, 2.4

Led in:

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.891

Wild Pitches-6

2nd Time All-Star-It wasn’t a great year for Cuban Stars East, but for the second consecutive year, Levis shined. He was a fastball pitcher and wild, but also the best player on CSE. Having a 6-8 record isn’t bad for pitching on a team that lost over twice as many games as it won. Levis isn’t done making these lists, though he doesn’t have much of a Major League career left. Cuban Stars East is the only team for which he’d play.

                Baseball Reference says, “He fell to 4-4 with two saves and a 4.14 ERA (91 ERA+) for Habana in 1923-1924. He tied for first in the CWL in saves. In the Gran Premio season that followed, he was 1-3 but with a 2.03 ERA (150 ERA+) and a league-best 3.33 K:BB (.15 ahead of Jesse Petty). He led with 40 strikeouts (5 ahead of Petty), was second to [Dolf] Luque in ERA and tied Luque for third in WAR, behind Oscar Charleston and Esteban Montalvo. He took part in one of the most famous pitching duels in Cuban annals, working 12 2/3 IP in a 18-inning, 4-4 tie with Fabré. He allowed five hits and no runs.

“Oscar was 6-8 with a 3.33 ERA (161 ERA+) for the Cuban Stars during 1924 and also batted .281/.328/.368 (118 OPS+). He was 7th in the ECL in ERA+ (between Winters and Doc Sykes), tied for second in losses (one behind Darltie Cooper), tied Ryan for third with 83 strikeouts, was 9th in ERA (between Sykes and Lockhart) and 6th in Wins Above Replacement (4.5, between Flournoy and Martin Dihigo). Back in Cuba on October 11, he threw a no-hitter against his old Almendares team before the season began. When the regular season got underway, he went 9-7 for Habana, leading the league with 12 complete games and tying Bullet Rogan for the most wins.”

P-Charlie Henry, Harrisburg Giants, 24 Years Old

83 1/3 IP, 2-6, 3.78 ERA, 33 K, 112 ERA+, 1.248 WHIP

34 AB, .118, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .118/.118/.118, -33 OPS+

WAR-1.7

WAR for Pitchers-2.0 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 2,999 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Charles Samuel “Charlie” Henry was born on March 24, 1900 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The pitcher started his career this year and it was his best year ever. After this season, he’d play for Harrisburg one more year and then play for Hilldale Club for a year. He then didn’t play in 1927 and ’28 and then finished his career in the Negro National League with the Detroit Stars. Because Oscar Charleston was on this team, he wasn’t Harrisburg’s best player, but he was the Giants’ best pitcher in their first year of existence.

                The Harrisburg Giants were an independent team in 1922 and ’23. Then, according to Wikipedia, “The Harrisburg Giants were a U.S. professional Negro league baseball team based in HarrisburgPennsylvania. They joined the Eastern Colored League (ECL) for the 1924 season with Hall of Fame center fielder Oscar Charleston as playing manager. The Giants became known primarily for their hitting; along with Charleston, outfielder/first baseman Heavy Johnson, winner of the batting triple crown for the 1923 Kansas City Monarchs, was signed away from the rival Negro National League. Speedy outfielder Fats Jenkins, a well-known professional basketball player and member of the New York Rens, also played for Harrisburg throughout its tenure in the ECL.”

                There isn’t a lot of information on Henry or even Harrisburg. That’s not just a Negro League occurrence. There are plenty of players in the National and American Leagues who had one significant season in their careers. Henry died at the age of 72 on May 25, 1972 in Louisville, Tennessee.

P-Darltie Cooper, Harrisburg Giants, 21 Years Old

122 IP, 9-9, 3.91 ERA, 44 K, 108 ERA+, 1.230 WHIP

61 AB, .230, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .230/.230/.361, 65 OPS+

WAR-1.7

WAR for Pitchers-1.6 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Losses-9

1st Time All-Star-Darlton D. “Darltie” Cooper was born on August 2, 1902 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The five-foot-10, 185 pound righty pitcher, outfielder, and first baseman started with the Indianapolis ABCs of the Negro National League in 1923 and had a great rookie season, going 14-4. He came to the Eastern Colored League this season and had another good year, pairing up with Charlie Henry to give Harrisburg a good one-two punch in its first year.

                The Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia says, “Darltie Cooper, born August 2nd, 1902 in Arkansas was a Negro league baseball player from about 1921-1943. He was the brother of Negro leaguer Anthony Cooper and the nephew of Rufus Battle.

                “Cooper was the son of Tony Cooper and Louisa (nee Battle) Cooper and grew up in Arkadelphia, AR.  His first known engagement in professional baseball came in 1921 and 1922 with the Nashville Elite Giants in the Negro Southern League.  A right-handed pitcher, he threw two no-hitters for Nashville in 1921. In 1923, he joined the Indianapolis A.B.C.’s, beginning a long tenure of playing underneath the management of Oscar Charleston. The following year, Cooper wrote to Charleston in effort to secure a position on his new team, the Harrisburg Giants. Cooper was signed, and played the 1924-1925 seasons with Harrisburg. He also followed Charleston to the Almendares club in the 1924-1925 Cuban Winter League, going 3-2.”

                I had never heard of Arkadelphia before doing this write-up. Wikipedia says of it, “The site was settled in about 1809 by John Hemphill, operator of a nearby salt works, Arkansas’s first industry. It was known as Blakelytown until 1839, when the settlement adopted the name Arkadelphia. The town was named ‘Arkadelphia,’ a combination of Ark- from the state’s name Arkansas and adelphia from the Greek meaning ‘brother/place’.”

P-Phil Cockrell, Hilldale Club, 29 Years Old

110 IP, 10-1, 4.17 ERA, 47 K, 101 ERA+, 1.173 WHIP

47 AB, .234, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .234/.265/.277, 53 OPS+

WAR-1.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.909

1st Time All-Star-Philip “Phil” Cockrell was born on June 29, 1895 in Augusta, Georgia. The five-foot-nine, 157 pound righty pitcher and outfielder started with Hilldale in 1923 and then had a good year this year to make my list. He made the list on a fluke because I put Martin Dihigo as a shortstop instead of a pitcher so Cockrell slipped in as the tenth hurler. Whatever, he made my All-Star team and also pitched in the first Negro World Series, going 0-1 against the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League with a 2.79 ERA. According to Wikipedia, “Cockrell was the first pitcher to pitch in the first Colored World Series. Game One of the Colored World Series occurred on October 3, 1924 at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” Kansas City beat Hilldale, 5-4-1, to take the Negro Championship.             

                On NLBE Museum, James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, wrote, “A star spitballer for the Hilldale club during their pennant-winning years of 1923-1925, the right-hander had an excellent fastball and good control to complement his spitter. He registered a 24-8 record in 1923 against all competition and posted league ledgers of 10-1 and 14-2 the latter two years. In each of these seasons Hilldale played the Kansas City Monarchs in a World Series played between the Eastern Colored League and the Negro National League, and Cockrell started two games in each Series. In the 1924 Series he started the opening game but lost to Bullet Rogan for his only Series decision that year.”

C-Louis Santop, Hilldale Club, 35 Years Old

178 AB, .354, 5 HR, 29 RBI, .354/.385/.517, 153 OPS+

WAR-1.8

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 119 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Def. Games as C-45

1st Time All-Star-Louis “Top” Santop was born on January 17, 1889 in Fort Worth, Texas. The six-foot-two, 200 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing catcher obviously had an outstanding career even before joining the Eastern Colored League as a backstop for Hilldale in 1923. It was because of those previous years he was inducted into Cooperstown in 2006. In the World Series for Hilldale this year, Top went eight-for-24 (.333), driving in two runs. The Negro National League Monarchs beat the ECL Hilldale Club, 5-4-1.

                Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “If there is one player who stands out from the early days of the Negro League era—1900 to 1925—it is Louis Santop. He was talented, with the then-rare ability to hit the long ball in what was known as the dead-ball era. He was personable and fun to be with despite his stern demeanor. And he was accomplished, anchoring many a team lineup and playing in some of the most memorable early Negro League games.

                “Louis Santop also found time to create a home and, at the age of 38 in 1927 he married Minnie B. Robinson. They would have no children. Monte Irvin later reflected, ‘After he retired as a player, Santop went into broadcasting and ended his days tending bar in Philadelphia.  Santop’s radio sojourn was on WELK, a local station that carried African-American programming. He was also a Mason, Republican Committeeman, and a clerk in the recorder of deeds office at Philadelphia City Hall.

                “Confined since November 7th, in the Navy hospital in Philadelphia, Louis Santop Loftin better known [simply as] Santop, catcher for the Lincoln Giants…Philadelphia Giants [and Hilldale], died in an oxygen tent from an ailment similar to that which was fatal to Lou Gehrig.”

C-Mack Eggleston, Washington Potomacs, 27 Years Old

182 AB, .297, 0 HR, 28 RBI, .297/.363/.363, 106 OPS+

WAR-0.9

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 47 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Macajah Marchand “Mack” Eggleston was born on September 16, 1896 in Roanoke, Virginia. The six-foot, 175 pound switch-hitting, righty throwing catcher, outfielder, and third baseman probably played on more Negro Major League teams than just about anyone. He started with the Detroit Stars of the Negro National League in 1920, then moved to the Columbus Buckeyes in 1921 and then played for the Indianapolis ABCS in 1922. He didn’t play in the Majors in 1923 and then joined the Potomacs this season. He’ll be back on this list.

                According to Wikipedia, the Potomacs didn’t last long. It says, “The Washington Potomacs were a Negro league baseball team in the Eastern Colored League, based in Washington, D.C., in 1924. They also operated as an independent team in 1923. In 1925 the Potomacs moved to Wilmington, Delaware where they played as the Wilmington Potomacs for the 1925 season. In mid-July, George Robinson, owner of the Potomacs, announced that his team was folding and was unable to complete the season. The league contracted to seven teams and the Potomacs players were dispersed to other teams.”

                That was typical in the Negro Leagues. The players were exciting and just as talented as their National and American League counterparts but many of these teams didn’t make a lot of money at the gate, so teams came and went in this cornucopia of leagues. It’s why people like Eggleston bounced around from league-to-league and team-to-team. That and it’s always hard to find a good catcher.

1B-Jud Wilson, Baltimore Black Sox, 28 Years Old

1923

195 AB, .385, 4 HR, 53 RBI, .385/.431/.503, 163 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR Position Players-2.1 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.0 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After an incredible rookie year in 1923, Wilson came back this year and continued to be the Eastern Colored League’s best first baseman. Without park ratings, it’s hard to know whether or not Baltimore’s home park was a hitter’s or pitcher’s park and how much it helped him or hindered him. Still, when you look at his stats, you’re blown away, and he hasn’t even had his best season yet. There’s a good chance Wilson is going to make not only my Hall of Fame, but also my One-A-Year Hall of Fame (ONEHOF), for the best of the best.

                Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has an article from James A. Riley, who wrote The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, who says of Wilson: “Wilson hated the bench almost as much as he hated umpires, and often refused to leave the lineup, even continuing to play with injur­ies that should have kept him out of action. In June 1924 he was playing first base for the Baltimore Black Sox and was hobbled by a bad ankle, but he insisted on playing. He crowded the plate when batting and was frequently hit by pitches.”

                John B. Holway of BaseballGuru.com writes, “At long last, Jud Wilson, the black Ty Cobb, will get the plaque he has deserved for so long. He batted over .400 four tickets, and his lifetime .370 leads his nearest competitors, Josh Gibson and John Beckwith, by 20 points. His nickname, Boojum, comes from they sound of his line drives banging against the fences. Jud should have been elected among the first four or five men 30 years ago.”

1B-Ben Taylor, Washington Potomacs, 35 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

201 AB, .308, 3 HR, 39 RBI, .308/.374/.403, 120 OPS+

WAR-1.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Washington Potomacs

21-38, 7th in ECL

Manager Ben Taylor

OPS+-80, 7th in league

ERA+-78, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Ben Taylor, 1.1

4th Time All-Star-I’m surprised Taylor is back on my list because I thought he was done, but he made it as the Potomacs best player. After making my list three straight years from 1920-22, he played just two games for Baltimore in the Eastern Colored League in 1923, before moving 38 miles to Washington DC and taking over as manager for the newly form Potomacs. They didn’t have a good year, but Taylor proved his 35-year-old body could still play ball.

                Taylor’s Baseball Hall of Fame page says, “According to the Chicago Defender in 1935, Taylor was described as ‘a man who has inspired, trained and led baseball teams for many years,’ and as having ‘one of the keenest minds in all of baseball and knows the game from all angles.’

                “Upon his passing on Jan. 24, 1953, the Defender said simply: ‘Ben was recognized as one of the great first baseman in Negro baseball. His name is bracketed with that of other top first sackers of that period. He was an excellent fielder and a cracking good hitter from the left side.’

                “As biographer Todd Bolton has noted, Ben Taylor’s life can be summed up from 10 words on his gravestone: ‘A Graceful Player, A Superb Teacher, and A True Gentleman.’

                “Taylor was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.”

                Tim Hagerty of SABR writes, “In 1923, Taylor founded the Washington Potomacs, an independent club that played at American League Park, the home ballpark of the American League’s Washington Senators. With the Potomacs scheduled to play against the Richmond Giants that season, Richmond’s Times Dispatch familiarized its readers with Taylor and his club by saying, ‘In Ben Taylor’s Washington Potomacs the fans will see a baseball club of big league ability,’ and ‘In Ben Taylor the fans will see the race’s premier first baseman. He is said to be the equal of George Sisler of big-league fame.’”

2B-John Henry Lloyd, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 40 Years Old

1921 1923

216 AB, .366, 1 HR, 47 RBI, .366/.415/.463, 148 OPS+

WAR-2.3

WAR Position Players-2.3 (4th)

Offensive WAR-2.2 (4th)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

Atlantic City Bacharach Giants

35-32-1, 4th in ECL

Manager John Henry Lloyd

OPS+-90, 5th in league

ERA+-102, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Rats Henderson, 2.8

3rd Time All-Star-At this point in his career, Lloyd has played three Major League seasons for three different Major League teams in two different leagues. This year, he moved from shortstop to second base and would be there most of the rest of his playing days. In moving from Hilldale Club to Atlantic City, he lost his chance at  playing in the Negro Leagues’ first World Series, but did have his best Major League season ever. Not bad for a 40-year-old.

                Thomas Kern of SABR writes, “Lloyd moved on to play winter ball in Cuba and then came back the next season (1924) in Atlantic City for Bacharach. Once again he was manager, but with Dick Lundy a fixture at shortstop, Lloyd moved to second base. Along with Chance Cummings at first and Ambrose Reid at third, the Bacharach Giants had a stellar infield, but a mediocre year, finishing in fifth place in the league. Lloyd’s hitting was still sharp and records indicate he batted .357. Most impressive was his 11 straight hits accomplished from June 29th to July 4th.”

                Lloyd’s move to second after 20 years of playing shortstop is incredible for many reasons. One, he made the move himself because he recognized the talent of another player. Two, he didn’t miss a beat despite being four decades old and learning a new position. Three, he had his best Major League season ever at second base. He’s not done yet, either, as he’s still going to make a few more of my All-Star lists.

2B-George Scales, New York Lincoln Giants, 23 Years Old

1923

185 AB, .341, 4 HR, 32 RBI, .341/.422/.476, 153 OPS+

WAR-2.2

WAR Position Players-2.2 (5th)

Offensive WAR-2.2 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. 29 percent chance)

Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-After making the Negro National League All-Star list last season for the St. Louis Stars, Scales moved back to the Eastern Colored League, which is where he’ll be for a little while. He didn’t have the same great power-laden season he did for the Stars, but 1924 was still quite a season, especially considering he moved from third base to second base. He’d spend his whole 20-year career bouncing around the infield positions.

                Stephen V. Rice of SABR writes, “A right-handed slugger and sure-handed infielder, George Scales starred in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s and 1930s. He achieved a .323 career batting average, according to Seamheads.com, and he ranks ninth in career slugging percentage among Negro Leaguers with at least 3,000 plate appearances. The eight players ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame: Josh GibsonTurkey StearnesMule SuttlesOscar CharlestonJud WilsonWillie WellsMartín Dihigo, and Cristóbal Torriente. Scales also distinguished himself as a manager and coach during his 40 years in professional baseball.

“On June 1, 1924, the Lincoln Giants swept a doubleheader from the Cuban Stars; playing both games at second base, Scales handled 18 chances without error, and he went 6-for-9 at the plate. In a doubleheader against the Jamaica (New York) Cardinals on May 30, 1925, he clouted four home runs — two in each game — yet the Lincoln Giants lost both contests.”

                Those eight players listed above are pretty good. Scales falls just out of Hall of Fame consideration, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t great.

3B-Judy Johnson, Hilldale Club, 23 Years Old

256 AB, .336, 4 HR, 47 RBI, .336/.384/.504, 150 OPS+

WAR-2.7

Wins Above Replacement-2.7 (7th)

WAR Position Players-2.7 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-2.7 (3rd)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1975)

Ron’s: No (Would require 21 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-68 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as 3B-60 (2nd Time)

1st Time All-Star-William Julius “Judy” Johnson was born on December 26, 1899 in Snow Hill, Maryland. The five-foot-11, 150 pound righty third baseman and shortstop started his Major League career with Hilldale in 1923, leading the Eastern Colored League in games played, but not necessarily hitting that well. That would change this year as he was on his way to Cooperstown. If I’m judging just by his Major League stats, he looks a tad overrated.

                In the World Series versus the Kansas City Monarchs, Johnson hit .341 (15-for-44) with five doubles, a triple, and a dinger. Despite his heroics, Hilldale lost to KC, 5-4-1.

                Wikipedia says, “[H]e began playing sandlot ball and joined his father’s local amateur team the Rosedale Blues which competed against black and white teams. In 1917, he stopped attending Howard High School to work on shipyards in New Jersey and play weekend games on baseball teams that were drawn from the community, including the Rosalies and the Chester Stars. The following year he joined the semi-professional ball club the Bacharach Giants for a $5 wage per game.

                “The Hilldale club had another successful season in 1924, clinching their second pennant. The Daisies had high expectations when they met the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League (NNL) in the 1924 Colored World Series, the first official World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL. Johnson led both teams with a .364 BA and hit a clutch Inside-the-park home run in Game Five of the best-of-nine series, but the Daisies lost, five games to four (with one tied game).”

SS-Dick Lundy, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 25 Years Old

1923

242 AB, .326, 8 HR, 52 RBI, .326/.385/.492, 147 OPS+

WAR-2.7

Wins Above Replacement-2.7 (6th)

WAR Position Players-2.7 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-2.7 (2nd)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Defensive WAR-0.4

Def. Games as SS-63 (2nd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-As manager of the Bacharach Giants in 1923, Lundy guided the team to a fourth place finish. This year, he gave up the managerial duties to John Henry Lloyd, but stayed on Atlantic City as its shortstop. His hitting improved from 1923 and his fielding was the best in the league as Lundy sparkled as the Eastern Colored League’s answer to the great Dobie Moore. He’s got a few more great years left, though his career is just a tad short for him to make the Hall of Fame.

                The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum quotes James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, who writes, “The best shortstop during the 1920s, Lundy bridged the time gap between John Henry Lloyd and Willie Wells. Lundy is generally categorized with them as the three greatest shortstops in black baseball history. A superb fielder with a wide range and an exceptionally strong arm that allowed him to play a deep shortstop, the graceful Lundy polished his skills with quiet professionalism. A great showman who thrived on pressure and performed his most amazing feats with ease in front of large crowds, the big, husky shortstop’s sterling play made him one of the greatest gate attractions of his day. A switch-hitter who hit for average and with power, he was a smart base runner who posed a threat on the bases and led the Cuban winter league stolen bases in 1924.”

                Riley doesn’t mention Moore as one of the best shortstops of the Twenties, most likely because of his short career.

SS-Martin Dihigo, Cuban Stars East, 19 Years Old

180 AB, .261, 2 HR, 27 RBI, .261/.304/.378, 92 OPS+

49 IP, 3-3, 2.39 ERA, 24 K, 177 ERA+, 1.102 WHIP

WAR-2.1

WAR for Pitchers-1.7 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Youngest Player-19 Years Old

1st Time All-Star-Martin Magdaleno Dihigo (pronounced mar-TEEN duh-HEE-go) was born on May 25, 1905 in Cidra, Cuba. The six-foot-two, 195 pound righty shortstop, outfielder, and first baseman started his career as an 18-year-old for the Cuban Stars East in 1923, playing mainly first base and also occasionally taking the mound. This year, Dihigo made this list due to his pitching, but I put him as shortstop because he played more games there than any other position. Throughout his career, Dihigo would play at every position including one game as a catcher.

                The Hall of Miller and Eric says, “There are, however, three players whose careers typify the ability of a Negro Leagues player to make his mark all over the diamond. One is Lazaro Salazar, the centerfielder-pitcher-manager triple threat. Another is Hall of Fame Bullet Rogan, a devastating pitcher and All-Star-level outfielder. But no player in baseball history can claim the diversity of abilities of our fourth honoree, Martín Dihigo.

                “It’s no wonder he picked up the nickname ‘el Maestro.’ He could lead a team at any position. Well, except catcher. He didn’t really do much there. But he began as a shortstop, played every infield and outfield position well, hit like an All-Star, could run, and pitched like an All-Star.

                “Combine equal parts:

  • Tony Phillips’ versatility and defensive abilities
  • Jesse Barfield’s arm
  • Eddie Murray’s production
  • Ted Lyons’ pitching.

“That’s the amazing picture we can paint for you. If you’re incredulous, well, I don’t blame you. But keep in mind that we have no frame of reference.”

SS-Biz Mackey, Hilldale Club, 26 Years Old

1921 1922 1923

273 AB, .330, 4 HR, 42 RBI, .330/.362/.465, 133 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR Position Players-2.1 (6th)

Offensive WAR-2.1 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require eight more All-Star seasons. 38 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-68

At Bats-273

Hits-90 (2nd Time)

4th Time All-Star-Remember that time that one catcher was moved from backstop to shortstop? Oh, when did that happen…oh, right, never! Nowadays, there are some big shortstops, people like Cal Ripken. In Mackey’s day, however, shortstops were small men for the most part, not refurbished catchers who stood at six-foot-one, 235 pounds. The catcher who took Mackey’s place was Louis Santop, who also made this list.

                In the World Series against the Monarchs, Mackey hit .244 (10-for-41) with a triple. Hilldale ended up losing to Kansas City, 5-4-1. In some of my research, it said Mackey played third base during the series, but I can’t find that information on Baseball Reference. Mackey will do better in 1925.

                Chris Rainey of SABR writes, “Because the regular season closed early, a postseason series was staged between an all-Cuban team and the ‘All Yankees’ team made up of Negro League players. The All Yankees posted a 5-2-1 record. Mackey faced Cuban pitchers Jose Mendez and Martin Dihigo in the series and reportedly batted .333. Interestingly, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Landis attended one of the games.

                “Unlike many of his contemporaries who played winter ball in the Caribbean and Mexico, this was Mackey’s sole trip to the islands. He chose to spend his winters playing in the California Winter League, which featured a mix of black and white teams. Mackey played 18 seasons on the West Coast and eventually made his permanent home in California. He is credited with a .366 batting average and 28 home runs in those seasons.”

SS-John Beckwith, Baltimore Black Sox, 24 Years Old

1920 1922

124 AB, .371, 7 HR, 31 RBI, .371/.431/.605, 190 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR Position Players-2.1 (7th)

Offensive WAR-2.1 (6th)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

3rd Time All-Star-After making my All-Star list in 1922 as a third baseman, Beckwith moved to first base in 1923, but wasn’t quite good enough to be picked by me. This year, he left the Negro National League and came to Charm City of the Eastern Colored League and played for the Black Sox. Beckwith only played 33 games, but did so well in them that he’s back on my list again. He’s not done receiving these honors, but it won’t do it enough times to make any Hall of Fames.

                John Holway of SABR writes, “In 1924 Beckwith listened to the call of the new Eastern league and jumped to the Baltimore Black Sox, where he teamed with Jud Wilson to form a frightening murders’ row. Wilson hit .402; Beck topped him with .452, though he played only 24 league games, about one half a full schedule. Beck’s 40 homers (league and non-league) tied him with Charleston for best in the East. That fall Beckwith and Wilson joined forces again to play the Philadelphia A’s. Beck slammed a homer and single in the opener against Eddie Rommel, though the A’s won 4-2. In the nightcap he slugged a homer, double and single against Bob Hasty to give the Black Sox the victory 8-7.”

                I want to remind you that the numbers in Baseball Reference used for my stats are only for league games or exhibition games against Major League teams and so the numbers are all over the place. I have Beckwith as hitting seven homers while in the article above, he hit 40.

SS-Gerard Williams, New York Lincoln Giants, Age Unknown

251 AB, .311, 2 HR, 41 RBI, .311/.371/.406, 120 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR Position Players-2.1 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.0 (9th)

Defensive WAR-0.4 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

1st Time All-Star-Gerard Williams was born sometime, died sometime, was some height and some weight. Baseball Reference does know he hit and threw right-handed and that’s about it. He started his Major League career in 1922 with the Negro National League Pittsburgh Keystones and in the same year, moved to the Cleveland Tate Stars. In 1923, Williams went to the Indianpolis ABCs. This season, his best ever, he moved to the Eastern Colored League and played fine shortstop for the Lincoln Giants. This would be his last season. He’s one of five shortstops on this list.

                Because there’s so little about Williams, I’m going to post a bit from loyal reader, V, on the Lincoln Giants. He writes, “According to the Seamheads website, the Lincoln Giants were still doing well in the 1914-17 period, but fell off some due to the loss of many of their stars. By this point Smokey Joe Williams was doubling as ace pitcher and manager. It was the height of his Hall of Fame career. But the team ran up against a formidable foe off the diamond. Nat Strong (see my post ‘The Schedule Man’ of 20 August 2015) controlled scheduling for black baseball in New York at the time and the Lincolns wanted to play more games than Strong was willing to schedule. They attempted to schedule some games without going through Strong, and were thrown out of the existing league structure in New York. Barnstorming followed.

                “With the founding Foster’s Negro National League, the eastern teams found it to their advantage to form their own league, the Eastern Colored League, in 1923. The Lincolns were a significant member of the league. They never won a league championship, finishing as high as third in 1924. By 1928 the ECL was on life support. A changing economy, weak teams, chaos at the top of the league (again another story for another time), and the dominance of Foster’s NNL, caused it to collapse.”

LF-Clint Thomas, Hilldale Club, 27 Years Old

1922

266 AB, .289, 8 HR, 49 RBI, .289/.335/.489, 130 OPS+

WAR-1.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Led in:

Games Played-68

Def. Games as LF-68

2nd Time All-Star-Thomas last made my list for the Detroit Stars of the Negro National League and then in 1923, he moved to Hilldale, helping them to first place. Hilldale won again this season and Thomas had the best season of any of the ECL’s leftfielders. In the World Series against the Monarchs of the NNL, Thomas hit .211 (eight-for-38) with a double and a stolen base. Kansas City went on to win the Series, 5-4-1.

                Gary Joseph Cieradkowski writes, “WITH HILLDALE, Thomas became known as ‘The Hawk’ for his fielding skills, gliding all over the outfield making plays with a talent so graceful that old-timers could clearly remember one Hawk play or another through the fog of decades gone by. Ted Page, a Negro League star of the mid 1920s and ‘30s recalled that Thomas ‘attacked the ball the way a dog attacked raw meat.’ Hall of Famer Monte Irvin grew up in Paterson, New Jersey watching the best black and white teams of the 1930s and, starting in 1937, played in both the Negro and Major Leagues. His opinion should be taken very seriously when out of all the black players he witnessed, it was Clint Thomas who Irvin called ‘the black Joe DiMaggio.’ To draw a more contemporary comparison, the Hall of Famer said, ‘Clint was a Pete Rose type of player, he always went all out.’”

                It’s pretty incredible to be compared to two players like Joltin’ Joe and Charlie Hustle.

Oscar Charleston former Negro league star with bat.

CF-Oscar Charleston, Harrisburg Giants, 27 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923

205 AB, .405, 15 HR, 63 RBI, .405/.476/.780, 251 OPS+

WAR-4.4

Wins Above Replacement-4.4 (4th)

WAR Position Players-4.4 (1st)

Offensive WAR-4.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1976)

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

Harrisburg Giants

30-31, 5th in ECL

Manager Oscar Charleston

OPS+-101, 4th in league

ERA+-96, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Charleston, 4.4

Led in:

1924 ECL Batting Title (2nd Time)

1924 ECL Triple Crown (2nd Time)

WAR Position Players-4.4 (4th Time)

Offensive WAR-4.3 (4th Time)

Batting Average-.405 (2nd Time)

On-Base %-.476 (2nd Time)

Slugging %-.780 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.257 (2nd Time)

Runs Scored-63 (4th Time)

Total Bases-160 (3rd Time)

Doubles-22

Home Runs-15 (3rd Time)

Runs Batted In-63 (3rd Time)

Adjusted OPS+-251 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-76 (4th Time)

Adj. Batting Runs-41 (3rd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-4.0 (3rd Time)

Extra Base Hits-42 (4th Time)

Times On Base-111 (3rd Time)

Offensive Win %-.915 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-17.1 (3rd Time)

AB per HR-13.7 (2nd Time)

5th Time All-Star-After spending his first four years dominating the Negro National League, Charleston figured it was time to dominate a whole new league in 1924, so he moved to the Eastern Colored League and played for the Harrisburg Giants. Four of the ECL teams have the nickname of Giants along with one in the NNL. Charleston did double duty for Harrisburg, playing centerfield and managing. I still haven’t given him a Most Valuable Player, but he’s no doubt the best player I’ve covered over these five years.

                Tim Odzer of SABR writes, “After the Indianapolis team disbanded, rather than heading to Chicago Charleston played for and managed the Harrisburg Giants, where he remained from 1924 to 1927. Charleston, who seemed to be preoccupied with the press coverage he received, clipped an article for his scrapbook that described him as a big loss for Foster’s league. In 1924 Charleston had another strong year at bat; though his team endured a .500 campaign, he reportedly hit 36 home runs by August 24. Charleston even had a stretch in early August where he hit seven home runs in three games. That October, the Harrisburg Giants played a postseason series against the crosstown (and white) Harrisburg Senators. There, in the middle of a competitive game, Charleston erupted when he attempted to punch an umpire after a bad call. The umpire evaded the punch, punched Charleston, and then ejected him from the game.”

                I’m sure Charleston isn’t the first or last player to collect his own press clippings.

RF-Charlie Mason, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants/Baltimore Black Sox, 29 Years Old

1923

211 AB, .332, 10 HR, 51 RBI, .332/.373/.540, 156 OPS+

WAR-1.8

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 52 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Bacharach Giants Team Stats

Black Sox Team Stats

2nd Time All-Star-When I did Mason’s write-up for the 1923 season, he was a leftfielder for the Bacharach Giants and I thought his All-Star days were over. As you can see, they’re not. I have him listed as a player for Atlantic City and Baltimore, but he only played one game for Baltimore, going two-for-four with a walk. The rest of the stats above are from his days with Atlantic City. Also, he switched from left to rightfield this year.

                Since there isn’t a lot on Mason, I’m going to conclude this year with this great bit of information from Gary Ashwill of Agate Type: “Here are some park data for the Eastern Colored League, 1924.  It’s only one season, so isn’t close to the final word about these parks, but every little bit helps.  The numbers are: park factor for runs (or simple home/road ratio; that is, runs scored in home games divided by runs scored in road games, multiplied by 100), adjusted park factor (same thing, adjusted for proportion of home to road games); then in parentheses the number of home and road games.  Harrisburg and Atlantic City have not been completely researched yet (games come from the Pittsburgh Courier).

                “Bacharach Giants, Bacharach Park (a.k.a. Inlet Park, Atlantic City): 107, 104 (26, 20)

Baltimore Black Sox, Maryland Park: 81, 87 (37, 18)

Brooklyn Royal Giants, Dexter Park: 136, 102 (2, 32)

Harrisburg Giants, Island Park: 92, 97 (15, 22)

Hilldale Club, Hilldale Park (Darby PA): 82, 88 (40, 19)

Lincoln Giants, Catholic Protectory Oval (Bronx): 129, 121 (41, 16)

Washington/Wilmington Potomacs: 113, 106 (26, 27)—OVERALL
                Griffith Stadium (Washington DC):  128 (14 games)
                Wilmington DE: 95 (12 games)”

What shocks me is Harrisburg was a big pitchers’ park and Oscar Charleston still won the Triple Crown.

1924 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Sam Streeter, BBB, 1st MVP

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM

P-Juan Padron, CAG

P-Carl Glass, MRS

P-Robert Poindexter, BBB

P-Eddie Miller, CAG

P-Square Moore, MRS

P-Andy Cooper, DS

P-Bill McCall, BBB/KCM

P-Dizzy Dismukes, ABC/BBB

C-Mitchell Murray, SLS

C-Otto Ray, CBN

1B-Bill Pierce, DS

2B-Anderson Pryor, DS

3B-Newt Joseph, KCM

3B-Dave Malarcher, CAG

SS-Dobie Moore, KCM

SS-Willie Wells, SLS

LF-Cristobal Torriente, CAG

LF-Heavy Johnson, KCM

CF-Jelly Gardner, CAG

CF-Turkey Stearns, DS

CF-Valentin Dreke, CSW

RF-Hurley McNair, KCM

RF-Branch Russell, SLS

P-Sam Streeter, Birmingham Black Barons, 23 Years Old, 1st MVP

200 1/3 IP, 14-6, 3.05 ERA, 128 K, 141 ERA+, 2.53 FIP, 1.128 WHIP

78 AB, .256, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .256/.266/321, 60 OPS+

WAR-5.8

Wins Above Replacement-5.8 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-5.6 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-5.8

WAR for Pitchers-5.6

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.168

Innings Pitched-200 1/3

Strikeouts-128

Games Started-23

Complete Games-20

Hits Allowed-200

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-4.923

Batters Faced-821

Putouts as P-12

Errors Committed as P-7

1st Time All-Star-Samuel “Sam” Streeter was born on September 17, 1900 in New Market, Alabama. The five-foot-seven, 170 pound righty hitting, lefty throwing pitcher and outfielder started with the Chicago American Giants in 1921. Streeter didn’t play in the Majors in 1922, then in ’23, went to the Eastern Colored League and pitched for the New York Lincoln Giants. This season, he came back to the Negro National League and pitched for the Birmingham Black Barons in their initial season. This was Streeter’s best season ever and I gave him his first MVP, the first player besides Bullet Rogan to win the NNL Most Valuable Player since 1920.

                Alan Cohen of SABR writes, “He was a heck of a player. As Streeter himself recalled in 1971, ‘I think I pitched two or three no-hitters. I don’t remember. They didn’t keep records in those days. We just wanted to play. If they said, “Sam, you pitch today,” I pitched. Never worried if I had enough rest.’

                “Sam Streeter was born in New Market, Alabama, about 120 miles north of Birmingham, on September 17, 1900, to Horace G. and Lula (McGuffey) Streeter. He had limited schooling and, per 1940 census data, received formal education only through the fourth grade. What his parents did to earn a living and more information in regard to his upbringing remain elusive.”

                For whatever reason, Cohen doesn’t write much about Streeter’s incredible 1924 season except to mention he pitched for Birmingham. It was an incredible season. How often does a pitcher who leads the league in Ks also lead the league in fewest walks per nine innings?

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 30 Years Old

1921 1922 1923

175 IP, 16-5, 3.14 ERA, 101 K, 137 ERA+, 2.80 FIP, 1.211 WHIP

149 AB, .396, 5 HR, 33 RBI, .396/.444/.617, 189 OPS+

WAR-4.8

Wins Above Replacement-4.8 (2nd)

WAR for Pitchers-2.6 (8th)

WAR Position Players-2.2 (9th)

Offensive WAR-2.3 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

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

Kansas City Monarchs

57-22, 1st in NNL, Won WS over Hilldale Club, 5-4-1

Manager Jose Mendez

OPS+-121, 1st in league

ERA+-126, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Bullet Rogan, 4.8

Led in:

Wins-16 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-12 (3rd Time)

Assists as P-71

Range Factor/Game as P-3.61

4th Time All-Star-It was an off year for the Negro Leagues’ best player, Rogan. He only finished second in Wins Above Replacement, as compared to the last three seasons, when he’s finished first and dominated the league. Yet he’s still the Monarch’s best player and he still was a lethal combination of pitching and hitting. Led by Bullet, Kansas City won the Negro National League pennant and played in the Negro League’s first World Series against the Hilldale Club of the Eastern Colored League. The two squads played 10 games and KC won the Series, 5-4-1.

                David Adler of mlb.com writes, “In 1924, Bullet Joe led the Monarchs to the inaugural Negro League World Series championship. With Kansas City facing the Hilldale Club of the Eastern Colored League, Rogan had two complete-game victories on the mound with a 2.57 ERA. He batted in the middle of the order and hit .325. He played the outfield when he wasn’t pitching. The Monarchs won the series, five games to four.

                “Rogan’s listed stats for that season? An 18-6 record with 21 complete games as a pitcher … a .392 batting average, .603 slugging percentage and 1.046 OPS as a hitter.”

                It puzzles me that before I started doing this project, I hadn’t heard of Rogan. He might be the best Negro League player of all time. I’ve heard of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and others, but not this man who continued to put incredible seasons together and helped his team win the first Negro World Series.

P-Juan Padron, Chicago American Giants, 31 Years Old

1922 1923

141 IP, 9-7, 2.17 ERA, 72 K, 199 ERA+, 2.46 FIP, 1.092 WHIP

56 AB, .179, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .179/.207/.286, 34 OPS+

WAR-4.1

Wins Above Replacement-4.1 (4th)

WAR for Pitchers-4.2 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 17 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Chicago American Giants

52-27, 2nd in NNL

Manager Rube Foster

OPS+-95, 5th in league

ERA+-123, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Juan Padron, 4.1

Led in:

Shutouts-3 (2nd Time)

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adj. Pitching Runs-31

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.0

3rd Time All-Star-Padron made my All-Star team for the third consecutive season by having his best season ever. It didn’t help Chicago win the pennant, but you can’t blame Padron. He was Chicago’s best player as he finished second in Negro National League ERA. Padron never was much of strikeout pitcher, but he did have great control, finishing second in walks per nine innings. Due to the team’s pitching, Chicago finished behind Kansas City for the second straight year.

                Gary Ashwill of Agate Type spends a lot of time researching Juan Padron. Mainly because he’s always being confused with Luis Padron. If you look at my write-up for Padron in 1923, the picture I have for Juan Padron is probably not Juan Padron, but Luis. The picture I have here is from Ashwill’s page and is most likely Juan.

                Ashwill writes, “The caption [of the picture above] reads: “Juan Padrón, the marvelous Cuban pitcher just returned from Mexico, who very probably will lend his valuable services to one of the clubs forming the National Professional League [the newly reorganized Cuban League].

“Figueredo has Luis Padrón as a pitcher/outfielder for Almendares in the 1918/19 Cuban League, which is interesting since Almendares was Juan’s team in 1915/16.  Neither Padrón appeared in the special preseason series played in the fall of 1918 (Copa El Mundo and a couple of others); ditto for the few box scores I’ve so far collected for the 1918/19 regular season.”

                I mention it a lot, but I appreciate all of the work done by Ashwill and others in researching the Negro Leagues.

P-Carl Glass, Memphis Red Sox, 26 Years Old

117 1/3 IP, 3-6, 2.61 ERA, 84 K, 165 ERA+, 2.65 FIP, 1.099 WHIP

125 AB, .216, 0 HR, 9 RBI, .216/.274/.280, 52 OPS+

WAR-3.4

Wins Above Replacement-3.4 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.7 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Memphis Red Sox

24-36-3, 6th in NNL

Manager Carl Glass

OPS+-63, 9th in league

ERA+-138, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Carl Glass, 3.4

1st Time All-Star-Carl Lee Glass was born on February 26, 1898 in Lexington, Kentucky. The five-foot-10, 180 pound lefty pitcher, outfielder, and first baseman started his Major League career this season and also started his managerial career. He was a better pitcher than he was a manager with the main problem being that his best player was himself. In its first year, Memphis had outstanding pitching, but very poor hitting. (Either that, or Memphis was a pitcher’s park. It’s hard to tell.)

                Gary Ashwill (of course) of Agate Type states, “I wanted to wrap up this series of posts with a quick summary of what I found in the 1920 census while looking for the various Army ballplayers discussed here over the past few days.  Of course, Bullet Rogan was at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, when the census was taken in January 1920.  But I found these names of Negro League interest still in Arizona, at Camp Stephen D. Little, Nogales, where the 25th Infantry was stationed in 1920:

                “Pvt. Carl Glass, 23, from Kentucky, a cavalry private.  His birthdate and place match those of the Negro Leaguer Carl Glass, a lefthanded pitcher from 1923 to 1936; in 1928 he was a pretty good pitcher/manager (13-10) for the mediocre Memphis Red Sox (36-51).  This Glass was in the cavalry; is he the same Glass that appears with the 25th Infantry team in St. Louis?”

                My heart breaks that these players could be part of fighting for their country, but in that same country, they couldn’t play alongside the white players.

P-Robert Poindexter, Birmingham Black Barons, 26 Years Old

165 1/3 IP, 7-12, 3.38 ERA, 121 K, 128 ERA+, 2.85 FIP, 1.319 WHIP

69 AB, .319, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .319/.329/.478, 119 OPS+

WAR-3.4

Wins Above Replacement-3.4 (8th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.7 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Losses-12

Hit By Pitch-10

1st Time All-Star-Robert Poindexter was born on September 25, 1879 in Virginia (city unknown). The five-foot-11, 176 pound righty pitcher started his career this season with his best season ever in Birmingham’s first year. He unfortunately didn’t have much luck as evidenced by his 7-12 record despite a good year of pitching. Most likely, this will be his last year making my All-Star team and he’ll end his career with a losing record (36-50).

                Poindexter is another one of those Negro League players who doesn’t have much information about him. Here’s the full Wikipedia post: “Robert Poindexter (September 25, 1897 – June 8, 1930), nicknamed ‘Roy’, was an American Negro league pitcher in the 1920s.        

                “Poindexter made his Negro leagues debut in 1924 with the Birmingham Black Barons. He went on to play for the Chicago American Giants during their 1926 Colored World Series championship season. In 1927 and 1928, Poindexter was back with Birmingham, and tossed a no-hitter for the Black Barons against his former Chicago team in 1928. He died in Washington, DC in 1930 at age 32.”

                That’s helpful information, for sure, but I do have questions. My main question is how did Poindexter die at the age of 32?  So many of these Negro League players died young, didn’t they.

                Wikipedia also has a bit on Birmingham, stating, “Drawing largely from a successful American Cast Iron Pipe Company Industrial League team, the Black Barons were organized in 1920 for the inaugural season of Rube Foster‘s Negro Southern League, which operated mainly as a minor league. They played in that league for three years before making the leap to the larger Negro National League, which operated as a major league.”

P-Eddie Miller, Chicago American Giants, 23 Years Old

114 IP, 10-2, 2.92 ERA, 42 K, 148 ERA+, 3.63 FIP, 1.281 WHIP

43 AB, .163, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .163/.234/.186, 16 OPS+

WAR-2.9

Wins Above Replacement-2.9 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.0 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Fielding % as P-1.000

1st Time All-Star-Edward Elonzo “Eddie” Miller was born on March 5, 1901 in Calvert, Texas. The five-foot-11, 185 pound unknown hitting, righty throwing pitcher, shortstop, and first baseman had this impressive year to start off his Major League career. It would end up being Miller’s best year ever as he’d never reach the peaks of his rookie year. Part of his problem over the years was a lack of control as shown by his walking more people than he whiffed this season.

                Chicago always seemed to have its share of good pitching and a lack of good hitting which tells us that Schorling Park, the Giants’ home stadium, probably was a pitchers’ park. Well, I did a smattering of research and discovered Schorling, or Schorling’s, Park was the old South Side Park used by the Chicago White Sox from 1901-10 and in the American League, it was indeed a pitcher’s paradise.

                Wikipedia says, “The American Giants played their games there through the 1940 season. Then on Christmas Day of 1940, Schorling’s Park was destroyed by fire. The American Giants would play their remaining 10 seasons at Comiskey Park. Today, the Chicago Housing Authority‘s Wentworth Gardens housing project occupies the site.

                “The South Side Park/Schorling’s Park/Wentworth Gardens site is located across Pershing Road from a junkyard site which was named a Superfund site in the late 1990s.”

                Miller would wind up his career with a 29-28 record and a 115 ERA+. He died sometime, somewhere, but that information is not to be found. His Major League career ended in 1930.

P-Square Moore, Memphis Red Sox, 23 Years Old

121 IP, 5-7, 2.53 ERA, 61 K, 171 ERA+, 3.24 FIP, 1.298 WHIP

43 AB, .116, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .116/.208/.116, -10 OPS+

WAR-2.8

WAR for Pitchers-3.1 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 83 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Ralph Thomas “Square” Moore was born on July 6, 1900 in Little Rock. The five-foot-eight, 190 pound righty pitcher started this year with a good year — indeed his best ever — for the newly formed Memphis Red Sox. Square is definitely one of the most unusual nicknames I’ve heard over the many years I’ve done this page. Interestingly, there was another pitcher with a unique nickname on the Red Sox, Sensation Clark.

                The Arkansas Baseball Encyclopedia says, “Squire Moore, also known as Square Moore, born July 6th, 1899 in Little Rock, AR, was a Negro baseball player from about 1922-1933.

                “Moore was the son of Square Moore Sr. and Dora (nee Thornton) Moore. He grew up in Little Rock, AR.

                “Moore was a heavyset pitcher who’s [sic] early professional career was played with teams based in the southern U.S., including the New Orleans Caulfield Ads and Nashville Elite Giants in the 1922 Negro Southern Legue. From 1923-1925, he was a mainstay with the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro National League. He also appeared with the Birmingham Black Barons late in the 1923 and 1925 seasons, as well as with the Hot Springs Giants in the 1925 preseason. Pitching in Cuba during the 1924-1925 winter season, Moore went 2-3 in 8 games for Santa Clara.

                “Moore lived most of his later life in Buffalo, NY. He died in Buffalo on June 27th, 1960.”

                So Square is a form of the nickname “Squire” and apparently Moore got this nickname from his dad, who had the same moniker. That makes sense.

P-Andy Cooper, Detroit Stars, 26 Years Old

1922 1923

151 IP, 12-7, 3.70 ERA, 81 K, 117 ERA+, 3.09 FIP, 1.179 WHIP

62 AB, .177, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .177/.215/.194, 12 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR for Pitchers-2.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 56 percent chance)

Detroit Stars

35-28-1, 3rd in NNL

Manager Bruce Petway

OPS+-107, 3rd in league

ERA+-83, 6th in league

WAR Leader-Bill Pierce, 2.9

Led in:

Games Pitched-31

Games Finished-16

Def. Games as P-31

3rd Time All-Star-Detroit would be part of the Negro National League from 1920-through-1931 and never finish higher than third in the league, which makes sense considering they were battling the twin juggernauts of the Chicago American Giants and Kansas City Monarchs. Over those twelve seasons, their best player, according to career WAR, was Turkey Stearns. Their second best player was this big lefty pitcher from Waco.

                Waco’s Magazine has an article from Robert F. Darden with a lot of information on Cooper. Here’s some of it: “The Detroit Stars were not that successful, but they were competitive, due in part to Cooper’s pitching prowess. Before leaving the team, he would own every Stars pitching record. Bak features a photograph of the 1920 Detroit Stars in his book. Cooper sits smiling genially at the end of the middle row, with probably the broadest shoulders of anyone on the team. He should be smiling, the big Texan was a hero in Detroit. As Negro League historian Dick Clark said of Cooper, ‘In my estimation, the greatest black pitcher ever to pitch for Detroit — that’s for the Stars or Tigers.’

                “Additionally, Cooper was invited to play in the prestigious and integrated Cuban Winter League, which boasted some of the best black, white and Latin players in the world. An extremely rare baseball card of Cooper has been found. Sponsored by the Nacionales brand of cigarettes, the card is dated 1924 and Cooper looks passively at the camera wearing the uniform of the Habana team of Havana.”

P-Bill McCall, Birmingham Black Barons/Kansas City Monarchs, 26 Years Old

167 IP, 9-11, 3.83 ERA, 100 K, 113 ERA+, 3.12 FIP, 1.269 WHIP

65 AB, .215, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .215/.301/.231, 47 OPS+

WAR-2.1

WAR for Pitchers-2.0 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 28 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Barons Team Stats

Monarchs Team Stats

Led in:

Errors Committed as P-7

1st Time All-Star-William Lee “Bill” McCall was born on March 14, 1898 in Columbus, Georgia. The five-foot-11, 171 pound lefty pitcher started his Major League career with the Pittsburgh Keystones and Cleveland Tate Stars in 1922. It wasn’t a great start as his ERA was over 5 and he didn’t get picked up in 1923. This year, McCall started his season with the newly-formed Barons before moving to Kansas City and actually getting to pitch in the first Negro Leagues World Series. He didn’t even get one out but, hey, at least he made it.

                He pitched in Game 2 against the Hilldale Club and according to Wikiwand, “Bill McCall could not get through the first inning, facing only three men and recording no outs before Bill ‘Plunk’ Drake came in to relieve. Drake did not fare much better, lasting only 1⅔ innings himself. Hilldale led 9-0 by the end of the third.” Kansas City ended up winning the Series, 5-4-1.

                Wikiwand says of this Series, “It was the first World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL. It was the second year of existence for the ECL, but no agreement could be reached in 1923 for a postseason series, owing primarily to unresolved disputes between the leagues. Five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame participated in the series: Biz MackeyJudy Johnson, and Louis Santop played for Hilldale, while Bullet Rogan and José Méndez played for the Monarchs. In addition, Monarchs owner J. L. Wilkinson was also inducted into the Hall.”

P-Dizzy Dismukes, Indianapolis ABCs/Birmingham Black Barons, 34 Years Old

70 2/3 IP, 3-7, 3.82 ERA, 20 K, 114 ERA+, 3.45 FIP, 1.330 WHIP

25 AB, .160, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .160/.160/.320, 29 OPS+

WAR-1.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 115 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Indianapolis ABCs

5-21-2, 7th in NNL

Manager Dizzy Dismukes

OPS+-67, 8th in league

ERA+-71, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Dizzy Dismukes, 0.7

Birmingham Black Barons

37-44-4, 5th in NNL

Managers Sam Crawford (0-2-1), Charles Wesley (18-11-2), Dizzy Dismukes (14-25-1), Joe Hewitt (5-6)

OPS+-80, 7th in league

ERA+-121, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Sam Streeter, 5.8

1st Time All-Star-William “Dizzy” Dismukes was born on March 13, 1890 in Birmingham, Alabama. The six-foot, 180 pound righty pitcher, first baseman, and outfielder started his career with the ABCs in 1920 and ’21 and was quite a workhorse in the former year. He moved to the Pittsburgh Keystones in 1922 before coming back to Indy in ’23. He started with Indy this season as a pitcher and manager and was its best player, according to WAR, which is why Diz is on this list. He finished his season as player-manager for the Black Barons.

                Wikipedia says, “Dismukes was a right-handed submariner, who is considered by many historians to be one of the best pitchers in the Negro leagues.

                “While a player, he periodically wrote about baseball for such black newspapers as the Pittsburgh Courier, beginning in the 1920s.

                “During his managing years, Dismukes became known for his wonderful memory during his playing and managing, and became known as a strategist. He is credited with teaching Webster McDonald and Carl Mays the tricks of submarine-style pitching.

                “He spent a number of years with the Kansas City Monarchs, in such roles as traveling secretary and business manager. Later in his career, after major league baseball was integrated, he was a scout for the Chicago Cubs and then the New York Yankees.

                “He died in 1961, at age 71, at the home of his sister in Campbell, Ohio; the cause of death was hardening of the arteries.”

                This is probably going to be his only All-Star team as the best of his career started before the Negro National League became a Major League.

C-Mitchell Murray, St. Louis Stars, 28 Years Old

1923

150 AB, .333, 6 HR, 35 RBI, .333/.405/.507, 148 OPS+

WAR-1.6

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

St. Louis Stars

43-41, 4th in NNL

Manager Candy Jim Taylor

OPS+-100, 4th in league

ERA+-90, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Willie Wells, 2.2

2nd Time All-Star-Murray made the Negro National League All-Star team for the second straight year. He was no Biz Mackey, but he held his own with the bat. He’s still got some better seasons ahead. As for his team, Candy Jim Taylor guided it to a fourth place finish, its highest finish since the team was the Giants in 1921. The Stars would continue to get better, though they couldn’t get through those two powerhouses, the American Giants and the Monarchs.

                J.T. Buchheit of Redbird Rants wrote this in 2020 about the Stars: “St. Louis has a new Major League team, and it hasn’t existed in 89 years. On Wednesday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the Negro Leagues were being elevated to Major League status, meaning the stats of players in the Negro Leagues will now count as MLB statistics.

                “While the St. Louis Cardinals have received the overwhelming share of local baseball coverage since their inception in 1884, the St. Louis Stars Negro League team was a force in its heyday, and now is a perfect time to reflect on the team’s history and the players who shaped it.

                “The predecessor to the Stars were the St. Louis Giants, a team that played from 1906 to 1921. The Giants weren’t the most dominant team, but for one year, they had one of the best players of all time in outfielder Oscar Charleston.”

                Writing about the Negro Leagues is a regular cottage industry now that they have been designated as Major Leagues.

C-Otto Ray, Cleveland Browns, 31 Years Old

86 AB, .360, 2 HR, 22 RBI, .360/.433/.628, 188 OPS+

WAR-1.0

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 99 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cleveland Browns

15-32, 8th in NNL

Managers Sol White (11-20) and Otto Ray (5-13)

OPS+-92, 6th in league

ERA+-71, 9th in league

WAR Leader-Otto Ray, 1.0

1st Time All-Star-Otto C. Ray was born on May 19, 1893 in Lexinton, Missouri. The righty throwing catcher, outfielder, and first baseman started with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1920. During the 1921 season, he moved to the Chicago Giants. In 1922-23, he played for the St. Louis Stars, before coming to the Browns this year in its only year of existence. I had heard the football Cleveland Browns were named after their Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown and that is obviously not true because the Browns nickname has been around for a while.

                Here’s more on this one Browns season from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: “The CLEVELAND BROWNS were the city’s second professional Negro League Baseball team that played in Rube Foster’s Negro National League. Formed in 1924 from the remnants of the CLEVELAND TATE STARS, the team was managed by black baseball legend and Hall of Famer Sol White. Allen H. Dorsey served as president for the league-financed Browns. The team played its games in Tate Field, rechristened Hooper Field prior to the 1924 season.

                “There was a great deal of promotion and excitement when the ‘greatest ball-team in America,’ the Kansas City Monarchs, were scheduled to come to town in July. The Cleveland Gazette anticipated the largest crowd in the history of Hooper Field for the game. The Browns only won one of the four games against the Monarchs, but the Gazette was pleased with turnout for the series, as fans nearly filled Hooper Field to capacity. The Browns finished in last place in 1924 with a 15-34 record.”     

1B-Bill Pierce, Detroit Stars, 34 Years Old

243 AB, .337, 9 HR, 52 RBI, .337/.410/.588, 171 OPS+

WAR-2.9

WAR Position Players-2.9 (5th)

Offensive WAR-2.6 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Triples-12

Home Runs-9

Assists as 1B-52

Fielding % as 1B-.989

1st Time All-Star-William Henry “Bill” Pierce was born on April 30, 1890 in Hanover, Indiana. (Side note-Same hometown of Cheers character Woody Boyd. I always thought it was a made-up location!) The five-foot-11, 200 pound righty first baseman, catcher, and rightfielder started his Major League career as a catcher for the Eastern Colored League New York Lincoln Giants, before coming to the Detroit Stars this season for his second and last MLB season. It was Pierce’s best season ever as he replaced Edgar Wesley at first after Wesley moved to the Harrisburg Giants of the ECL. He was also Detroit’s best player, according to WAR.

                Wikipedia says, “William Herbert Pierce (born April 30, 1890 and died August 1962) was a Negro leagues catcherfirst baseman and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League, and in its first few seasons.

                “Nicknamed ‘Bonehead’ and ‘Big Bill Pierce’, he played for the Philadelphia Giants at the age of 20. During the winter, he often played baseball in Cuba and Florida. Pierce would play most of his seasons for the Lincoln Giants.

                “Pierce managed the Baltimore Black Sox in 1922. His last known season as a player was 1924, for the Detroit Stars at the age of 34.

                “At the age of 62, Pierce received votes listing him on the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier player-voted poll of the Negro leagues’ best players ever.

                “He died at the age of 72.”

                One has to wonder why Pierce retired after having such a good year.

2B-Anderson Pryor, Detroit Stars, 23 Years Old

200 AB, .295, 4 HR, 35 RBI, .295/.365/.405, 110 OPS+

WAR-1.3

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 93 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Anderson Lee Pryor was born on July 14, 1900 in Houston. The five-foot-four, 146 pound righty second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman started his Major League career with the Milwaukee Bears in 1923, before moving to Detroit that same season. He’s the first Detroit second baseman since Frank Warfield in 1922. He has one better season left which we’ll cover next year. Despite his young age, Pryor doesn’t have many years left.

                One of the differences between rating Negro League players and those from the American and National Leagues is that these ratings don’t use park adjustments, so position players playing in hitters’ parks are going to be overrated and pitchers will be underrated. Mack Park, Detroit’s home field, was apparently a hitters’ park, according to Wikipedia, which says:

                “Mack Park’s single-decked structure, constructed of timber and tin sheeting, was built to seat 6,000 occupants; however, varying reports suggest as many as 10,000 could fit in the stadium’s wooden bleachers. The park is said to have had cozy confines, having a short right field porch and power alley. This may have artificially inflated power hitting numbers of left-handed hitters, despite the high fence in right field.

                “In 1915, the new Federal League sought to locate a franchise in Detroit and contacted Roesink about operating a franchise out of Mack Park; he stalwartly declined the offer. Three years later he accepted an offer from Chicago sports promoter Rube Foster to establish a Negro National League franchise in Detroit and use Mack Park as its home field.”

3B-Newt Joseph, Kansas City Monarchs, 27 Years Old

267 AB, .375, 4 HR, 68 RBI, .375/.428/.543, 165 OPS+

WAR-3.8

Wins Above Replacement-3.8 (6th)

WAR Position Players-3.8 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-3.2 (3rd)

Defensive WAR-0.8 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Putouts as 3B-87

1st Time All-Star-Walter Lee “Newt” Joseph was born on October 27, 1896 in Montgomery, Alabama. The five-foot-seven, 165 pound righty third baseman and second baseman started with the Monarchs in 1922 and would play his whole nine-year career with them. This was his best season ever and Joseph is the first Monarch third baseman to make my list since Bartolo Portuondo in 1920. In the World Series against the Eastern Colored League’s Hilldale Club, he hit .132 (five-for-38) with a double and a homer as Kansas City won, 5-4-1.

                Bradford Lee of Royals Review wrote of Kansas City’s 1924 World Series, “Game Two was all Hilldale as pitcher Jess ‘Nip’ Winters held the high scoring Monarchs to four harmless singles in a 11-0 Daisy romp. Game Three was scheduled for Sunday, October 5. Due to Pennsylvania’s blue laws, which prohibited professional baseball games on Sunday, the game was shifted to the Maryland Baseball Park, home park of the Baltimore Black Sox. Kansas City jumped to an early 4-1 lead but were unable to close out Hilldale. The Monarchs had a one run lead going into the bottom of the ninth and again going into the bottom of the twelfth but were unable to hold on. Newt Joseph hit the first home run of the series for Kansas City. The game was called on account of darkness after 13 innings of play with the score knotted at 6.”  

                Along with having the Negro League World Series’ first home run, Joseph also stole home in game seven. He died at the age of 56 on January 18, 1953 in Kansas City, Missouri.

3B-Dave Malarcher, Chicago American Giants, 29 Years Old

1923

286 AB, .280, 0 HR, 37 RBI, .280/.362/.325, 89 OPS+

WAR-2.0

Defensive WAR-0.9 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Runs Scored-69

Stolen Bases-22

Def. Games as 3B-77 (3rd Time)

Assists as 3B-160 (4th Time)

Errors Committed as 3B-16 (3rd Time)

2nd Time All-Star-Malarcher made my list for the second consecutive season, mainly due to his glove not his bat. It should be noted Chicago played in a pitchers’ park, as mentioned in Eddie Miller’s blurb, so players on the American Giants always seem to be worse hitters than they really were. When Malarcher did get on base, he was dangerous, as evidenced by his league-leading 22 steals, which would have been 44 in a full 154 game season.

                Dr. Layton Revel and Luis Munoz of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research write in Forgotten Heroes: David “Gentlemen (sic) Dave” Malarcher, “Dave Malarcher was back as the starting third baseman for the Chicago American Giants for the 1924 season. Rube Foster went with a veteran line-up for the 1924 season. Floyd “Jelly” Taylor who become a starter in 1920 was the newest member of the starting line-up. The top hitters for Chicago during the season were John Hines (.398), Cristobal Torriente (.348), Walter Davis (.329), Jelly Gardner (.319) and Dave Malarcher (.283). Malarcher also led the team in runs scored with 65 and had 45 runs batted in.

                “Rube Foster as he had always done emphasized speed and stealing bases to manufacture runs. Everybody on the team could and did run. According to research by John Holway Dave Malarcher led the Negro National League in stolen bases with 20 steals. Other American Giants players who put up good stolen base numbers in 1924 were Bobby Williams (13), Jelly Gardner (12), Cristobal Torriente (11), Bingo De Moss (11) and Joe Hewitt (10).”

SS-Dobie Moore, Kansas City Monarchs, 28 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923

299 AB, .355, 5 HR, 62 RBI, .355/.415/.545, 161 OPS+

WAR-4.4

Wins Above Replacement-4.4 (3rd)

WAR Position Players-4.4 (1st)

Offensive WAR-3.7 (2nd)

Defensive WAR-1.1 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

WAR Position Players-4.4

At Bats-299 (2nd Time)

Hits-106

Total Bases-163

Assists-244 (2nd Time)

Def. Games as SS-75 (2nd Time)

Putouts as SS-161 (3rd Time)

Assists as SS-244 (3rd Time)

Double Plays Turned as SS-33 (3rd time)

5th Time All-Star-It was another incredible year for Dobie Moore as he was once again the league’s top shortstop. In my very humble opinion, this was his best season ever as he helped lead Kansas City to its second consecutive Negro National League pennant and its first Negro League World Series title. In the World Series, Moore hit .300 (12-for-40) with two stolen bases. Surprisingly, he didn’t have any extra base hits in the 10 game series which the Monarchs won over Hilldale Club, 5-4-1.

                John B. Holway of SABR writes, “Back home in 1924 Moore erupted with a sensational year at bat. Figures compiled by SABR’s Negro Leagues committee show Moore hitting .471. He hit eight home runs in 56 games, to tie for the league lead with teammate Newt Joseph. Dobie’s army pals, Rogan and Johnson, hit .462 and .423, and the Monarchs won their second pennant in a row. This gave them the right to meet the Philadelphia Hilldales, champions of the new Eastern Colored League, in the first modern black world championship series. It was one of the most exciting series ever played, going a marathon ten games, including a tie. And Moore was in the middle of all the key action.

                “’I never will forget that series against Kansas City,’ says Hilldale third baseman Judy Johnson. ‘I was getting ready to steal, and Moore just blocked me. When I went to make my slide, he had his backside right in me. I couldn’t get into the base. He blocked me off and just put his foot in my stomach. And that was the end of me. He just outsmarted me.’”

SS-Willie Wells, St. Louis Stars, 19 Years Old

170 AB, .300, 1 HR, 37 RBI, .300/.353/.435, 115 OPS+

WAR-2.2

WAR Position Players-2.2 (10th)

Defensive WAR-1.3 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1997)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Defensive WAR-1.3

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-6.67

Range Factor/Game as SS-6.58

Fielding % as SS-.934

1st Time All-Star-Willie James “The Devil” Wells was born on August 10, 1904 in Shawnee, OK. The five-foot-nine, 170 pound righty shortstop and third baseman had this amazing rookie year and is off and running to a Hall of Fame career. He had the kind of career Dobie Moore could have had if he hadn’t been shot. He has an incredible bat and a dazzling glove and will play a long 21 year career. As I look at his stats, I’m ashamed I hadn’t heard of him until now.

                Though his nickname is listed as “The Devil,” according to Wikipedia, it wasn’t bestowed on him until later in his career when his Mexican fans called him El Diablo.

                Paula Mejia of Texas Monthly writes, “As a teenager, Wells began playing baseball with the semipro Austin Black Senators, often competing against other Negro League teams around the state. He also joined the San Antonio Black Aces and Houston Buffaloes for brief stints. At eighteen Wells was offered a contract to play baseball for the St. Louis Stars, and he accepted. After a successful 1924 season, he returned to Austin and started his freshman year at Samuel Huston College. But much to the chagrin of his mother, who wanted him to attend college instead of playing baseball, he lasted only a few months: Wells took a train to California when his former team asked if he wanted to play that winter season. He went on to play professionally for the next thirty years, joining teams on the East Coast as well as in Cuba, Canada, and Mexico.”

LF-Cristobal Torriente, Chicago American Giants, 30 Years Old

1920 1921 1923

255 AB, .365, 8 HR, 81 RBI, .365/.467/.612, 194 OPS+

WAR-4.0

Wins Above Replacement-4.0 (5th)

WAR Position Players-4.0 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-3.8 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Offensive WAR-3.8

On-Base %-.467 (3rd Time)

Slugging %-.612 (2nd Time)

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.079 (2nd Time)

Doubles-27 (2nd Time)

Runs Batted In-81

Adjusted OPS+-194 (2nd Time)

Runs Created-72

Adj. Batting Runs-36 (2nd Time)

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5 (2nd Time)

Extra Base Hits-41

Offensive Win %-.851 (2nd Time)

Power-Speed #-9.6

4th Time All-Star-What an amazing player Torriente is! For the second time in his career, he led the Negro National League in on-base percentage AND slugging percentage. He’s going to start to decline after this season and never be this kind of player again, but he’s not done making All-Star lists. It should also be noted Cristobal played his home games in a pitchers’ paradise, so his hitting stats could have been higher.

                Baseball Reference says, “Torriente hit .380 in the 1923-24 winter ball season, second to Alejandro Oms and ahead of four future Hall-of-Famers. With Chicago, Holway lists him tied for third in the NNL in homers (9), fourth in doubles (22), second in steals (15, trailing Dave Malarcher) and with a .333 average. Recent data says he hit .351/~.449/.581. He finished fourth in Cuba in average that wihnter (.344), his worst in five years. Returning to Chicago, his struggles continued – .241 in Holway’s book, .264/~.377/.438 in the most recent statistics, indicating that his primary value lay in his walks (54 in 89 games).”

                For the purposes of this site, it hurt Torriente that he wasn’t a Major League player until 1920. He would play for a few more years and, as I mentioned, he’s still going to make my list at least one more time, but he’s not going to compile enough stats to make my Hall of Fame, so he’ll just have to settle for making Cooperstown. That poor guy!

LF-Heavy Johnson, Kansas City Monarchs, 29 Years Old

1922 1923

265 AB, .366, 5 HR, 55 RBI, .366/.427/.543, 164 OPS+

WAR-2.3

WAR Position Players-2.3 (8th)

Offensive WAR-2.8 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Fielding % as LF-1.000

3rd Time All-Star-How good is your team when this man is your fifth best player, according to WAR? He hit .366 with a 164 OPS+ and he helped the Monarchs make the first Negro World Series. Johnson and Hurley McNair switched positions, with Heavy moving to left and Hurley moving to right. They both still bounced around a bit, however. In the World Series, Johnson hit .296 (eight-for-27) with three doubles as the Monarchs went on to beat the Hilldale Club of the Eastern Colored League, 5-4-1.

                According to Wikipedia, “Johnson was credited with more than 60 home runs against all opposition in 1924, and batted .296 in the 1924 Colored World Series, which was won by the Monarchs.” Baseball Reference shows him as hitting five, so the other 55 must have been against unofficial opponents.

                Baseball Reference has different details about this season, saying, “While not as dominant in 1924, Johnson hit .374 (third in the NNL) with 16 doubles (fifth) and 11 triples (third). In the first Negro World Series, Johnson hit .296 and delivered the winning double in the finale. He also had a fine catch-and-throw double play from the wall to get Tank Carr at home during that Series.”

                Finally James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, as posted on NLBE Museum, writes, “Johnson was an unpolished fielder and not noted for performance afield. However, in the 1924 World Series he turned in a defensive gem when he snared Hilldale’s George Johnson’s long drive at the wall, robbing him of an extra-base hit, and then whirled and pegged the ball to the plate to double-up base runner George Can, who had tagged at third base and was trying to score.”

CF-Jelly Gardner, Chicago American Giants, 28 Years Old

286 AB, .325, 0 HR, 29 RBI, .325/.432/.388, 125 OPS+

WAR-3.6

Wins Above Replacement-3.6 (7th)

WAR Position Players-3.6 (4th)

Offensive WAR-2.2 (8th)

Defensive WAR-1.2 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Bases on Balls-54

Singles-79

Times On Base-147

Putouts as CF-182

Assists as CF-13

Errors Committed as CF-6

Assists as OF-14

Range Factor/9 Inn as CF-2.76

Range Factor/Game as CF-2.71

1st Time All-Star-Floyd “Jelly” Gardner was born on September 27, 1895 in Russellville, AR. The five-foot-seven, 160 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing outfielder started by playing two games with the Dayton Marcos in 1920 and then moved to the Chicago American Giants that same year. He’d be in the Windy City for a good stretch and this year had his best season ever. He took over for Cristobal Torriente in centerfield as Torriente moved to leftfield.

                James A. Riley, author of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, as posed on NLBE Museum, writes, “Tough, scrappy, and very argumentative, he was quick to express himself verbally or with his fists. Gardner was a heavy drinker and liked the nightlife, and some players described him as ‘evil and jealous,’ while others cited him as being ‘good with his dukes.’ Once in a free-for-all with the Kansas City Monarchs, he kicked Frank Duncan in the mouth with his spikes, after Duncan had already been knocked unconscious by a policeman trying to quell the fighting. His disposition made him hard to get along with in the clubhouse. Foster was able to handle players of Gardner’s temperament better than Malarcher, and trouble began to develop. In 1924 the right fielder had held out through the early spring of 1924, and in 1927 he jumped to the New York Lincoln Giants for part of the season. The next year he played part of the season with the Homestead Grays, who signed him after he quit the Chicago American Giants. Each year he returned to Chicago for part of the season, returning in 1929 for two more years with the American Giants until Foster died. His batting averages for the prior seasons were .289, .303, and .233.”

                Jelly died on March 28, 1977 in Chicago.

CF-Turkey Stearnes, Detroit Stars, 23 Years Old

1923

248 AB, .339, 9 HR, 44 RBI, .339/.386/.581, 162 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR Position Players-2.4 (6th)

Offensive WAR-2.4 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2000)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Triples-12 (2nd Time)

Home Runs-9

2nd Time All-Star-I’m going to be writing many a blurb on the great Turkey Stearnes, who was one of the Negro National League’s best players. He might never have been the best player in any one season, but he had amazing longevity and was the top power hitter in the league. The lefty played in Mack Field, which had a tall screen on its rightfield fence, but it didn’t stop Stearnes from lifting balls over and out. This will be the first of seven times he’ll lead his league in homers.

                Thomas Kern of SABR has tons of information on Stearnes, most of it from Turkey himself. Stearnes said his nickname came because he had a potbelly as a child. Here’s more on Stearnes for Kern: “Stearnes’ own words in an invaluable interview with John Holway are the most appropriate to tell the story of his teenage years.

                “’I wasn’t able to continue high school. I was around 15 or 16 years old when my father died and I had to go to work to help. We had quite a big family. At that time we had five kids in the family. … But you know how it is, you don’t make much money. … My mother was working, cooking for $7 a week. I just did any job that popped up, taking care of hogs and cows and everything like that. I worked at a grocery store, driving a wagon, delivering groceries. I also worked at the Baptist Publishing Board, a janitor mostly, running errands.’”

CF-Valentin Dreke, Cuban Stars West, 26 Years Old

1922

190 AB, .389, 2 HR, 38 RBI, .389/.448/.484, 155 OPS+

WAR-1.7

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Cuban Stars West

18-35, 8th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-109, 2nd in league

ERA+-73, 7th in league

WAR Leader-Velentin Dreke, 1.7

Led in:

1924 NNL Batting Title

Batting Average-.389

2nd Time All-Star-After making my All-Star list in 1922, Dreke missed that accolade in 1923 despite hitting .345. (What was I thinking?!) He’s back this season, leading the Negro National League in hitting, though it was of little help to the Cuban Stars West, who were 18-35 in their official games. Dreke was their best player and arguably had his best season ever. Baseball Reference lists this team as being second in OPS+, but Valentin is the only one to make my list, most likely due to CSW’s short season.

                Steven R. Greenes writes in the book Negro Leagues and the Hall of Fame: The Case for Inducting 24 Overlooked Ballplayers, “Dreke was a major star in Cuban Winter Ball over the same period, accumulating a .334 lifetime batting average and leading that league in stolen bases in 1923-24. Dreke retired from baseball in 1928, when he was only 30 years old. William F. McNeil included Dreke as a member of his All-Time Cuban Winter League Team but only as an honorable mention on his All-Time Negro League Team. Dreke’s play in the United States fails to meet the 10-year minimum requirement for American Hall of Fame admission, as reflected in his credible but hardly remarkable career WAR of 12.3 and WAR per 162 games of 3.2. Only one of 20 Major Leaguers with his closest Similarity Scores is a Hall of Famer: marginal selection Lloyd Waner. Perhaps this, combined with his lack of power, is the reason he has received virtually no Hall of Fame support from veterans or historians. Valentin Dreke was elected to the Cuban Hall of Fame in 1945.”

RF-Hurley McNair, Kansas City Monarchs, 35 Years Old

1920 1921 1922 1923

274 AB, .339, 5 HR, 59 RBI, .339/.410/.467, 140 OPS+

5 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 K, 1.94 FIP, 0.400 WHIP

WAR-2.6

WAR Position Players-2.3 (7th)

Offensive WAR-2.1 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Fielding % as RF-.986

5th Time All-Star-McNair wasn’t a big man. Baseball Reference lists his official stats as five-foot-six, 150 pounds. But he sure could hit! He’s one of four players, along with Dobie Moore, Dave Brown, and Oscar Charleston, to make my list all five years of the Negro Major League’s existence. Most likely, he’s not going to make another one of my lists, but for this half-decade, there weren’t too many better players than McNair.    

                Regarding this season, McNair switched places with Heavy Johnson, moving to rightfield while the Heavy one moved to left. In the Negro League’s first World Series, McNair hit just .143 (five-for-35) with two walks and six strikeouts. It didn’t matter as Kansas City beat Hilldale Club of the Eastern Colored League, 5-4-1.

                Baseball Reference says, “In 1924, McNair hit .346. In the first Negro World Series, he only went 5 for 35, but he saved game three defensively when he threw out Judy Johnson at home in the 12th inning. That winter, Hurley hit .407/?/.525 for the Los Angeles White Sox in the California Winter League, finishing second to Moore in batting average.

                “After retiring as a player, McNair worked as an umpire in the Negro American League. He was once chased around the field by players wielding bats, who backed away after he pulled a knife on them.

                “McNair helped teach Willie Wells how to hit the curveball. He was known as a moody, self-centered person who did things his way. He once also supposedly homered when he grabbed a fungo bat, rushing to the batter’s box as he had been getting a drink of water when his turn came.”

                McNair died at the age of 60 on December 2, 1948 in Kansas City, Missouri.

RF-Branch Russell, St. Louis Stars, 28 Years Old

272 AB, .305, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .305/.376/.485, 135 OPS+

WAR-2.2

Offensive WAR-2.1 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

1st Time All-Star-Branch Lee Russell was born on October 9, 1895 in South Boston, Virginia. The five-foot-10, 165 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing rightfielder, second baseman, and third baseman started his Major League career by playing two games with the Monarchs in 1922 before moving to the Stars, where he’ll be playing for a long time. He’s the first St. Louis rightfielder to make my list since Charlie Blackwell in 1921 when the Stars were the Giants.

                Baseball Reference says, “Branch Russell was a good contact hitter in his 11 years in the Negro Leagues. Prior to his Negro League career, he was a private in the Twenty-Fifth Infantry, serving 8 years (one source lists him as reaching the rank of corporal). He served along the Mexican border during World War I. In the army athletic championships that helped form the 1920 US Olympic team, Russell competed in the running hop, step, and jump, finishing second. On June 28, the 25th infantry team played the St. Louis Giants, with Russell batting second and playing third base (moving to shortstop later in the game). Branch went 2 for 3 in a 4-1 victory by the Army unit’s team. He remained in the service for a while longer, then made his professional baseball debut at age 26 with two games for the 1922 Kansas City Monarchs, going 0 for 5.

                “The next year, he joined the St. Louis Stars, where he spent the bulk of his career. Branch batted .283/.341/.416 his first year in St. Louis, outhitting fellow rookie Cool Papa Bell and leading the team in triples (9, tied for sixth in the Negro National League) and runs (64). He bounced around the field, playing 25 games at third base, 22 at shortstop, 17 in right field and 14 in left field while hitting third, first or seventh.”

1923 Eastern Colored League All-Star Team

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

P-Nip Winters, Hilldale Club, 24 Years Old, 1st MVP

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+

WAR-3.6

Wins Above Replacement-3.6 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-3.4 (1st)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

1923 ECL Pitching Title

Wins Above Replacement-3.6

WAR for Pitchers-3.4

Earned Run Average-2.36

Wins-10

Hits per 9 IP-7.246

Strikeouts per 9 IP-7.246

Saves-3

Adjusted ERA+-168

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?

P-Red Ryan, Hilldale Club, 25 Years Old

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+

WAR-3.2

Wins Above Replacement-3.2 (2nd)

WAR for Pitchers-3.2 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

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.”

P-Hubert Lockhart, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 24 Years Old

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+

WAR-3.0

Wins Above Replacement-3.0 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-3.1 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 62 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.778

Walks & Hits per IP-1.099

Shutouts-2

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.

P-Rats Henderson,  Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 26 Years Old

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+

WAR-2.4

Wins Above Replacement-2.4 (5th)

WAR for Pitchers-2.4 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 14 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Wins-10

Games Pitched-22

Innings Pitched-152 2/3

Strikeouts-100

Games Started-17

Complete Games-14

Hits-134

Losses-10

Earned Runs-60

Batters Faced-632

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.”

P-Oscar Levis, Cuban Stars East, 24 Years Old

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+

WAR-2.1

Wins Above Replacement-2.1 (7th)

WAR for Pitchers-1.9 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

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.

                Baseball Reference says, “Oscar Levis was one of the best Jamaican players ever. He was noted for his spitball and ‘fake spitter’. His skin color and spitball both kept him out of the major leagues.

                “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).”

P-Dave Brown, New York Lincoln Giants, 26 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

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+

WAR-2.0

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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.”

P-Lewis Hampton, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants/Hilldale Club, 22 Years Old

1922

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+

WAR-2.0

Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (9th)

WAR for Pitchers-1.5 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 22 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Atlantic City Team Stats

Hilldale Team Stats

Led in:

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.    

                “The team included four players who were late inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: manager/shortstop John Henry Lloyd, third baseman Judy Johnson, catcher Biz Mackey, and catcher Louis Santop.”

                There is no date of death listed on Hampton’s Baseball Reference page.

P-Willis Flournoy, Hilldale Club/Brooklyn Royal Giants, 27 Years Old

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+

WAR-2.0

Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (10th)

WAR for Pitchers-1.7 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 24 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Hilldale Team Stats

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

Led in:

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 BrooklynNew 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 GiantsCuban X-GiantsCuban 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.

P-John Harper, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, Age Unknown

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-1.5

WAR for Pitchers-1.7  (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 272 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

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 CharlestonBiz 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.

P-Bill Holland, New York Lincoln Giants, 22 Years Old

1920 1921 1922

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-1.4

WAR for Pitchers-1.6 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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.”

Raleigh mackey posed fielding as Hilldale Giant

C-Biz Mackey, Hilldale Club, 25 Years Old

1921 1922

182 AB, .423, 5 HR, 44 RBI, .423/.456/.588, 192 OPS+

WAR-2.9

Wins Above Replacement-2.9 (4th)

WAR Position Players-2.9 (1st)

Offensive WAR-2.8 (1st)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require nine more All-Star seasons. 44 percent chance)

Team Stats

Led in:

1923 ECL Batting Title

WAR Position Players-2.9

Offensive WAR-2.8

Batting Average-.423

On-Base %-.456

Slugging %-.588

On-Base Plus Slugging-1.044

Hits-77

Adjusted OPS+-192

Runs Created-48

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

Passed Balls-1

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 JohnsonPop 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.

C-Julio Rojo, Baltimore Black Sox, 29 Years Old

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-1.2

WAR Position Players-1.4 (9th)

Offensive WAR-1.4 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 142 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.

1B-Jud Wilson, Baltimore Black Sox, 27 Years Old

195 AB, .338, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .338/.408/.533, 163 OPS+

WAR-2.0

Wins Above Replacement-2.0 (8th)

WAR Position Players-2.0 (3rd)

Offensive WAR-2.0 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

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

Team Stats

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.

1B-Robert Hudspeth, New York Lincoln Giants, 29 Years Old

128 AB, .367, 2 HR, 21 RBI, .367/.421/.539, 169 OPS+

WAR-1.4

WAR Position Players-1.4 (8th)

Offensive WAR-1.4 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.

2B-Orville Singer, New York Lincoln Giants, 24 Years Old

95 AB, .400, 2 HR, 20 RBI, .400/.430/.537, 171 OPS+

WAR-1.2

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 57 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.       

2B-Frank Warfield, Hilldale Club, 24 Years Old

1921 1922

230 AB, .278, 1 HR, 20 RBI, .278/.362/352, 101 OPS+

WAR-1.2

Defensive WAR-0.2 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Games Played-61

Sacrifice Hits-17

Assists-154

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.”

3B-Oliver Marcell, New York Lincoln Giants, 28 Years Old

101 AB, .337, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .337/.432/.406, 137 OPS+

WAR-1.1

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 38 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.

SS-John Henry Lloyd, Hilldale Club, 39 Years Old

1921

150 AB, .367, 2 HR, 23 RBI, .367/.403/.507, 154 OPS+

WAR-1.8

WAR Position Players-1.8 (4th)

Offensive WAR-1.7 (4th)

Defensive WAR-0.2 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1977)

Ron’s: No (Would require 20 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Hilldale Club

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

Led in:

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.’”

SS-Dick Lundy, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 24 Years Old

185 AB, .319, 3 HR, 34 RBI, .319/.364/.438, 125 OPS+

WAR-1.5

WAR Position Players-1.5 (6th)

Offensive WAR-1.5 (6th)

Defensive WAR-0.3 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Led in:

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.

SS-Cool Turner, Brooklyn Royal Giants, 21 Years Old

116 AB, .353, 0 HR, 21 RBI, .353/.375/.414, 122 OPS+

WAR-0.9

Defensive WAR-0.2 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 176 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.”

LF-Charlie Mason, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 28 Years Old

200 AB, .345, 7 HR, 39 RBI, .345/.388/.505, 150 OPS+

WAR-1.7

WAR Position Players-1.7 (5th)

Offensive WAR-1.7 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 53 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

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.

CF-George Johnson, Hilldale Club, 33 Years Old

213 AB, .352, 8 HR, 46 RBI, .352/.384/.549, 160 OPS+

WAR-2.1

Wins Above Replacement-2.1 (6th)

WAR Position Players-2.1 (2nd)

Offensive WAR-2.1 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Total Bases-117

Home Runs-8

Runs Batted In-46

Stolen Bases-13

Extra Base Hits-21

Power-Speed #-9.9

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.

CF-Alejandro Oms, Cuban Stars East, 27 Years Old

128 AB, .367, 3 HR, 26 RBI, .367/.417/.523, 163 OPS+

WAR-1.4

WAR Position Players-1.4 (7th)

Offensive WAR-1.4 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 31 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.”

CF-Rags Roberts, Baltimore Black Sox, 27 Years Old

102 AB, .324, 0 HR, 14 RBI, .324/.425/.431, 141 OPS+

WAR-1.0

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 299 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

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.

                Wikipedia says, “Harry Hamlet Roberts (November 12, 1895 – July 25, 1963), nicknamed ‘Rags’, was an American Negro league outfielder in the 1920s.

                “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.”

RF-Blainey Hall, Baltimore Black Sox, 34 Years Old

192 AB, .344, 2 HR, 28 RBI, .344/.376/.464, 135 OPS+

WAR-1.3

WAR Position Players-1.3 (10th)

Offensive WAR-1.2 (10th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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.

1923 Negro National League All-Star Team

P-Bullet Rogan, KCM

P-Ed Rile, CAG

P-Rube Curry, KCM

P-Juan Padron, CSW

P-Dicta Johnson, TT/MB/CAG

P-Jose Mendez, KCM

P-Charles Corbett, ABC

P-Andy Cooper, DS

P-Tom Williams, CAG

P-Joe Strong, MB/CAG

C-Mitchell Murray, TT/SLS

C-Frank Duncan, KCM

1B-Oscar Charleston, ABC

1B-Edgar Wesley, DS

2B-Bingo DeMoss, CAG

3B-George Scales, SLS

3B-Candy John Taylor, TT/SLS

3B-Dave Malarcher, CAG

3B-Henry Blackmon, ABC

SS-Dobie Moore, KCM

SS-Bill Riggins, DS

LF-Hurley McNair, KCM

CF-Cristobal Torriente, CAG

CF-Turkey Stearnes, DS

RF-Heavy Johnson, KCM

P-Bullet Rogan, Kansas City Monarchs, 29 Years Old, 3rd MVP

1921 1922

248 1/3 IP, 16-11, 2.94 ERA, 151 K, 150 ERA+, 3.02 FIP, 1.164 WHIP

207 AB, .362, 7 HR, 44 RBI, .362/.416/.551, 150 OPS+

WAR-8.6

Wins Above Replacement-8.6 (1st)

WAR for Pitchers-6.0 (1st)

WAR Position Players-2.6 (10th)

Offensive WAR-2.5 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 1998)

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

Team Stats

Led in:

Wins Above Replacement-8.6 (3rd Time)

WAR for Pitchers-6.0 (2nd Time)

Wins-16

Hits per 9 IP-7.683

Innings Pitched-248 1/3

Strikeouts-151

Games Started-24 (2nd Time)

Complete Games-20 (2nd Time)

Shutouts-4

Bases on Balls-77

Wild Pitches-9

Batters Faced-1,013

Fielding Independent Pitching-3.02 (2nd Time)

Adj. Pitching Runs-39 (3rd Time)

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.6 (2nd Time)

Putouts as P-19 (2nd Time)

3rd Time All-Star-During this era in baseball, there wasn’t a player like Charles “Bullet” Rogan to be found. As a matter of fact, there weren’t many like him in all of baseball history. Babe Ruth combined the skills of pitching and hitting for about five seasons and Shohei Ohtani is making a name for himself in 2021 and that’s just about it. Bullet Rogan pitched and hit his way to his third Negro National League Most Valuable Player, as determined by me, and he’s not nearly done yet.

                Wikipedia says, “On August 6, 1923, Rogan combined with teammate and manager José Méndez to pitch a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Bears, Méndez pitching the first five innings and Rogan the last four. That season he hit .364 with a league-leading 16 wins and 151 strikeouts to lead the Monarchs to their first pennant.”

                Baseball Reference says, “Satchel Paige said this about Rogan in the book Blackball Stars: ‘Joe Rogan was one of the world’s greatest pitchers. …He was a chunky little guy, but he could throw hard. He could throw hard as Smokey Joe Williams-yeah.’”

                It’s going to be four more seasons before Paige enters the Majors and probably another five before he makes my list for the first time, but he’s the player to which Rogan’s pitching most often gets compared. Even Paige agrees. However, Rogan’s career OPS+ is 152 and Paige’s is 25.

P-Ed Rile, Chicago American Giants, 23 Years Old

184 2/3 IP, 15-7, 2.53 ERA, 69 K, 173 ERA+, 3.38 FIP, 1.164 WHIP

69 AB, .232, 1 HR, 10 RBI, .232/.274/.275, 43 OPS+

WAR-5.7

Wins Above Replacement-5.7 (3rd)

WAR for Pitchers-5.7 (2nd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Chicago American Giants

39-24, 2nd in NNL

Manager Rube Foster

OPS+-83, 7th in league

ERA+-120, 2nd in league

WAR Leader-Ed Rile, 5.7

Led in:

1923 NNL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-2.53

Adjusted ERA+-173

1st Time All-Star-Edward “Ed” Rile was born on June 30, 1900 in Columbus, Ohio. The six-foot-two, 210 pound lefty hitting, righty throwing first baseman and pitcher started in 1920 as a pitcher with the Indianapolis ABCs and then went to Columbus Buckeyes in 1921. That was an incredible year, because he pitched just five games, won them all, and, according to WAR, was the third best player on the Buckeyes. In just five games! No wonder when Columbus folded after the ’21 season, Rube Foster’s Giants snatched him up. He had the Giants’ best pitching season since Dave Brown in 1920.

                There is an outstanding article on SABR by Todd Peterson about the Black Ball Championships which went from 1866-to-1923. You’ll have to read the whole thing for context as I’m just putting the part that pertains to Rile.

                “Both owners desperately wanted to win the finale, which turned out to be ‘one of the greatest games played anywhere,’ replete with ‘brilliant fielding, eight fast double plays, and catches after long runs.’ Bacharach twirler Harold Treadwell fanned 12 and scattered eight hits while blanking the American Giants for 19 innings. But his teammates could do nothing with Chicago starter Ed ‘Huck’ Rile or Dave Brown, who came on in relief in the fifth. The jug-eared lefty allowed only six singles for the next 15 frames, and struck out 12 batters, including a bases-loaded punchout of George Shively in the top of the 18th inning. In the bottom of the 20th, Cristobal Torriente drew a walk off Treadwell, was sacrificed to second, and scored the game’s only run on a single by Dave Malarcher, beating weak-armed right fielder Ramiro Ramirez’s throw home by five feet.”

P-Rube Curry, Kansas City Monarchs, 24 Years Old

1920 1921

213 2/3 IP, 15-9, 3.24 ERA, 119 K, 135 ERA+, 3.31 FIP, 1.320 WHIP

91 AB, .242, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .242/.274/.319, 54 OPS+

WAR-3.7

Wins Above Replacement-3.7 (8th)

WAR for Pitchers-3.6 (3rd)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 12 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Hits Allowed-229 (2nd Time)

Assists as P-90

3rd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1920 and ’21, Curry missed out in 1922, but it was still a good year, just not good enough. He’s back this year with his best year so far. Kansas City and the Chicago American Giants sure had a way of hoarding the best pitching in the Negro National League which is why they combined between them to win eight straight titles. This year was the Monarch’s first as they finally knocked the American Giants out of first.

                Baseball Reference says, “The tall curveball artist was 15-9 with 3 saves and a 3.24 RA in 1923. He also hit .242. He tied Andy Cooper and Huck Rile for second in the NNL in wins, one behind Rogan. His 119 strikeouts were second to Rogan, as were his 18 complete games. He tied Rogan and Bill Force for second in saves, behind Cooper. John Holway rates him as the best pitcher in the NNL that year.

                “In the winter of 1923-1924, Currie wnet to Cuba, where he was 8-2 for the legendary Santa Clara Leopards, considered arguably the best winter league team ever. Currie remained for the second season in Cuba that winter, going 2-3 for Santa Clara.”

                This will be Curry’s last year with the Monarchs as a new Major League formed this year called the Eastern Colored League.  Curry, along with many players, would make the jump to the new league. I’ll have more on that once I do the All-Star team for that league.

P-Juan Padron, Cuban Stars West, 30 Years Old

1922

137 2/3 IP, 7-8, 3.40 ERA, 80 K, 129 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, 1.300 WHIP

60 AB, .350, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .350/.381/.517, 132 OPS+

WAR-3.3

WAR for Pitchers-2.6 (9th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

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

Cuban Stars West

24-33, 9th in NNL

Manager Unknown

OPS+-87, 6th in league

ERA+-103, 4th in league

WAR Leader-Juan Padron, 3.3

Led in:

Strikeouts/Base On Balls-2.286

2nd Time All-Star-Padron moved from the Chicago American Giants to Cuban Stars West this year and had a good season. It was his worst pitching season between 1922 and 1925, but I have him rated higher because for the only time in his career, he shined with the bat. It was the only time Padron hit over .233 and he belted .350. He hit three of his five total homers this year and it’s the only year his OPS+ was over 100. It’s the best Cuban Stars West pitching year since Jose LeBlanc in 1921.

                By the way, that picture above is most likely not Padron, but Isidro Fabre. According to Gary Ashwill of Agate Type, “Back in 2011 Brian Campf sent me this marvelous photograph of Juan Padrón with the New York Cuban Stars, ca. 1920: (above picture)

                “After I posted it, a couple of readers noted that the same image had been identified as Isidro Fabré.  At the time this is what I wrote to one of them:

                “’It’s an interesting case, since Fabré & Padrón played for the same team (NY Cuban Stars) at the same time.  But I think it’s pretty easy, when you look at it, to tell them apart.  Attached are juxtapositions of the Padrón photo with both the Fabré you sent and another image of Fabré which is probably a little better for these purposes, as it’s more head on.  The entire structure of the lower face is different, with Fabré having more of a square chin and a narrower face; their noses are quite different; their eyebrows are different; Fabré’s lips are fuller; Fabré’s right ear, while similar to Padrón at the top, is shorter.

“’I’ve also attached an image showing the Padrón photo juxtaposed with a photo of the older Padrón, probably in the 1950s, which I obtained from his family.  You can see other images of Padrón from the 1970s here.’”

Wikipedia posts that picture as Padron. Click on the link above for more on this from Ashwill.

P-Dicta Johnson, Toledo Tigers/Milwaukee Bears/Chicago American Giants, 36 Years Old

175 1/3 IP, 9-6, 4.11 ERA, 57 K, 107 ERA+, 3.80 FIP, 1.363 WHIP

63 AB, .175, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .175/.257/.190, 18 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR for Pitchers-3.2 (5th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 41 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Toledo Tigers

10-17, 8th in NNL

Manager Dicta Johnson (3-10) and Candy Jim Taylor (7-7)

OPS+-94, 4th in league

ERA+-74, 8th in league

WAR Leader-Candy Jim Taylor, 1.7

Bears Team Stats

American Giants Teams Stats

1st Time All-Star-Louis “Dicta” Johnson was born on June 29, 1887 in Elizabethtown, Illinois. The five-foot-seven, 134 pound righty pitcher and outfielder started his Major League career with the Indianapolis ABCs from 1920-through-1922. In 1922, he went from Indianapolis to the Pittsburgh Keystones to finish the season. This season, his last, you can see he played for three different teams and had his best season ever.

                Wikipedia says, “Louis “Dicta” Johnson (born June 29, 1887) was an American spitball pitcher[2] in Negro league baseball and during the pre-Negro league years. He played from 1908 until 1923, mostly for the Indianapolis ABCs[1] and the Chicago American Giants.

                “In 1910 and 1911, Johnson followed many of his fellow Chicago players to the St. Paul Colored Gophers team, which became the Twin Cities Gophers in 1911. There he would play with Candy Jim TaylorWilliam BingaMule ArmstrongSherman BartonJohnny Davis and future College Football Hall of Fame legend Bobby Marshall.

                “In 1913, Johnson pitched a no-hitter for the Chicago American Giants.

                “Johnson pitched for the 183rd Infantry Team in 1918.

                “In 1922 he managed the Pittsburgh Keystones, and in 1923 he managed the Toledo Tigers, acting as a player-coach for the Tigers.”

                With all of the information on Johnson, I couldn’t find the day he died. I’m assuming he died or he’d be 134 at the time of this writing. I also don’t know what the nickname “Dicta” means. If any of my readers can fill in those details, it’d be appreciated.

P-Jose Mendez, Kansas City Monarchs, 38 Years Old

138 2/3 IP, 12-4, 3.18 ERA, 60 K, 138 ERA+, 3.30 FIP, 1.212 WHIP

88 AB, .239, 1 HR, 15 RBI, .239/.280/.409, 77 OPS+

WAR-3.0

WAR for Pitchers-2.9 (7th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 42 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Kansas City Monarchs

54-32, 1st in NNL

Managers Sam Crawford (26-17) and Jose Mendez (35-20)

OPS+-116, 1st in league

ERA+-131, 1st in league

WAR Leader-Bullet Rogan, 8.6

Led in:

Bases On Balls per 9 IP-1.947

1st Time All-Star-Jose Colmenar Mendez was born on January 2, 1885 in Cardenas, Cuba. The five-foot-10, 152 pound righty pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman had a prosperous career long before the Negro National League started which is why he’s in the Hall of Fame. He started with the Monarchs in 1920 and ‘21 as a shortstop, moved to third in 1922, but then had his best Major League season ever at pitcher this year. He also took over as manager midway through the season and helped guide the Monarchs to their first NNL crown.

                Peter C. Bjarkman of SABR has much to say about Mendez and I suggest you click on the link and read the whole thing. I’m just going to focus on his death, of which Bjarkman writes, “The details of Méndez’s death also are at best quite sketchy. Little is known about his final months and illness, only that he was reported deceased less than 22 months after hurling his final Cuban League victory (on January 26, 1927) and barely two years after his final triumph on the hill for the Kansas City Monarchs (June 13, 1926, over the Cleveland Elite). There is even some dispute over the actual date of his death, which is reported in a pair of sources as October 31, 1928 (Nieto and Wikipedia), and in yet another as November 6 (Figueredo, Who’s Who in Cuban Baseball). González Echevarría (The Pride of Havana), who provides one of the fuller portraits of the pitcher’s youth, has surprisingly nothing to say about his demise and at one point even inaccurately gives 1930 as the death date. It is nonetheless clear that Méndez died in obscurity and apparent poverty and that he was most likely the victim of TB – James Riley claims bronchopneumonia without citing any sources.”

P-Charles Corbett, Indianapolis ABCs, 33 Years Old

190 IP, 12-10, 3.69 ERA, 66 K, 119 ERA+, 4.17 FIP, 1.363 WHIP

121 AB, .198, 0 HR, 18 RBI, .198/.242/.289, 38 OPS+

WAR-2.9

WAR for Pitchers-3.3 (4th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 46 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Indianapolis ABCs

44-32, 3rd in NNL

Manager Dizzy Dismukes

OPS+-89, 5th in league

ERA+-105, 3rd in league

WAR Leader-Oscar Charleston, 4.5

1st Time All-Star-Charles Corbett was born on March 8, 1890 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The righty pitcher and outfielder started with the Pittsburgh Keystones in 1922 and didn’t have a very good season. He came back this year with the ABCs, having his best year ever. Starting in 1924, he’d move to the Eastern Colored League and pitch well if not good enough to make my list. It should be noted it looked like the Negro National League had another Bullet Rogan in 1922 when Corbett hit .412 with two homers and 15 runs batted in. He’d never hit that way again over a full season.

                There isn’t much on Corbett on the internet, so here’s some information on the ABCs from Wikipedia: “In 1920, after a year-long absence from baseball, Taylor reorganized the ABCs and entered them in the new Negro National League (NNL), finishing in fourth place with a 39–35 record. The following season Oscar Charleston left for the St. Louis Giants, and the ABCs sagged to 35–38 and fifth place, despite a great season from 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.”

                There is no recorded date of death for Corbett, nor can I find a picture.

P-Andy Cooper, Detroit Stars, 25 Years Old

1922

183 1/3 IP, 15-7, 3.49 ERA, 68 K, 126 ERA+, 3.95 FIP, 1.156 WHIP

64 AB, .109, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .109/.136/.156, -24 OPS+

WAR-2.4

WAR for Pitchers-3.0 (6th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: Yes (Inducted in 2006)

Ron’s: No (Would require 10 more All-Star seasons. 60 percent chance)

Detroit Stars

39-27, 3rd in NNL

Manager Bruce Petway

OPS+-96, 3rd in league

ERA+-101, 5th in league

WAR Leader-Bill Riggins, 3.9

Led in:

Walks & Hits per IP-1.156

Saves-6

2nd Time All-Star-Cooper made my list for the second consecutive season and is going to be a regular on my All-Star teams. He had great control and would be one of the Stars’ best pitchers for many a year. Because of the lack of official games, all of the Negro National League players had lower WARs than they deserved, but in determining my Hall of Fame, which is based solely on numbers, it will hurt some of these great Negro League players.              

                Wikipedia says, “Cooper pitched for the Detroit Stars from 1920 to 1927. The Stars played in Mack Park, which was noted for its short fences. Despite the hitter-friendly dimensions of the park, Cooper excelled as a pitcher in Detroit. The short fences often allowed Detroit’s powerful hitters to provide good run support for Cooper. In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James characterized Cooper as the best Negro league pitcher of 1923.”

                Does Bill James ever sleep? You’d think just keeping up with the National and American Leagues would be enough for the prolific writer, but he also takes time to detail the Negro Leagues. Sure, I’m doing it now, but I’m not actually doing, what do they call it?, oh, research, I’m just piggybacking off the great writers on the net, scribes like Gary Ashwill and the wonderful writers of SABR. What I hope is happening for my readers and me is that we’re learning to appreciate many of these forgotten players.

P-Tom Williams, Chicago American Giants, 26 Years Old

1920 1921

94 IP, 9-1, 2.97 ERA, 23 K, 148 ERA+, 3.87 FIP, 1.351 WHIP

28 AB, .071, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .071/.071/.071, -63 OPS+

WAR-2.2

WAR for Pitchers-2.7 (8th)

ONEHOF: No

Cooperstown: No

Ron’s: No (Would require 25 more All-Star seasons. Impossible)

Team Stats

Led in:

Win-Loss %-.900

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.096

3rd Time All-Star-After making my list in 1920 and 1921, Williams didn’t pitch in the Negro National League in 1922. According to Baseball Reference, he spent 1922 with the New York Lincoln Giants and Atlantic City, which were not considered Major League teams. He came back to the American Giants in 1923 and again showed why he was one of the early Negro National League greats. However, this is probably the last time he’ll make my list.

                BR says, “In 1923, he was back in Chicago and had his fourth big season in four years for them. He was 9-1 with a 2.97 ERA, finishing third in the NNL in ERA behind Ed Rile and Rogan. The Morris Brown alumnus was 12-4 with a 3.68 ERA and 99 strikeouts for Chicago and the Detroit Stars in 1924. He was 5th in the NNL in wins (behind Rogan, Andy CooperSam Streeter and Juan Padron), second in ERA (to Padron) and 4th in whiffs (trailing Streeter, Bob Poindexter and Rogan). He was 0-1 for Chicago in 1925 to end his career.

                “Williams threw a curveball, drop, spitballfastball and floater and was noted for his pick-off move.

                “From 1916-1923, he was 53-22 with a 2.44 ERA, walking 177 in 668 2/3 IP. His WHIP was 1.09 and his ERA+ 143. For this period, he was 5th in the Negro Leagues in wins (behind Redding, Dick Whitworth, Jeffries and Rogan), 1st in winning percentage (for hurlers with 100+ games), tied for third with 10 shutouts (with Brown and Jeffries), fourth in ERA for pitchers with 50+ games (trailing Cyclone Joe WilliamsJosé Leblanc and Redding), third in ERA+ for those with 100+ appearances (behind Rogan and Redding) and second in WHIP (behind Brown).”

                Williams died on January 19, 1937 at the age of 40 in Bremen, Illinois.