Stat-urday, 5/12/2018

Mitchellville Tigers, ca. 1948 (photo courtesy of Prince George’s County, MD)

On April 14, 2009, then-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law declaring the second Saturday in May to be Negro League Baseball Day. So, in honor of the day, here are some stats on the Negro Leagues in Maryland:

  • Four Negro League teams played in Maryland: (1) Baltimore Lord Baltimores, National Colored Baseball League, 1887; (2) Baltimore Black Sox, 1922-1934 (independent league, 1916-22 and 1930-31; Eastern Colored League, 1923-28; American Negro League, 1929; East-West League, 1932; Negro National League, 1933-34); (3) Baltimore Stars (independent league, 1933); and (4) Baltimore Elite Giants (Negro National League, 1938-48; Negro American League, 1949-50). In addition, several semi-pro and sandlot teams played throughout the state, such as the Mitchellville Tigers  and the Galesville Hot Sox.
  • At least 10 members of the Baltimore Black Sox were born in Maryland: Blainey Hall, Buddy Burbage, George Grayer, John Stanley, Malcolm Brown, Peter Johnson, Scrappy Brown, Stuart Jones, Tony Mahoney, and Wyman Smith.
  • The Black Sox and the Elite Giants each won two championships: 1929 and 1932 for the Black Sox and 1939 and 1949 for the Elite Giants.

Satchel_Paige_1949_BowmanTwo of the most famous Negro League players in Baltimore were Satchel Paige and Leon Day. Paige, a right-handed pitcher, had an win-loss record of 100-50 in the Negro Leagues, and 28-31 in the Major Leagues. Day, also a RHP, had a 64-29 win-loss record of 64-29 in the Negro Leagues, with an ERA of 2.98.

Happy Negro League Baseball Day!

~ baseballrebecca




Rube Foster

Rube_Foster_1924To close out African American History Month, let’s remember Rube Foster, the founder of the Negro National League. Born in 1879, Foster began his playing career with the Fort Worth Yellow Jackets in 1897. He would go on to play with the Chicago Union Giants, the Cuban X-Giants, the Philadelphia Giants, the Leland Giants, and the Chicago American Giants. in 1910, Foster became player/owner/manager of the Leland Giants, which were renamed the Chicago American Giants the next year. Below are just a few of his pitching stats from Baseball Reference.

~ baseballrebecca

Year Age Team League Lev W L ERA
1905 25 Cuban X Giants CNCS Fgn 2 2 1.85
1906 26 Fe CUGL Fgn 9 6 2.17
1907 27 Habana CUGL Fgn 5 3 2.28
1910 30 Chicago CNCS Fgn 3 1 1.86
1911 31 Fe CUNL Fgn 0 0 8.31
1914 34 Chicago American Giants INDP Non 5 4 2.48
1915 35 Chicago American Giants INDP Non 2 2 4.05
1916 36 Chicago American Giants INDP Non 1 1 1
1917 37 Chicago American Giants INDP Non 2 1 3.33
NLB (8 seasons) NLB 29 20 2.44
All Levels (9 Seasons) 29 20 2.5

Dave Winfield on the 2008 Negro Leagues Player Draft

Yesterday, I posted some information on MLB’s 2008 Negro Leagues Player Draft. Here are a few comments from Dave Winfield, courtesy of the African American Registry:


Negro Leagues Player Draft, June 5, 2008

“All of these former [Negro Leagues] players have interesting stories to tell. They didn’t have the opportunity. Now they will.” – Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB Executive VP for Baseball Operations, 2008

Does anyone remember MLB’s Negro Leagues Player Draft, which took place on June 5, 2008? According to an article on, the draft was “a continuation of baseball’s effort to fix a historical wrong.” (Other efforts undertaken by MLB have included the induction of Negro Leaguers into the Hall of Fame in 2006 and the annual Civil Rights Game). For this “draft,” each MLB team selected a surviving former Negro Leagues player to represent all players who were denied the opportunity to play Major League Baseball.

Interestingly, it took a while to even find any information on this event, which coincided with MLB’s First-Player Draft in 2008. (Not even a Wikipedia page!) I pieced together who was selected in this draft from I variety of sources until eventually I found one article that listed all of the players selected. I never did found a player for the St. Louis Cardinals.

This list of “drafted” players appears below. If anyone has anymore insights or information, please share!

~ baseballrebecca

Player Drafted By
Bob Mitchell Arizona Diamondbacks
James “Red” Moore Atlanta Braves
Bert Simmons Baltimore Orioles
Jim Colzie Boston Red Sox
Walter Owens Chicago Cubs
Hank Presswood Chicago White Sox
Charlie Davis Cincinnati Reds
Otha “Li’l Catch” Bailey Cleveland Indians
Mack Pride, Jr. Colorado Rockies
Cecil Kaiser Detroit Tigers
Enrique Maroto Florida Marlins
Bill Blair Houston Astros
Ulysses Hollimon Kansas City Royals
Neale “Bobo” Henderson Los Angeles Angels
Andrew Porter Los Angeles Dodgers
Joe Scott Milwaukee Brewers
Bill “Lefty” Bell Minnesota Twins
Robert Scott New York Mets
Emilio “Millito” Navarro New York Yankees
Irvin Castille Oakland Athletics
Mahlon Duckett Philadelphia Phillies
James Tillman Pittsburgh Pirates
Walter McCoy San Diego Padres
Carlos Manuel Santiago San Francisco Giants
John “Mule” Miles Seattle Mariners
Walter Lee Gibbons Tampa Bay Rays
Charley Pride Texas Rangers
Harold Gould Toronto Blue Jays
Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Washington Nationals






John Donaldson, LHP

DonaldsonJohn01John Wesley Donaldson was born on February 20, 1891, in Glasgow, Missouri. Between 1908 and 1940, The left-handed pitcher amassed a won-loss record of at least 360 and 141, with about 4,500 strikeouts. He has been credited with 11 no-hitters, one perfect game, dozens of one-hitters, and at least 86 shutouts. And he batted around .334.

Donaldson began his playing career with his hometown Hannaca Blues and the nearby Missouri Black Tigers in Higbee, MO. In 1911, he joined the Tennessee Rats of Holden, MO. He reportedly had a record of 44-3 that year. Next, Donaldson went to Des Moines, IA, to pitch for the All Nations team for a salary of $150 per month. This barnstorming played teams throughout the Midwest.

Between 1915 and 1919, Donaldson played with teams from Iowa to Florida, including the Indianapolis ABCs, the Brooklyn Royal Giants, the Detroit Stars, and the Chicago American Giants. In 1920, with the creation of the Negro National League, Donaldson joined the Kansas City Monarchs. He was with the Monarchs from 1920 to 1923, while continuing to pitch for All Nations part-time. Donaldson continued to play semi-pro ball throughout the 1920s and 1930s, perhaps into the 1940s. Researchers have uncovered records of him playing in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Saskatchewan.

Donaldson is the greatest pitcher you never heard of. In 1913, he pitched three consecutive no-hitters. Let that sink in for a little bit: Three. Consecutive. No-hitters. Over the course of his career, he had two 30 strikeout games, 11 games with more than 25 strikeouts, 30 games with more than 20 strikeouts, 109 games with more than 15 strikeouts, and a total of 203 double digit strikeout games. And counting.

Why “and counting”? Because researchers haven’t uncovered everything there is to know about Mr. Donaldson. Donaldson is from that unique period in time which baseball historians haven’t completely recorded and Donaldson was black, so the barnstorming teams he played for in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, weren’t always well organized, nor do complete records exist.

That’s where the Donaldson Network comes in – tune in for Monday’s post on this group of researchers keeping the memory of John Donaldson alive. In the meantime, enjoy the footage below of John Donaldson in action in 1925 in Fergus Falls, MN.

~ baseballrebecca



Willard Brown in the Hall of Fame

Brown Willard Plaque_NBL_0
Image courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

While researching Willard Brown‘s story, I ran across the video below from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. According to the Hall of Fame,

“Willard Brown regularly posted batting averages well above .300, helping the Kansas City Monarchs win six pennants between 1937-46. The slugging outfielder played in eight East-West All-Star Games, lost two years to army service during World War II and had a brief stint with the St. Louis Browns in 1947. A star in the Puerto Rico Winter League in the 1940s and ’50s, Brown captured a pair of Triple Crowns, topped the .400-mark twice and earned the nickname Ese Hombre (The Man). He finished his career with five seasons in the Minor Leagues, bashing 35 home runs in the Texas League in 1954.”


~ baseballrebecca

Willard “Home Run” Brown

Photo courtesy of Kansas State University

He may not be a household name, but Willard “Home Run” Brown was only the fourth black player to play in the major leagues. He made his major league debut on July 19, 1947, with the St. Louis Browns, two days after Hank Thompson became the first black player with the Browns. Unfortunately, Home Run Brown played only 21 games in the majors before returning to the Negro Leagues. His only MLB home run was an inside-the-park home run on August 13, 1947, against Detroit. Both Willard Brown and Hank Thompson were released by St. Louis on August 23.

Born in Shreveport, LA, on June 26, 1915, Willard Jessie Brown was born for baseball. In the 1920s, he was a bat boy for the Kansas City Monarchs during their spring training games in Shreveport. In 1934, at the age of 19, he joined the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League where he earned $8 per week as a shortstop and pitcher. The following spring, Brown was playing with the Shreveport Acme Giants when the owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, J.L. Wilkinson, noticed him and Buck O’Neil. Wilkinson signed both O’Neil and Brown to play for the Monarchs that season.

St Louis Browns Players and Manager
Photo courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

Brown played for the Kansas City Monarchs from 1935 to 1949, and also played for the 1941 Veracruz Aguila in the Mexican League and participated in the Puerto Rican Winter League from 1947 to 1950. His career batting average with the Monarchs was .337. After leaving the Monarchs, Brown played for the 1950 Ottawa Nationals in the Class C Border League; the 1951 Jalisco Charros and 1951 Nuevo Laredo Tecolotes of the Mexican League; the Texas League’s 1953-54 Dallas Eagles, 1954-55 Houston Buffaloes, 1956 Austin Senators, 1956 San Antonio Missions, and 1956 Tulsa Oilers; and the 1956 Topeka Hawks of the Western League. He also served in the U.S. Army in 1944.

The details of Brown’s life and baseball career are at times contradictory if you read the various sources closely. Such is the case with many Negro League and Mexican League records. He died in a Veteran’s Administration hospital on August 4, 1996, in Houston, TX, at the age of 81. Ten years later he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame with other Negro League players in the special election class of 2006.

~ baseballrebecca