Stat-urday, 6/27/2020


Yesterday, I posted a video about Effa Manley, co-owner of the Newark Eagles. The Eagles won the Negro World Series in 1946, and included future Hall of Famers, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Biz Mackey, Mule Suttles, and Willie Wells.

Check out the team’s stats below, from Seamheads.com:

YearRankWinLossTieW%
19366273110.466
19372362220.621
19385243000.444
19392372110.638
193941300.250
19403262210.542
19413302510.545
19423363330.522
19433263200.448
19445323500.478
19453272500.519
19461562430.700
194614300.571
19472534210.558
19483333230.508

~ baseballrebecca

Who Were the Monrovians?


As I noted on Tuesday, the Wichita Monrovians, have become famous for beating a Ku Klux Klan team in June 1925. Unfortunately, little else is known about the team.

The Monrovians were an all-black baseball team owned by the Monrovian Park Association which also owned the team’s ballpark, Monrovian Park (also called Monrovian Amusement Park). The team was named after the capital of Liberia. Their ballpark was located near the corner of 12th and Mosley in Wichita. According to an article by Brian Carroll in The Baseball Research Journal, Monrovian Park opened on June 3, 1922, to much fanfare. Author Jason Pendleton noted, the team “appears to have become one of the leading social forces of Wichita’s small black community.”

Prior to joining the Western League of Professional Baseball Teams, the Monrovians were called the Black Wonders. The Western League began play in 1922 and consisted of teams from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Omaha, St. Joseph, Coffeyville, Independence, Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City. However, the league collapsed after their first and only season. Afterwards, the Monrovians returned to barnstorming throughout the state of Kansas eventually playing – and, more importantly, beating – the Ku Klux Klan in that famous game in June 1925. It has even become memorialized in song:

~ baseballrebecca

The Wichita Monrovians Defeat Hate in 1925


Every few years or so, the story of the Wichita Monrovians vs. the Ku Klux Klan is recounted. So, in keeping with my theme of eradicating racism from the past several weeks, I thought I’d share this today. On June 21, 1925, the Wichita Monrovians, a Negro League team, played a game against the Number 6 team of Wichita, Kansas, which was made up of members of the Ku Klux Klan. The Monrovians won the game, 10-8, making an important social statement. Let’s keep fighting for fairness and equality.

Check out the story Old-Time Baseball Photos posted on Facebook on Sunday to commemorate the event:

~ baseballrebecca

Best of the Week: 6/7/2020 – 6/13/2020


There is some good in this world – a Twitter campaign started by an artist has earned thousands of dollars for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:

Films on Friday: Visits to the NLBM


To close out African American History Month, check out the video below of the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum discussing players who have visited the museum:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Stat-urday, 2/22/2020


Forty-one Negro League players, managers, and executives are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Below is a list of all 41, including links to their Negro League and/or Major League stats.

Year  Name Voted by Birth-Death Role
1962 Jackie Robinson Baseball Writers Assn. of American (BBWAA) 1919-72 Player
1960 Roy Campanella BBWAA 1921-93 Player
1971 Satchel Paige Negro Leagues Committee (NLC) 1906-82 Player
1972 Buck Leonard NLC 1907-97 Player
1972 Josh Gibson NLC 1911-47 Player
1973 Monte Irvin NLC 1919-2016 Player
1974 Cool Papa Bell NLC 1903-91 Player
1975 Judy Johnson NLC 1899-1989 Player
1976 Oscar Charleston NLC 1896-1954 Player
1977 Martin Dihigo NLC 1905-71 Player
1977 Pop Lloyd NLC 1884-1964 Player
1977 Ernie Banks BBWAA 1931-2015 Player
1979 Willie Mays BBWAA 1931-51 Player
1981 Rube Foster Veterans Committee (VC) 1888-1976 Player/Manager/Executive
1982 Hank Aaron BBWAA 1934- Player
1987 Ray Dandridge VC 1913-94 Player
1995 Leon Day VC 1916-95 Player
1996 Willie Foster VC 1904-78 Player
1997 Willie Wells VC 1905-89 Player
1998 Larry Doby VC 1923-2003 Player
1998 Bullet Rogan VC 1893-1967 Player
1999 Smokey Joe Williams VC 1885-1951 Player
2000 Turkey Stearnes VC 1901-79 Player
2001 Hilton Smith VC 1907-83 Player
2006 Alex Pompez NLC 1890-1974 Pioneer/Executive
2006 Andy Cooper NLC 1898-1941 Player
2006 Ben Taylor NLC 1888-1953 Player
2006 Biz Mackey NLC 1897-1965 Player
2006 Cristobal Torriente NLC 1893-1938 Player
2006 Cum Posey NLC 1890-1946 Pioneer/Executive
2006 Effa Manley NLC 1897-1981 Pioneer/Executive
2006 Frank Grant NLC 1865-1937 Player
2006 J.L. Wilkinson NLC 1878-1964 Pioneer/Executive
2006 Jose Mendez NLC 1885-1928 Player
2006 Jud Wilson NLC 1896-1963 Player
2006 Louis Santop NLC 1889-1942 Player
2006 Mule Suttles NLC 1901-66 Player
2006 Pete Hill NLC 1882-1951 Player
2006 Ray Brown NLC 1908-65 Player
2006 Sol White NLC 1868-1955 Pioneer/Executive
2006 Willard Brown NLC 1915-96 Player

 

Laymon Yokely, the Mysterious Shadow


Laymon Yokely. Photograph courtesy of Baseball Reference.

One of the more interesting things about studying the Negro Leagues is that one thread leads to another and another and another and so on. However, the frustrating part is that often there is not a lot information about these threads. For example, when I was reading about Bert Simmons, I learned of Yokely’s All-Stars, the independent team Simmons played for after his time with the Baltimore Elite Giants.

So who were Yokely’s All-Stars? And who was Yokely, for that matter?

Laymon Samuel Yokely, sometimes referred to as Norman Yokely, was a star pitcher for the Baltimore Black Sox, who he played for from 1926 to 1933. During his time with the Black Sox, Yokely pitched six no-hitters, including one during the second game of a double-header after pitching game 1. In 1929, he won 17 games to help the Black Sox win the American Negro League pennant. Yokely was the ace of the team and was often pitched just to boost attendance. Even other players came to see him pitch. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Bert Simmons said of Yokely: “‘He was a legend. Anyone who had played ball in Baltimore would always come back to see Yokely. I was there one day when Roy Campanella, who had played for him, dropped in for a visit.’”

The Hardball Times wrote the following about Yokely, in a 2018 article about Leon Day:

“It came pretty easy to Laymon Yokely; rolling out of bed to pitch nine innings for a living. So easily, in fact, he probably could have just stayed there: the massive, six-and-a-half-foot tall hurler could often be found snoozing under the bench between innings, to the point that some believed he suffered from narcolepsy.
The pitching came easy. With a cracking whip of an arm motion, Yokely’s delivery started with his hand low behind his back, a move they say gave him an extra bit of hellfire on every heater. It was good enough to flummox the likes of Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Hack Wilson, and all of the legendary white players Yokely would occasionally face as a Negro Leagues pitcher for the Baltimore Black Sox from 1926-31.”

According to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s eMuseum, Yokely:

“was so popular with fans that he was called a matinee idol, and in 1926 he acquired the nicknames ‘Corner Pocket’ Yokely and ‘The Mysterious Shadow.’ A downside to his popularity was that because so many fans wanted to see him pitch, he may have been overworked, shortening his career. After a few seasons of throwing his fastball at too-frequent intervals, his arm started to go bad. Initially the problem was manifested by an inability to pitch complete games, but soon progressed to a point where he began to lose effectiveness. Beginning in 1930, his decline in effectiveness accelerated, and within two years his arm was so bad that he was benched.”

While benched, Yokely continued to play with the Baltimore Red Sox, a semi-pro team. He returned to the Black Sox in 1932. He went on to play for the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants (1932), the Philadelphia Stars (1934-37, 1939), the Washington Black Senators (1938), the Edgewater Giants (1940-43), and the Baltimore Elite Giants (1944).

In 1945, he established his own team, Yokely’s All-Stars, a barnstorming semi pro team. The All-Stars continued to operate until 1959. It was with Yokely’s team that Leon Day got his start in baseball.

Of course, now I need to learn more about teams like the Baltimore Red Sox and the Edgewater Giants… and maybe some day I’ll discover more information about The Mysterious Shadow.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Bert Simmons


IMG_4768Yesterday I wrote about the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball. Today, I write about Bert Simmons, himself.

Hubert Van Wyke Simmons was born on May 19, 1924, in Tarboro, North Carolina. He grew up watching the Tarboro Serpents of the Class-D Coastal Plain League. Unfortunately, the stadium was part of the segregated South. Simmons said that if you caught a foul ball outside the ballpark, they would let you in for free, but he had to sit in the segregated section. Later, the groundskeeper recognized Simmons’ interest in baseball and gave him a job shining baseball shoes and doing various cleaning jobs, which Simmons said, “‘allowed me to watch a whole lot of Class D ball’” and made him realize that he wanted to play professional baseball.

Since his high school did not have a baseball team, he played baseball with the local sandlot and Boy Scout teams as a teenager. After high school he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he also played for the semipro Raleigh Tigers. In 1943, he joined the Army, serving in the Quartermaster Corps in Europe. He arrived in Normandy in June 1944, 12 days after D-Day.

After the war, Simmons attended North Carolina A&T University, earning a degree in business administration in 1950. While at A&T, he was on the baseball team and made the all-conference team twice. The team won the championship three times. In 1978, he was inducted into the North Carolina A&T State University Sports Hall of Fame.

File:Hubert Simmons.jpg

Bert Simmons. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

During the summers, he played for the Greensboro Redwings and Asheville Blues of the Negro Southern League. While playing in Atlantic City for the Farley Stars (previously called the Bacharach Giants), Simmons was signed by the Baltimore Elite Giants for $200 a month. Of his salary he would later say, “‘It doesn’t sound like much, $200 a month. It’s ridiculous by today’s standards. But, you know, you played ball, you saw a little bit of the country, you figured you were living a pretty good life.’”

Simmons played for one season with the Elite Giants. However, when the moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1951, Simmons decided to stay in Baltimore. From 1951 to 1952, he played for the Yokely Stars, and independent Negro League team in Baltimore.

In 1952, Simmons retired from baseball. He worked for the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Postal Service before becoming a schoolteacher at Northwestern High School in Baltimore. He also coached Little League baseball and at the high school and college levels.

Simmons served on the Board of Directors of the Negro League Baseball Players Association; participated in events hosted by the Baltimore Orioles, including their annual FanFest; and founded the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Maryland, which was later renamed in his honor. In 2008, the Orioles selected him in the Negro Leagues Player Draft.

Bert Simmons passed away at the age of 85 on July 8, 2009. He was the last surviving member of the Baltimore Elite Giants.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball


IMG_4766This past weekend I made a pilgrimage to the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro Leagues Baseball. The Museum is located in the Owings Mills Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library in Owings Mills, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Simmons, a former Negro Leagues pitcher and outfielder, launched the idea in 2008.

By 2009, the Museum was opened in a temporary location in the annex of the Lochearn Presbyterian Church. In November 2013, the Baltimore County Executive announced that the Museum would be give a permanent location as part of the Owings Mills library. The Museum celebrated its grand opening in  2014.

Check out the pictures below, and if you’re ever in Maryland, check out the Museum!

~ baseballrebecca

IMG_4792