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

More About “A Long Way from Home”

The director of “A Long Way from Home: the Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation” has informed me that the film will be on TV One’s On Demand channel through the end of the month. There also will be screenings at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City (on 2/25) and the San Francisco Public Library (on 2/27).

It really is an awesome documentary! You can get more info at:

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







The Donaldson Project

DonaldsonJohn01A baseball historian in Minnesota heard stories of baseball legend. After visiting the local historical society in Bertha, MN, that historian, Pete Groton, found proof of the player’s popularity in an advertisement from around the 1920s that read: “John Donaldson; Greatest Colored Pitcher in the World.” In order to find more information on Donaldson, Groton founded the Donaldson Network of researchers. By 2008, there was a network of about 500 research across the country digging through newspapers, archives, and old photos to recreate Donaldson’s career. According to the Network’s website:

“Our wish is that Mr. Donaldson will someday be properly inducted (and not “allowed”) into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but that can’t be our final goal. The real goal must be to unearth as much information about Donaldson, and then try to tell the story from there. Each box score and article turn over a new page, and often open up another missing day (or, as we’ve found, dozens of missing days). It would be impossible for any one person to finish this task, alone, in one lifetime.”

The Donaldson Network received the John Coates Next Generation Award for exemplary research from SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee in 2008. In 2011, Pete Groton was honored in 2011 by the Society of American Baseball Research Negro Leagues Committee with the Tweed Webb Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts. They also have a pretty cool store on Zazzle.

~ baseballrebecca


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