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Adam W. Green

baseball player and manager, was born Felipe Rojas Alou, in Haina, Dominican Republic, to Jose Rojas, a carpenter/blacksmith and grandson of a slave, and Virginia Alou, a homemaker and Caucasian daughter of a Spanish migrant. The second Dominican-born player in major league baseball, Alou was one of three baseball-playing brothers and became the first Dominican to manage in the big leagues.

Alou grew up with five younger siblings in a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot house his father had built in the village of Haina. For much of his childhood, food came from where Alou and his family could scavenge it: using bamboo poles and construction wire to fish in the Haina River or climbing coconut trees and scouring for other fruit. Baseball equipment was scarce in the poor village, and Alou and his brothers would play with lemons or coconut husks for balls and their hands for bats.

Alou traveled to ...

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Adam W. Green

baseball player, was born in Empire, Alabama, the third of five sons of Garnett Bankhead Sr., a coal miner, and Arie (Armstrong) Bankhead. Baseball was in the family blood: Garnett Bankhead was a power‐hitting first baseman in an Alabama industrial league, and all five Bankhead brothers played in the Negro Leagues, though Dan was the only one to play in the major leagues, becoming the first black pitcher in modern baseball history.

After attending various public schools in Birmingham, Alabama, Bankhead followed his two brothers Sam and Fred into the Negro Leagues, when he signed as a shortstop with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1940. He soon moved to the pitching mound, establishing himself with a dominant fastball and effective breaking ball; in 1941 he was named to the East West All Star Game hurling a pair of shutout innings That winter he played in the Puerto ...

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In June 1866 sailors from the United States who were importing Sugar from Cuba invited local Cuban dockworkers to play baseball. Thus began the Caribbean's initiation to the game, less than thirty years after its North American inception. In the few years that followed, baseball was pushed to the fore of Cuban consciousness by visiting North American businessmen, U.S. Marines, and wealthy Cuban students who had played at schools in the United States. By decade's end the development of a local talent pool was under way, and with the emerging political turmoil in the Caribbean around the turn of the century, both migrating Cubans and occupying Marines took the new pastime across the Caribbean basin.

At first baseball was played by Cuba s wealthy class lending it the exclusivity of polo cycling cricket soccer and other European sports that had taken root in the clubs of the Caribbean s urban ...

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Charles Orson Cook

Negro Leagues superstar and manager, with a career in professional baseball that spanned almost forty years and more than a dozen teams. Oscar Charleston was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 14 October 1896, and as a lad he was the batboy for the local Indianapolis ABCs, a Negro team. In 1910 he left home to join the army, at the age of fourteen. He was stationed in the Philippines, where he played baseball and ran track as a sprinter. Charleston was mustered out of the service and returned to his hometown in 1915 there he joined the ABCs where he established himself as a left handed power hitter and a southpaw outfielder of extraordinary speed and agility From his center field position Charleston claimed to be able to cover the entire outfield one unconfirmed account has it that his outfield teammates covered only foul territory allowing him to ...

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Joe Dorinson

baseball player and Hall of Famer, was born Lawrence Eugene Doby in Camden, South Carolina, the only child of David Doby and Etta Brooks. Abandoned by his father and left behind by his mother, who went north to look for a better life, he lived with his maternal grandmother and was known as Bubba Brooks for ten years. After his grandmother suffered a mental breakdown, he went to live with an Aunt Alice and Uncle James in 1934, at about which time he reclaimed his given name. Larry later remembered the four years that he spent with aunt and uncle, from 1934 to 1938, as the happiest of his young life.

At age fifteen, summoned by his mother, Doby arrived in Paterson, New Jersey, where he set the high school athletic world on fire with sparkling performances in baseball, football, basketball, and track. Like Monte Irvin ...

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Wesley Borucki

professional baseball player, coach, and manager. Larry Doby was born in Camden, South Carolina, to David Doby and Etta Doby (Brooks). He lived most of his youth in Camden with his maternal grandmother and an aunt and uncle.

Doby developed athletically in Paterson, New Jersey, where he joined his mother in 1938. He was an all-state athlete at Eastside High School. Doby played his first professional baseball game on 31 May 1942 with the Negro National League's Newark Eagles. In 1942–1943 he played basketball at Long Island and Virginia Union universities before conscription into the United States Navy. His fellow serviceman and Washington Senators all-star Mickey Vernon encouraged Doby to pursue professional baseball. Doby played second base for the Eagles, champion of the 1946 Negro World Series. That summer he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Curvy.

Doby played several successful exhibition games against ...

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Martha Ackmann

baseball player, was born Mamie Belton in Ridgeway, South Carolina, the daughter of Della Belton, a hospital dietician, and Gentry Harrison, a construction worker about whom little else is known. Mamie spent her early years in Ridgeway, where she attended Thorntree School, a two-room schoolhouse. Part of a large family that included twelve half brothers and half sisters, Mamie lived with her maternal grandmother, Cendonia Belton, while her mother worked in Washington, D.C. Mamie's uncle, Leo “Bones” Belton, was so close to her in age that she regarded him more as a brother than as an uncle. Belton introduced her to baseball. Along with other children in the area, “Bones” and Mamie played baseball on a makeshift diamond, with a lid from a bucket of King Cane sugar serving as home plate and baseballs made of rocks wrapped in tape.

After her grandmother s death ...

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Negro League baseball player and manager, was born in Whitehall, Louisiana, the youngest of the eleven children of Martha, a midwife, and Henry Louis Malarcher, a plantation worker. His mother had been a slave in Louisiana prior to the Civil War. Malarcher's family emphasized religious and educational training. His grandparents were founding members of the local black church and his family relocated in order to increase the educational opportunities for their children. As a young boy, Malarcher attended a country school in Union, Louisiana, and played on a local black youth baseball team known as the Baby T's. From 1907 until 1916 Malarcher attended New Orleans University (later Dillard University). There he starred on and served as a coach of the school baseball team, which went undefeated from 1913 until 1916.

Malarcher s stint at New Orleans University was productive both personally and professionally While there ...

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J. Todd Moye

Negro League baseball player, coach, and manager, was born John Jordan O'Neil Jr. to John Jordan O'Neil Sr., a farm and sawmill laborer and small-business owner, and Luella O'Neil, a homemaker and cook, in Carrabelle, Florida. O'Neil realized early on that his baseball talents could earn him a ticket out of the area's celery fields, and he began playing semipro ball at the age of twelve. He received his nickname through a case of mistaken identity in his twenties. A bootlegger named “Buck” O'Neal owned the all-black Miami Giants. When O'Neil left Florida to play on national barnstorming teams he was billed as “Buck”—perhaps as a result of innocent confusion, but more likely in an effort to capitalize on O'Neal's name recognition—and the moniker stuck.

O Neil attended segregated public schools in Sarasota Florida and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville He left college before earning ...

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John B. Holway

Negro League baseball player, was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of French Poles, a laborer, and Matilda (maiden name unknown). “I played baseball since I was six years old, using a broomstick and a tennis ball,” Poles once reminisced. At age fifteen he was playing for the Hello Bill boys' club, graduating to the Springdale Athletic Club. In 1906 he joined the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Colored Giants. “I looked like my name,” he said, “a bean pole.”

He joined the illustrious New York Lincoln Giants as an outfielder in 1909. With the Hall of Fame shortstop John Henry Lloyd, the pitchers Joe Williams and Dick Redding, the catcher Louis Santop, and Poles, the team was one of the best in black baseball history. They claimed a record of 105 wins and only seventeen losses in 1909 Although most of their opponents were semiprofessional teams ...

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Adam W. Green

baseball player, was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of nine children of William Puckett, a department store and postal worker, and Catherine Puckett, a homemaker. Growing up in the crime-ridden Robert Taylor Homes projects, Puckett taught himself baseball fundamentals at an early age, throwing sock balls at a chalk strike zone on building walls. As a third baseman at Calumet High, he lifted weights to compensate for his diminutive (five-foot, eight-inch) stature.

After receiving little collegiate attention his senior year, Puckett worked on a Ford assembly line following graduation in 1979 at the age of 19 Noticed by a college coach at a free agent tryout Puckett was offered a scholarship to Bradley University Though small and round the atypical body for a centerfielder let alone leading base stealer the speedy Puckett moved to center field and led the ...

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Wesley Borucki

baseball player, administrator, and owner. Born in Stockdale, Ohio, Rickey was the second son of Frank and Sallie Rickey. His Methodist upbringing on the family farm during the depression of the 1890s gave him uncompromising beliefs in social justice.

Rickey loved baseball from his youth, catching on a Lucasville, Ohio, recreational team. He became a star student and athlete at Ohio Wesleyan University. Rendered ineligible for intercollegiate competition because of semiprofessional play after his freshman year, he was regarded highly enough by Ohio Wesleyan's administration to be appointed head baseball coach. He stood firm when the University of Kentucky threatened to cancel a game if Rickey played his black first baseman Charles Thomas. Kentucky's coach backed down. Rickey defied a hotel that would have barred Thomas when Ohio Wesleyan visited Notre Dame.

In September 1904 the Cincinnati Reds acquired Rickey but the team soon ...

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Paul Finkelman

the first African American to play professional baseball in the modern major leagues. He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946 and played that year for their top-rated farm team, the Montreal Royals, in the International League. On Opening Day in 1947, Robinson officially broke the color line in baseball as the starting first baseman for the Dodgers. Robinson would play for ten years, garnering numerous awards, starting with Rookie of the Year in 1947. In 1962, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. In 1997, on the fiftieth anniversary of his first game, Major League Baseball permanently retired his uniform number, 42. After leaving baseball, Robinson was active in business, politics, and civil rights.

Robinson was born near Cairo, Georgia. His father, Jerry Robinson a sharecropper left the family when Robinson was seven months old ...

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Lou Manzo

Negro League baseball player and soldier, was born in West New York, New Jersey. Seay's family was the only black family in the community, and Seay was accidentally marked as white on his birth certificate. He worked as a batboy with local New York baseball clubs and quit high school after one year to pursue a career in the game.

In 1924 he broke into Negro League baseball with the Philadelphia Giants. He would play only one season there before signing in 1925 with both the Pennsylvania Red Caps of New York and the Brooklyn Royal Giants. Both were lower-echelon Negro League teams, and neither played full seasons. In 1926 Seay signed with the Baltimore Black Sox of the Eastern Colored League, which competed for the Negro League World Series. Seay and the team struggled in 1926 He played shortstop hitting 160 and the Black Sox finished the ...

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Adam W. Green

baseball player, was born Osborne Earl Smith in Mobile, Alabama, to Clovis Smith, a truck driver, and Marvella Smith, a homemaker. When Ozzie was six, his parents moved with their five children to the Watts section of Los Angeles. Smith took up baseball at a young age, and rarely went anywhere without a ball in his hands. Developing his hand-eye coordination by spending hours fielding a rubber ball thrown against his house, Smith eventually played shortstop at Locke High School, which he entered in the fall of 1969. His small frame kept him from being noticed by baseball scouts, many of whom were interested in Smith's teammate and future Hall-of-Famer Eddie Murray.

Graduating from high school in 1973 Smith enrolled that fall at California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo on a government grant and made the baseball team as a walk on ...

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Stephen Eschenbach

Negro League baseball player, first player to integrate the St. Louis Browns, and second player to integrate the American League, was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the son of Ollie Thompson, a railroad worker, and Iona Thompson a cook and domestic His parents separated when Hank was five or six and he reacted by playing baseball constantly even skipping school to do so This practice caught up with him when at age eleven he was arrested for truancy and sent for six months to Gatesville Reform School near Dallas Texas It was here that Thompson played on his first organized team Released after a year Thompson lived for a brief period with his father then went back to his mother but he did not go to school Instead he hung out at the Texas League Dallas Steers ballpark eventually getting the job of throwing batting practice and shagging ...

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David A. Joens

, educator, athlete, and politician, was born in Alton, Illinois, the fourth of seven children raised by Jesse White, the owner of a janitorial service, and Julia Mae White, a-homemaker. In 1943 White's family moved to Chicago, where he attended Schiller Elementary School and Waller High School (later Lincoln Park Academy). A star athlete in high school, White earned all-city honors in both basketball and baseball. He attended Alabama State College (now Alabama State University) on a scholarship and earned all-conference honors in both sports. After graduating from Alabama State with a degree in Physical Education, White signed a contract to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs organization. Shortly after the contract was signed, the U.S. Army drafted him. White spent two years in-the army (1957–1959), serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division.

In 1959 he received an honorable discharge from the army ...