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Claude Johnson

was born George Daniel Crowe in Whiteland, Indiana, the fifth child of Morten and Tom Ann Crow. He was the fifth of ten children—eight boys and two girls. Crowe’s father, Morten, was a lifelong farm laborer for hire. His mother, Tom Ann, was a homemaker. Both parents were from Adair County, Kentucky. A left-hander who stood six feet four inches tall with a brawny build and exceptional athletic ability, Crowe earned the nickname “Big George.”

He attended Franklin High School in Franklin, Indiana, where in 1938 as a junior he became the school’s first ever African American varsity basketball player. In 1939 he led the Grizzly Cubs to the final game of the Indiana State High School Athletic Association Basketball Championship and was named to the All State team as a center In addition as the leading vote getter for Indiana s newly instituted high school basketball All Star ...

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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 ...

Article

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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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 ...

Article

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 ...