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Leslie Heaphy

infielder for the Kansas City Monarchs Negro Leagues baseball team, was born Newton Henry Allen in Austin, Texas. The names and occupations of his parents are unknown. Allen attended Lincoln High School, Kansas City, Missouri, and played ball for the Kansas City Tigers while still in school, before leaving to play for the Omaha Federals in 1921. While handling the middle of the infield for the Federals, Monarchs owner J. L. Wilkinson saw the youngster play and signed him to his All-Nations ball club. After only one season with the All-Nations, Allen was promoted to the Monarchs in 1923.

Allen played for twenty-three seasons in the Negro Leagues. Most of his playing time was spent at either second base or shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the original teams in the Negro National League established in 1920 In addition to playing for Kansas City Allen ...

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Larry R. Gerlach

baseball umpire, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Littleton Ashford, a truck driver, and Adele Bain. Ashford was two or three years old when his father abandoned the family, so he grew up under the strong influence of his mother, a secretary for the California Eagle, an African American newspaper published in Los Angeles. As a youth, Ashford exhibited the traits that marked him in adult life as a gregarious extrovert. At Jefferson High School he was a sprinter on the track team, a member of the scholastic honor society, and the first African American to serve as president of the student body and as editor of the school newspaper. He graduated from Los Angeles City College and attended Chapman College in nearby Orange from 1940 to 1941. From 1944 until 1947 he served in the U.S. Navy.

Ashford began his umpiring career ...

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Brian Turner

the first African American to integrate baseball, was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the second son of Nelson Askin and Sarah Lloyd. In 1844 Nelson Askin moved to Florence, a mill village in Northampton, Massachusetts, to open a livery. Across the road was the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian community whose ideals and practices ensured an integrated membership. Although the association disbanded in 1846, many members stayed in Florence, including Sojourner Truth and David Ruggles; their influence marked the village as a “sanctuary” for all, regardless of religion, class, or race. But in 1849, when Sarah Askin arrived in Florence with her six children, Nelson had already sold off parts of his property, and shortly thereafter the livery was seized by creditors. By 1850 Nelson had abandoned Sarah From then on Sarah took in washing to support her children who at the earliest ...

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John Herschel Barnhill

right-handed baseball pitcher and occasional outfielder, was born in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Details of his parents’ names and occupations, and his own experiences before baseball, are not known.

Nicknamed the Black Diamond and the Georgia Rabbit, Ball was 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. He ranked with Rube Foster, Harry Buckner, and Dan McClellan as one of the outstanding pitchers in black baseball. He was a shrewd, control pitcher, not overpowering but adept with the spitball. In many seasons, he won over twenty games, averaged more than one strikeout per inning, and held his earned run average below 2.00.

At first he played for otherwise all-white amateur or semipro teams in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His first win was in 1896 by a score of 26 to 25 In his first North Dakota season he won 25 of 28 ...

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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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Byron Motley

baseball player-manager, was the eldest of five Negro Baseball League playing brothers born to Garnett Bankhead, a coal miner, and Ara Armstrong, a housewife, in Empire, Alabama. Before becoming one of the Negro Leagues' most popular players, Samuel “Sam” Howard Bankhead spent his youth playing in sandlots around his hometown when he wasn't working the coal mines. In 1929, his professional baseball-playing days began with the Birmingham Black Barons, but he would move from team to team.

A five tool ballplayer Bankhead s Negro League Baseball career spanned two decades The five foot eight inch 175 pound dynamo consistently hit for average hit with power possessed a rifle like throwing arm excelled at fielding and was a leading base stealer throughout the 1930s and 1940s His lifetime batting average of 318 and versatile abilities earned him seven East West All Star berths at five different positions ...

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Byron Motley

baseball player, was born in Greenville, North Carolina. As a teenager working in the tobacco fields he honed his skills as a pitcher. His first exposure to professional baseball came in 1936 when the manager of the visiting Wilson Stars from Wilson, North Carolina, spotted his burgeoning talent. After the team manager promised Barnhill's mother a dollar a day for her son's pitching duties, she consented to let her son join the team.

Barnhill barnstormed for two years with several independent teams. In 1938 he began his first of twelve Negro League seasons by joining the Jacksonville Red Caps. The following year, with the Ethiopian Clowns, Barnhill took part in the team's minstrel sideshows. Earning the nickname “Impo,” Barnhill cut up with his teammates in clown makeup and wild wigs while performing comic displays to delighted fans.

In the winter of 1940–1941 Barnhill pitched in the Puerto Rican ...

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Paul S. Boyer and Ronald Story

Americans had played bat-and-ball games for decades when, in 1845, Alexander Cartwright of New York devised the rules—foul lines, nine innings, three outs, ninety-foot basepaths—that created modern baseball. Cartwright's game quickly became popular with young clerks and urban craftsmen. By 1860, baseball had spread throughout the Northeast, and by 1870 to the rest of the nation.

The first teams were amateur, organized by men's clubs, the games ending with dinner and drinks. Some players earned good money from ambitious clubs, which charged admission in order to pay the players. The first wholly professional team was the Cincinnati (Ohio) Red Stockings of 1869, whose manager, Harry Wright, hired every player. Taking advantage of the burgeoning railroad system to tour the country, they challenged and defeated all teams they faced that year. In 1876, entrepreneurs formed the National League (NL), with salaried players and profit-seeking owners.

Baseball ...

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Stephen Eschenbach

politician, journalist, and Negro League professional baseball pitcher, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, one of four children. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was a nurse. His mother wanted him to pursue medicine, but Brown was interested in sports and studying social problems. After preparing at Howard Academy in Washington, D.C., Brown went to Harvard.

Brown majored in economics but also played baseball, lettering as a left-handed pitcher. He worked his way through Harvard as a janitor and waiter. During summer breaks he was a Red Cap at Grand Central Station in New York, and also played in the Negro Leagues. In 1923 and 1924 he pitched for the New York Lincoln Giants Interestingly Harvard usually aggressive about enforcing early NCAA rules barring athletes from playing professional sports apparently did not punish Brown when he played in the professional ranks before returning to the Harvard baseball ...

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Byron Motley

baseball player-manager, was the youngest of two children born to Charlie Brown and Viola Brannon in Pratt City, Alabama. Little is known about Larry's father, a man of mixed race with whom he had little to no relationship. His mother, a domestic worker, was his rock. Upon her death in 1918 thirteen-year-old Brown was left to raise himself and found employment with a local meat-packing company. The youngster began playing with the company's all-black team and soon found the baseball diamond to be his refuge.

At age seventeen Brown began barnstorming with the Knoxville Giants and later with the Pittsburgh Keystones. His official rookie season in the Negro Leagues was in 1923 when he joined the Indianapolis ABCs. On 28 May 1923 after only nine games he was released because of poor performance A few weeks later Brown found himself in a Memphis Red Sox uniform and although ...

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Ronald Young

baseball player known as Willard “Home Run” Brown, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Manuel and Allie Brown.

As a youngster, Brown sometimes worked as a batboy for the Kansas City Monarchs, the renowned Negro League baseball team that held its spring training in Shreveport. In 1934, Brown signed his first professional contract to pitch and play shortstop with the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League. Brown earned $8 per week.

After one season with Monroe, Brown joined the Kansas City Monarchs for the 1935 season. The Monarchs, one of the leading black ball clubs of the era, paid him a $250 signing bonus, a $125 per month salary, and $1 per day for meals. He soon developed into one of the team's star players. During the 1936 season Brown was selected to play in the East West All Star game an honor he ...

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David Bernstein

baseball player and manager, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Tom Charleston, a construction worker, and Mary Thomas. The seventh of eleven children, he served as a batboy for a local professional team before enlisting in the army at age fifteen. While stationed in the Philippines with the black Twenty-fourth Infantry, Charleston honed his athletic skills in track and baseball, becoming the only African American player in the Manila baseball league in 1914. Following his army discharge a year later, he joined the Indianapolis ABCs at a salary of $50 per month. The American Brewing Company sponsored the ABCs, but C. I. Taylor, Negro League pioneer, directed day-to-day operations.

Charleston nicknamed Charlie was a five foot eleven inch 185 pound center fielder who batted and threw left handed Described as barrel chested he would have difficulty maintaining his weight as his career progressed He played a ...

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Byron Motley

baseball player, was the second child born to John Henry Crutchfield, a coalminer, and Carrie Kirby, a housewife, in Ardmore, Missouri. After spending his formative years and briefly going to college in his hometown of Moberly, Missouri, Crutchfield began a fifteen-year career in the Negro Leagues, beginning with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1930. In his first league game, the diminutive 5'7”, 155-pound outfielder homered, giving pitcher Satchel Paige the win and earning himself a spot in the daily lineup.

After briefly playing with the Indianapolis ABCs for the 1931 season, Crutchfield jumped to the Pittsburgh Crawfords for the 1932 campaign, earning $150.00 a month and playing alongside the finest Negro League outfielders of the day, including Cool Papa Bell and Ted Strong. To supplement his baseball salary, Crutchfield also worked as a hotel bellhop and shined shoes.

Overshadowed by a powerhouse lineup that included ...

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John B. Holway

baseball player, was born Raymond Emmitt Dandridge in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Archie Dandridge, a cigarette factory worker, and Alberta Thompson. The family moved to Buffalo, New York, when Ray was ten years of age. There he participated in various sports, including Golden Glove boxing and high school football. The latter sport led to a knee injury that plagued him in his later career. At age twenty he played for the Richmond Paramount Giants against the Detroit Stars of the Negro National League. The Paramount Giants gave his father $25, and Ray, packing a straw suitcase, boarded the bus to play against the Stars. He hit only .211 as a rookie in the Negro National League, and at season's end, he said, the team had to pawn its bus to raise the money to send him home.

Moving to the Newark Dodgers in 1934 Dandridge concentrated ...

Article

Larry Lester

baseball player, was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Ellis Day, a glass factory worker, and Hattie Leet. Leon grew up in the Mount Winans district of Baltimore and finished the tenth grade before dropping out of school. As a youth, he was a fan of the Baltimore Black Sox of the Eastern Colored League, where he met his idol and future teacher, the pitcher Lamon Yokeley. Day's baseball career began in 1934 with the local semipro Silver Moons. A right-handed pitcher, he used a deceptive no-windup delivery to fire off sneaky fastballs and roundhouse curves. He became known as an excellent fielding pitcher and an above-average hitter, and he sometimes played the field so that his bat would remain in the lineup. He quickly caught the attention of the Baltimore Black Sox player-manager Herbert “Rap” Dixon and finished the season with the team earning ...

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Larry Lester

baseball player and manager, was born in Topeka, Kansas. His parents’ full names and occupations are unknown and little is known about his childhood, though according to a 1910 census, De Moss was living at home with his mother, Eley, a widow. In 1905 he began his baseball career as a shortstop with the Topeka Giants. Although his speed allowed him to cover extensive ground, an injured arm that year from a brief outing as a pitcher caused him to switch to second base. He is generally recognized as the best second baseman in black baseball prior to the formation of the Negro National League in 1920.

De Moss made appearances with strong independent teams such as the Kansas City (Kansas) Giants from 1910 to 1912, the French Lick (Ind.) Plutos from 1913 to 1914, the Saint Louis Giants in 1913 the West Baden Ind ...

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Todd Bolton

baseball player, was born in Matanzas, Cuba. Little is known about his parents or his early life. Dihigo's professional baseball career began in 1922 with the Havana Reds when he was just seventeen years old. The following year he made his first trip to the United States to play in the inaugural season of the Eastern Colored League. He was signed by Alejandro Pompez, owner of the Cuban Stars, one of six teams in the new league. Playing initially as a middle infielder, at second base and shortstop, he was immediately recognized by his peers for his skill, ability, and grace on the field. He developed quickly as a hitter. Dihigo returned to the United States each summer to play Negro League baseball. He remained with the Cuban Stars through the 1927 season. In 1926 he led the Eastern Colored League in home runs while posting a ...

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Jason Philip Miller

Negro League baseball player and manager, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Little information is available about his upbringing or early years. It appears he attended college, though where exactly he did so is not clear.

Dismukes's long baseball career as a pitcher appears to have begun with the East St. Louis Imperials in 1908. He went on to play with a number of minor teams over the next few years: the Indianapolis ABCs (1909); the St. Louis Giants (1912); the Philadelphia Giants (1913); and the Brooklyn Royal Giants (1914). That year, he ended the season on the mound in an ultimately unsuccessful playoff series against Rube Foster's storied Chicago American Giants.

After the 1914 season, Dismukes returned to the ABCs, which had recently been bought by C. I. Taylor. Taylor's team would go on to achieve a ...

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Samuel W. Black

athlete and physical director, was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, one of eight children of Allen Dorsey, a shipping clerk, and Mary C. Sparksman. Allegheny City was later incorporated as part of Pittsburgh's north side. The five Dorsey brothers would all earn reputations as accomplished athletes in Pittsburgh's sporting community in the early twentieth century.

As a child Dorsey showed an interest in sports while watching students play basketball in the basement gym of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After the death of his father in 1905, he went to work to help support his family. The following year, while working as a janitor on a north side estate, he secretly opened the estate gymnasium for pickup basketball games and soon organized a team with practices held on Sundays. Two of the players who attended were the future Homestead Grays baseball legends Cum Posey and Sellers ...

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Gregory Travis Bond

football and baseball player, was born in Botentourt County, Virginia, to James Follis, a laborer and farmer, and Catharine Follis, a laundress. By 1888 the family had moved to Wooster, Ohio, and Follis entered that city's integrated public schools. As a junior at Wooster High School in 1899, he helped organize the school's first varsity football team, and his teammates elected him captain. Follis was the squad's best player and led the team to an undefeated season. During the summer he played catcher for the Wooster Athletic Association (WAA) baseball team, and in 1900 he helped the WAA capture the championship of the semipro Ohio Trolley League.

After graduating from high school, Follis entered the college preparatory department of the nearby University of Wooster (later College of Wooster) in the spring of 1901 He immediately joined the university s varsity baseball team as the starting catcher ...