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Bailey Thomas Player

baseball and basketball player, was born in New York City. Jenkins began playing baseball and basketball at a young age and exhibited exceptional talents in each. As a baseball player he was a left-handed outfielder who could cover much ground in the field and hit for average at the plate. As a basketball player he was a commanding point guard whose speed and ball-handling skills translated into dazzling fast breaks and easy lay-ups.

His professional baseball career began first. In 1920 he was signed by the New York Lincoln Giants at the age of twenty-two. No statistics were kept in these beginnings of organized Negro League baseball, but when Jenkins was traded to the Harrisburg Giants in 1923, records show that he hit a .319 average in 1924 and .307 in 1925.

Fats Jenkins was perhaps even better at basketball than baseball. Along with Caribbean-born manager Bob ...