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John B. Holway

Negro League baseball player, was born Norman Stearnes in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Will S. Stearnes and Mary Everett. Although his daughter once said that he acquired his nickname because he flapped his elbows when he ran, Stearnes believed a protruding stomach during childhood was the reason. One of five children, he pitched for Pearl High School until “around 15 or 16 years old,” when his father died. He then worked at any job he could find, including slopping pigs, driving wagons, delivering groceries, and general cleaning.

In 1921 Stearnes played professionally with the Montgomery Alabama Gray Sox in the Negro Southern League a sort of black minor league After playing for a year in Memphis Tennessee he was picked up by the Detroit Stars of the Negro National League one of the two major black leagues The Stars players worked in an automobile factory when ...


Shterna Gurkow

was born John Arthur Taylor, Jr. in Hartford, Connecticut to John Arthur Taylor, Sr. and Etta Taylor. John Arthur, Sr., a Virginia-born lather in the building trades, came from a large accomplished family of ten children, most of whom excelled in the arts. His mother, Etta, grew up in South Carolina.

Johnny, as the younger Taylor was best known, started his pitching career in Hartford’s Junior League with The Hornets in 1931; however, he later joined the track team at the city’s Bulkeley High School, where he took part in the high jump and pole vault competitions. In his senior year Taylor switched back to baseball under the tutelage of coach Babe Allen. On 2 June 1933 Taylor was pitching perhaps the most famous game of his high school career in which he struck out twenty five batters in nine innings while only giving up one hit In ...