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Peter Valenti

baseball player and executive, was born Henry Aaron in the Down the Bay section of Mobile, Alabama, the third of eight children of Herbert Aaron and Estella (maiden name unknown). His parents had left the Selma, Alabama, area during the Depression for greater opportunity in Mobile's shipbuilding industries. In 1942, as the family grew and Down the Bay became more crowded with wartime job seekers, the Aarons moved to a rural suburb of Toulminville. Working as a boilermaker's apprentice, Herbert Aaron suffered through the frequent layoffs that plagued black shipyard workers before wartime demand dictated full employment. Ever resourceful, Herbert Aaron bought two lots in Toulminville, hired carpenters to frame out the roof and walls of a house, and set about with his family to find materials to finish the property. The Aarons continued to live in the house even as Henry achieved superstardom.

Making balls from such scavenged ...

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Paul Finkelman

baseball player, baseball executive, civil rights advocate, and businessman. Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Herbert and Estella Aaron. He was a member of the second generation of black baseball players to enter the major leagues following Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color line in professional baseball in 1947. Aaron began playing for the Milwaukee Braves in 1954; at about the same time Willie Mays joined the New York Giants and Ernie Banks joined the Chicago Cubs. They were among the last black players who began their careers in the Negro Leagues. In 1974 Aaron broke Babe Ruth's lifetime home run record of 714. When he retired from baseball in 1976 after twenty three seasons Aaron held the career records for most home runs 755 most runs batted in 2 297 most total bases ...

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Alonford James Robinson

The third of eight children, Henry Louis Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama, to Estella and Herbert Aaron. His first experience with professional baseball came in the Negro Leagues, as he moved up through the ranks with the Pritchett Athletics, the Mobile Black Bears, and the Indianapolis Clowns. In 1952, the Boston Braves of the newly integrated major leagues signed Aaron to play shortstop in their farm system. Moving from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to Jacksonville, Florida, Aaron made it to the majors in 1954, playing for the Milwaukee Braves (now the Atlanta Braves).

Aaron is considered by some to be the best baseball player in history. Over his twenty-three-year major league career, Aaron compiled more batting records than any other player in baseball history. He holds the record for runs batted in (RBIs) with 2,297, and was a Gold Glove Winner in 1958, 1959 ...

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Gerald Early

Curt Flood was the youngest of six children born to Herman and Laura Flood. The family moved From Houston, Texas, to Oakland, California in 1940. His success as a high school athlete led the Cincinnati Reds to sign him in 1956. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957.

The Cardinals flourished in the mid-1960s, playing in the World's Series in 1964, 1967, and 1968. In October 1969 after a disappointing season for the Cardinals Flood who had been the starting centerfielder for the team for twelve years was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies Flood shocked and disappointed by the trade refused to accept it He decided to sue team owners over the reserve clause in contracts which prevented Flood from being able to negotiate with any team he wished who might desire his services The Players Association the ballplayers ...

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Gerald Early

baseball player and artist, was born Curtis Charles Flood in Houston, Texas, the youngest of six children of Herman and Laura Flood. In 1940 the family moved to Oakland, California. Flood's older brother, Carl, who had trouble with the law from childhood, slipped into a life of crime. Flood, however, began playing midget-league baseball at the age of nine. George Powles coached the team and produced, besides Curt Flood, such players as Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Joe Morgan, and Jesse Gonder. The other factor that kept Flood out of trouble was encountering Jim Chambers who encouraged his interest and development as an artist at Herbert Hoover High School in Oakland Flood played baseball throughout his teenage years and became a promising athlete However he was small weighing barely one hundred forty pounds and standing only five feet seven inches tall as a senior in ...

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John B. Holway

Foster, Rube (17 September 1879–09 December 1930), baseball player and executive, was born Andrew Foster in Calvert, Texas, the son of the Reverend Andrew Foster, presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal churches in southern Texas. His mother’s name is unknown. At age seventeen the six-footer pitched batting practice against white major league clubs doing spring training in Fort Worth, Texas. Foster played with the black Leland Giants of Chicago. In 1902 he joined the Cuban Giants, actually a misnamed Philadelphia team of American blacks. He recalled pitching for $40 a month, plus fifteen cents for meals, and confidently called himself “the best pitcher in the country.” He reportedly won his nickname, Rube, by defeating the Philadelphia Athletics pitching ace Rube Waddell, probably in 1902, when he ranked among the best pitchers, black or white, in America.

John McGraw manager of the New York Giants ...

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Gerald Early

Rube Foster was born Andrew Foster in Calvert, Texas, the fifth child of the Reverend Andrew Foster, presiding elder of the American Episcopal Church of Calvert, and his wife. Growing up in a post-Reconstruction world of strictly enforced racial segregation backed by white terrorist violence, Andrew attended the segregated school in Calvert. As a boy Andrew had a knack for baseball, the most popular sport in America at the time. His father, a devout churchman, tried to discourage him from playing, but he persisted and even organized a team while he was still in grade school. Indeed, he was so drawn to the game that he quit school after the eighth grade to pursue baseball as a career.

Foster began pitching for the Waco Yellow Jackets, becoming a star pitcher by the time he was eighteen. By 1902 he had a reputation for being a tough pitcher ...

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Gerald Early

baseball player, manager, and entrepreneur, was born Andrew Foster in Calvert, Texas, the fifth child of Sarah (maiden name unknown) and the Reverend Andrew Foster, presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Calvert. Growing up in a post-Reconstruction world of strictly enforced racial segregation backed by white terrorist violence, Andrew attended the segregated school in Calvert. As a boy Andrew had a knack for baseball, the most popular sport in America at the time. His father, a devout churchman, tried to discourage him from playing, but young Andrew persisted and even organized a team while he was still in grade school. Indeed, Andrew was so drawn to the game that he quit school after the eighth grade to pursue baseball as a career.

Foster started pitching for the Waco Yellow Jackets, becoming a star pitcher by the time he was eighteen. By 1902 he had ...

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Adam W. Green

baseball player, was born Charlie Edward Hinton Jr. in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Charlie Hinton, a cabdriver, and Ada Hinton, a homemaker. The second son of seven children, Hinton became the oldest male child after his older brother Charlie Leonard died of double pneumonia, aged three months.

Hinton starred on the football and basketball teams at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, while also playing semipro baseball with older men and his younger brother, James “Checho” Hinton. Following high school, which he graduated in either 1952 or 1953, Hinton briefly played semipro ball in the Washington, D.C., environs, but his brother convinced him to attend Shaw University in Raleigh on a baseball scholarship. Both excelled athletically in college; Checho would later sign with football's New York Titans. Chuck attended Shaw from 1955 to 1956 leaving in the summer of his sophomore ...

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Michael C. Miller

baseball player, was born David Taylor Hoskins in Greenwood, Mississippi, to unknown parents. Information about Dave's early life is inconsistent and sketchy, including the year of his birth, which may have been earlier than 1925, and his name, which is listed in his death record as “David Will” though he went by David Taylor during his baseball career. Most sources say his family moved to Flint, Michigan, in 1936, but his obituary listed him as a graduate of G. H. Jones Industrial School in Highlandale, Mississippi. Some sources listed him as a four-sport star at Northern High School in Flint, though he does not appear in the school's annuals. Hoskins married a woman named either Cora or Josephine, and they had four children.

Tall and lanky 6 1 180 pounds Hoskins played baseball in the Flint City Leagues usually as a right handed pitcher but he ...

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Larry Lester

baseball player also known as “Home Run Johnson,” was born in Findlay, Ohio, to Edward Johnson, a laborer, and Sarah Johnson, a housekeeper. His formal education is unknown.

Despite playing in the dubbed “Deadball Era,” characterized by loosely wrapped balls, and overused, the softer balls resulted in low-scoring games with fewer home runs. Johnson reportedly received his moniker playing for the 1894 Findlay (Ohio) Sluggers and the Cuban Giants, hitting sixty home runs against various levels of competition. Although the Cuban club was all black, the traditionally white Findlay team included one other black player, John “Bud” Fowler.

The following season, in 1895, Johnson and Fowler entered into a partnership with two companies, the Page Woven Fence Company and the Monarch Bicycle Company of Chicago, Illinois.

The Monarch Bicycle Company was a prominent sponsor because it capitalized on the nation s cycling craze led by African ...

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Jerry Malloy

John Henry Lloyd, known as Pop, was born in Palatka, Florida. His father died during Lloyd's infancy, and Lloyd was raised by his grandmother after his mother remarried. A grade school dropout, he began his career on the sandlots of Jacksonville, Florida, at age nineteen.

Mild-mannered, clean-living, and genial, Lloyd had high cheekbones, a lantern jaw, and piercing eyes. Similarities in physique, temperament, style, and talent led to comparisons with white baseball's preeminent shortstop, and Lloyd was often called the black Honus Wagner. Connie Mack felt the two were of equal caliber and Honus Wagner remarked After I saw him I felt honored that they should name such a great ballplayer after me Like Wagner Lloyd was a big man for a shortstop 5 11 180 pounds with long arms and large strong hands Both had wide range in the field and scooped up unusual amounts ...

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Luke Nichter

dentist, politician, and Negro Baseball League officer, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. A member of a prominent Memphis family with four brothers who all played roles in baseball in that city and beyond, John B. Martin, a dentist, was a co-owner and a club officer of the Memphis Red Sox and the Chicago American Giants. He also served as the president of three different leagues: the Negro Southern League (NSL), the Negro American League (NAL), and the Negro Dixie League.

Together with his brother, B. B. Martin, also a dentist, John B. Martin took over the Memphis Red Sox in the late 1920s from funeral director Robert S. Lewis and built a ballpark they called Martin Stadium Martin also owned a hotel next to the park and operated the concession stand Beyond baseball Martin also served the community as a pharmacist dentist real estate ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Tuskegee aircraft mechanic and Negro League baseball player, was born in San Antonio, Texas. His parents' names are unknown, as are details of his childhood. He was nicknamed “Sonny Boy” in high school, where he played baseball and graduated in 1940. He went on to play basketball while a student at St. Phillips Junior College in San Antonio.

Miles left home for Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1943 He attended Tuskegee Institute and was trained as a civilian aircraft sheet metal worker Miles would later say about his time at Tuskegee As soon as I heard about Tuskegee I knew it was what I wanted to do I really wanted to learn a trade and work with my hands It sounded like a once in a lifetime opportunity so I jumped on the chance Maurice 1 At the time Tuskegee Institute was part of a new experiment ...

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Glenn Stout

baseball player, baseball executive, and advocate for alcohol abuse education, was born Donald Newcombe in Madison, New Jersey, one of four sons born to Sadie Sayers and Ronald Newcombe, a chauffeur. When Newcombe was five years old, Ronald Newcombe's employer moved to Union, New Jersey, and the family relocated to Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Newcombe's father introduced him to alcohol at age eight and Newcombe continued to drink into adulthood. As a boy, he played sandlot baseball and occasionally attended professional baseball games in Newark, New Jersey, with his father and brothers, observing the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League and International League Newark Bears, a farm club of the New York Yankees. An older brother briefly managed a semiprofessional baseball team and occasionally allowed his younger brother to practice with the team. Newcombe's older next door neighbor, John Grier took an interest in the young man and ...

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Rob Ruck

Posey, Cum (20 June 1890–28 March 1946), owner of baseball's Homestead Grays, owner of baseball’s Homestead Grays, was born Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr., in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the son of Cumberland Willis Posey, a businessman, and Anna Stephens, a teacher. The man who made people think about the river town of Homestead for something other than its steel mills and the epic labor confrontation of 1892 was the son of one of black Pittsburgh’s most prominent and wealthy men. Captain Cumberland Posey, Sr., was a riverboat engineer who turned to shipbuilding and later coal mining and real estate. The president of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, the prestigious Loendi Club, and the Warren Methodist Episcopal Church, the elder Posey bequeathed to his son access to “respectable” black Pittsburgh.

But young Cum gravitated to the sporting scene in the Hill Pittsburgh s principal ghetto where he often played for roughneck ...

Article

Rob Ruck

baseball player and team owner, was born Cumberland Willis Posey Jr. in Homestead, Pennsylvania, the son of Cumberland Willis Posey, a businessman, and Anna Stephens, a teacher. The man who made people think about the river town of Homestead for something other than its steel mills and the epic labor confrontation of 1892 was the son of one of black Pittsburgh's most prominent and wealthy men. Captain Cumberland Posey Sr. was a riverboat engineer who turned to shipbuilding and later coal mining and real estate. The president of the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, the prestigious Loendi Club, and the Warren Methodist Episcopal Church, the elder Posey bequeathed to his son access to “respectable” black Pittsburgh.

But young Cum gravitated to the sporting scene in the Hill Pittsburgh s black section where he often played for roughneck teams against those representing black Pittsburgh s upper crust After graduating from ...

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Christopher W. Schmidt

baseball player, manager, and executive, was born in Beaumont, Texas, the youngest of ten children. His mother, Ruth Robinson, moved the family briefly to Alameda, California, before settling in West Oakland. It was here that Robinson spent his formative years and learned the game that made him famous.

Robinson has described the West Oakland of his youth as a diverse neighborhood of African Americans, Chicanos, and Asian Americans, “all getting along, few getting ahead.” “We were poor,” he recalled, “but I didn't know it” (Extra Innings, 23). His skill at baseball was obvious early on, and he spent much of his youth playing with older and more experienced boys. Robinson proved a quick study and rapidly advanced through the youth baseball ranks. In 1953 at age seventeen he signed with the Cincinnati Reds of the National League.

I didn t know anything about ...

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Jules Tygiel

Born in Georgia and raised in Pasadena, California, Jackie Robinson attended the University of California at Los Angeles where he excelled as an All-American football player, and in basketball, broad jump, and baseball. Robinson later played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League.

In 1945, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, selected Robinson to become the first African-American player in major league baseball since the 1890s. His promotion to the Dodgers in 1947 triggered opposition from other players. Nonetheless, he batted .297, won the Rookie-of-the-Year Award, and led the Dodgers to the pennant. Over the next decade, playing mostly second base, Robinson emerged as one of the most dominant players and foremost gate attractions in baseball history, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 compiling a 311 lifetime batting average and winning election to the Baseball Hall of Fame ...

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Douglas Fleming Roosa

Negro League baseball player, was born Louis Santop Loftin in Tyler, Texas, to parents whose names remain unknown. Nothing else is known about Santop's family or personal life.

Santop began his professional career in 1909 when he played for the all-black baseball teams the Fort Worth Wonders and the Oklahoma Monarchs; he then played through the 1910 season with the Philadelphia Giants where he was primarily a catcher Like many of the era s players he played for many teams Most Negro League teams lacked organization and stable finances Player contracts were nonexistent or ignored it was common for players to jump from team to team seeking better money better playing conditions or simply the chance to play every day Teams in large Midwest and East Coast cities attracted the best players because they had the most resources had the largest fan base and through leasing arrangements with ...