In a career interrupted by military service during World World II, Ross "Satch" Davis made a name for himself in big time Negro League baseball with the Baltimore Elite Giants and Negro American League champion Cleveland Buckeyes. Davis recalls his life in black baseball in an entertaining inferview with Doug Krikorian in the Long Beach Press Telegram. Read the whole story here...
On Monday (June 26th) the Pittsburgh Pirates will present a Negro League exhibit that will become a permanent fixture at PNC Park. The exhibit will be focused on the history and achievements of Negro League teams with specific emphasis on the two legendary teams from the Steel City area, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays. Read the whole story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Charlie Johnson, 1930s outfielder for the Chicago American Giants and numerous barnstorming teams, passed away on June 10 in Chicago. Johnson had battled prostate cancer for some time prior to his death.
TBO.com is featuring an excellent set of career profiles of the newly elected members of the Hall of Fame selected by the special committee yesterday, Feb. 27th. Also included are profiles of all other candidates for induction who were not elected in yesterday's balloting.
The profiles are accompanied by audio narratives by Larry Hogan, a Negro Leagues historian who was a voting member of the committee.
A career that began with the Monroe (La.) Monarchs (Negro Southern League) in 1934 took Willard "Home Run" Brown from the Southern "majors" of segregated baseball to a sterling career with the Kansas City Monarchs, a stint with the St. Louis Browns, and a few dazzling years in the integrated Texas League during the 1950s. Along the way Brown became the first black player to hit a homerun in the American League (with St. Louis in 1947) and a genuine legend in Puerto Rico. In the end, ten years after his death in 1996, Brown's career will come to a fitting conclusion with his induction into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame.
During the Hall of Fame's annual induction ceremony to be held on July 30th, Brown will join 16 other former Negro League players and executives to be enshrined in baseball's most sacred place. Baseball historians are almost universally agreed that Brown's career was of Hall of Fame caliber. But, as impressive as Brown was at the plate, leading the Negro American League (NAL) in homeruns seven times and winning three NAL batting titles, it is very possible that his statistical record fell considerably short of his potential. Paul Letlow, writing in the thenewsstar.com examines Brown's career and quirky personality.
A select committee of baseball historians have elected 12 former Negro League and pre-Negro League stars and 5 Negro League executives to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Negro League luminaries will be inducted during ceremonies to be held at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY on July 30. For the complete story, see this announcement on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website.
The Bases Are Loaded, a newly released documentary film from Nagel Films, chronicles a trip by Hall of Famer Monte Irvin to Cuba where he reunites with former teammate, and Cuban baseball legend, Connie Marrerro. The Negro League-Cuban League baseball connection was a very important factor in the development of the game in both countries, and we can think of no better repository of the history than the recollections of Monte Irvin and Connie Marrero. With fan interest in Negro League baseball history reaching higher and higher levels during the past few years, it is good to see some attention being focused on Cuba--a home away from home for many Negro League stars in the pre-Castro years.
Buck Leonard passed away in November, 1997, but his life and contributions to his hometown remain fresh in the minds of Rocky Mount, NC residents. As the National Baseball Hall of Fame considers the nominations of 39 additional Negro League candidates for induction into baseball's shrine, the North Carolina community fondly remembers it's own Hall of Famer. Read more in this News & Observer article.
Robert W. Peterson, historian and author of the groundbreaking Negro Leagues baseball history Only The Ball Was White passed away Saturday in Salisbury Township, Pennsylvania. Peterson's book, which first appeared in 1970, stands as the first extensive study of Negro Leagues baseball since the demise of the Negro National and Negro American Leagues, and the book sparked a new interest in Negro League research that intensified during the 1990s. For more information about Peterson, his life and work, read this article at KansasCity.Com.
J. L. Wilkinson was not merely an entrepreneur with a passion for baseball. He was also a man with a vision for what black baseball could accomplish during the era of segregation. As the National Baseball's Hall of Fame's 12-member committee considers the names of 39 Negro League players and executives for possible induction into the Hall of Fame, Wilkinson's substantial contributions will be hard to overlook. Meanwhile, two grandchildren of the famed Kansas City Monarchs owner campaign for Wilkinson's induction. Read Sharon Rice's story in The Friday Flyer.