Negro Leaguers and the Hall of Fame

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About the Book

Since 1971, 35 Negro League baseball players and executives have been admitted to the Hall of Fame. The Negro League Hall of Fame admissions process, which has now been conducted in four phases over a 50-year period, can be characterized as idiosyncratic at best. Drawing on baseball analytics and surveys of both Negro League historians and veterans, this book presents an historical overview of NLHOF voting, with an evaluation of whether the 35 NL players selected were the best choices. Using modern metrics such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR), 24 additional Negro Leaguers are identified who have Hall of Fame qualifications. Brief biographies are included for HOF–quality players and executives who have been passed over, along with reasons why they may have been excluded. A proposal is set forth for a consistent and orderly HOF voting process for the Negro Leagues.

About the Author(s)

SABR member Steven R. Greenes is a practicing attorney living in New York City.

Bibliographic Details

Steven R. Greenes
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7268-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4111-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

Part One. History of the Hall of Fame Voting for the Negro Leagues 7

 1. Phase 1: The Committee on Negro League Baseball Leagues (1971–1977) 9

 2. Phase 2: The Veterans Committee (1978–1994) 18

 3. Phase 3: A Quota System Is Implemented (1995–2001) 20

 4. Phase 4: The Historians Take Over (2001–2006) 22

Part Two. Determining Hall of Fame Qualification of the Negro Leagues 31

 5. The Twelve Rules 33

 6. The Sources for Hall of Fame Analysis of the Negro Leagues Are Hiding in Plain Sight 45

 7. WAR, Similarity Scores and Fielding Analysis Are Available for the Negro Leagues 53

 8. Overview of Analytical Sources 57

Part Three. 24 Men Out—A Position by Position Analysis of the Voting to Date 59

 9. Catcher 61

Worthy of Further Discussion 62

Bruce Petway 62; Frank Duncan, Jr. 63; George “Chappie” or “Rat” Johnson 64; Wabishaw “Doc” Wiley 65; Larry “Iron Man” Brown 66; Joe Greene 67; Quincy Trouppe 68

10. First Base 72

Worthy of Further Discussion 72

Edgar Wesley 72; George “Tank” Carr 73; Luke Easter 75; Bill Pettus 76

11. Second Base 79

Elwood “Bingo” DeMoss 79

Newton “Newt” Allen 81

Sammy T. Hughes 84

Worthy of Further Discussion 86

Frank “The Weasel” Warfield 86; Charlie Grant 87; Lorenzo “Piper” Davis 88; Bonnie a/k/a Barney Serrell 90; Marvin “Tex” Williams 91

12. Shortstop 93

Richard “Dick” Lundy 93

Grant “Home Run” Johnson 96

Walter “Dobie” Moore 99

Worthy of Further Discussion 102

Artie Wilson 102; James “Bus” (“Buz” or “Buzz”) Clarkson 104

13. Third Base 106

Oliver “The Ghost” Marcelle 106

George “Tubby” Scales 108

Worthy of Further Discussion 112

Alec (Alex) Radcliffe 112; Orestes “Minnie” Minoso 112

14. Outfield 115

Charlie “Chino” Smith 115

Burnis “Wild Bill” Wright 118

Spottswood Poles 122

Herbert “Rap” Dixon 124

Worthy of Further Discussion 127

Oscar “Heavy” Johnson 127; Hurley McNair 129; Clarence “Fats” Jenkins 130; Alejandro “El Caballero” (The Gentleman) Oms 131; Valentin Dreke 133; Chaney White 134; Clint “Hawk” Thomas 134; Sam “The Jet” Jethroe 135; Jimmie Lyons 135; Charlie Blackwell 135; Ted Strong 136; Bernardo Baro 136; Roy “Red” Parnell 136; George “Rabbit” Shively 137

15. Pitcher 139

Dick “Cannonball” Redding 139

John Donaldson 142

Bill Byrd 146

Chet Brewer 149

Worthy of Further Discussion 152

William Bell, Sr. 152; George Stovey 154; Jesse “Nip” Winters 155; William “Dizzy” Dismukes 156; Juan Padrón 156; Eustaquio “Bombin” Pedroso 157; Dave “Impo” Barnhill 158; Bill “Cannonball” Jackman 160; Stuart “Slim” Jones 161; Leroy Matlock 162; Bill Holland 162; Ted Trent 162; Phil Cockrell 162; Arthur “Rats” Henderson 163; Laymon Yokely 163; Barney “Brinquitos” Brown 163; Webster McDonald 164; Dan McClellan 164; George “Lefty” Wilson 164; Frank “Rawhide” Wickware 165; Walter Ball 165; Dave Brown 166; Roy Welmaker 166; Roosevelt Davis 166; Sam Streeter 167

16. Super Utility 169

John “The Black Bomber” Beckwith 170

Bill “Money” Monroe 174

Worthy of Further Discussion 177

Harry Buckner 177; Walter “Rev” Cannady 177; Sam Bankhead 179; Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe 181

17. Manager 183

C.I. Taylor 183

“Candy Jim” Taylor 186

Worthy of Further Discussion 188

Dave Malarcher 188; Elander “Vic” Harris 189

18. Executive 193

Gus Greenlee 194

Ed “Chief” Bolden 198

Worthy of Further Discussion 188

Frank C. Leland 201

19. Pioneer/Overall Contribution 203

Bud Fowler 203

John “Buck” O’Neil 207

Part Four. A Path Forward 213

20. Conclusions 215

21. Reopening the Door 221

Acknowledgments 227

Appendix A: Current Negro League Hall of Famers 229

Appendix B: Negro League Hall of Fame Ballots 231

Appendix C: 1952 Pittsburgh Courier Experts’ Poll 233

Appendix D: 1952 Pittsburgh Courier “Fan Poll” 235

Appendix E: Three Hypothetical Ballots for Consideration by a Proposed Negro Leagues Era Committee 236

Appendix F: Comparative WAR Per 162 Games (1887–1948) 237

Appendix G: Comparative Career WAR (1887–1948) 239

Appendix H: John McGraw’s Negro League Dream Team 241

Chapter Notes 243

Bibliography 259

Index 265

Book Reviews & Awards

• “A well written, well researched, useful, and interesting book. I consider myself relatively well versed in Negro League history, and it raised my awareness of several players and individuals that I was either unaware of or vaguely aware of.”—Richard Puerzer, Hofstra University

• “A fascinating collection of statistical and factual data, marshaled to make a compelling case that there are at least twenty-four Negro Leagues and associated players/executives who deserve to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”—Thomas Aiello, The Kings of Casino Park: Black Baseball In the Lost Season of 1932