The First Cleveland Indian
About the Book
Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian from Maine, was one of the greatest college baseball stars of the 1890s. Following his days playing for Holy Cross and Notre Dame, he went directly into the major leagues with Cleveland’s National League team in 1897, becoming the first of his race to play in the majors and the first minority athlete to play in the National League.
This is a complete biography of Sockalexis, known during his playing days as “Chief of Sockem” and “Deerfoot of the Diamond.” For three months, Sockalexis batted well over .300, hit home runs, and made incredible throws from the outfield, but he found it difficult to adjust to playing in the major leagues. He often found himself the object of ridicule and hatred from sportswriters and fans in other cities. Sockalexis began drinking heavily and was suspended by the Cleveland team for playing while intoxicated. His alcoholism brought his career to an unfortunate and premature end in 1899, and he died in 1913 at the age of 42. Shortly after his death, Cleveland’s American League team was named the Indians and Chief Wahoo was adopted as its mascot, something that has sparked controversy in recent years and brought attention to Sockalexis once again.
About the Author(s)
David L. Fleitz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
Table of Contents
1 Where the River Broadens Out 5
2 The College of the Holy Cross 20
3 From Worcester to Notre Dame 34
4 The National League 46
5 Tebeau’s Indians 54
6 “He’s the Stuff and He’s the People” 68
7 The Polo Grounds 82
8 Fall from Grace 95
9 The 1898 Season 110
10 Sitting the Bench 119
11 “The Sorriest Shell of a Team Ever Seen…” 129
12 “A Sorrowful Spectacle…” 142
13 Bender, Meyers, and Andrew Sockalexis 157
14 The End of the Line 168
15 Louis Sockalexis and the Cleveland Indians 180
16 Epilogue 192
Appendix 1: William J. Fox Letter 197
Appendix 2: Sockalexis Statistics 199
Book Reviews & Awards
Finalist, Dave Moore Award—Elysian Fields Quarterly. Finalist, Seymour Medal—Society for American Baseball Research. Finalist, Casey Award—Spitball.
“well-researched, highly readable study…an interesting and detailed account…in creating this concise and accurate account of the career of Louis Sockalexis, Fleitz displays an inquisitive scholar’s refusal to accept old tales at face value, a diligent researcher’s willingness to seek out the facts in primary sources, and a skillful writer’s ability to clearly describe what actually happened…valuable work”—Nine; “more scholarly and complete [than the competition]…excellent illustrations…detailed endnotes”—Daily News; (Bowling Green, Kentucky), “the book tells an in-depth story of the life of a Penobscot Indian from Maine”—Frommer Sports Net; “Fleitz has researched and told the story of Sockalexis very well”—Harold Seymour.com.