Of Monarchs and Black Barons

Essays on Baseball’s Negro Leagues


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About the Book

The first African American to play in baseball’s recognized major leagues, William Edward White, appeared in 1879, followed by brothers Fleetwood and Welday Walker in 1884. The fourth African American, Jackie Robinson, did not make his major league debut until 1947. This sixty-three year gap has become known as the era of “black baseball”—a time when two generations of African American players were excluded from the existing major leagues. This anthology provides insights into black baseball during this extraordinary time, spotlighting players who characterized its special flavor and spirit. Based on 40 years of research and hundreds of interviews with surviving participants and observers, these essays preserve a crucial time in our country’s history and provide a thoughtful perspective on the Negro Leagues.

About the Author(s)

James A. Riley, a foremost authority on the Negro Baseball Leagues, is the author of six books and has contributed to many compilations and periodicals. He is the recipient of the McMillan-SABR Research Award and the SABR Negro League Committee’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A past president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and former research director for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Riley lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

Bibliographic Details

James A. Riley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 286
Bibliographic Info: 48 photos, boxscores, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6542-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9130-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword: Reviving Memories (by Monte Irvin)      1
About Monte Irvin      5
Introduction      7

For the Love of the Game: Negro Leagues Baseball Had a History of Its Own      11
Fleetwood Walker: The Real First      19
John McGraw and Chief Tokohama: Baltimore’s Brush with Breaking the Barrier      25
When Rube Foster Faced the Chicago Cubs      28
The 1910 Leland Giants      33
Pete Hill: The Greatest Black Outfielder of the Deadball Era      37
John Henry (Pop) Lloyd: The Black Honus Wagner      43
The Texas Cyclone: Smokey Joe Williams      48
The Early Leagues: 1920–1932      57
Mysterious Dave Brown: One Shot Short of Stardom      71
The First Dark October: A Look at the Inaugural Negro World Series      76
Duel of Two Dark Aces: The Showdown Between Willie Foster and Bullet Rogan      82
The 1933 East-West All-Star Game: The First East-West Classic      87
The Baltimore Baseball Nobody Knows      94
Boojum: The Most Ferocious Hitter and Fiercest Competitor Ever to Play the Game      100
Biz Mackey: The Man Who Made Campy a Catcher      111
Slim Jones: A Season in the Sun and a Winter in the Cold      116
Jimmie Crutchfield: Small and Proud      120
Not the Only Game in Town: Pittsburgh’s Other Teams      125
Buck Leonard: He Could Do It All      129
Don’t Forget About Josh      133
The Thunder Twins: Black Baseball’s Power Tandem, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard      137
Ray Dandridge: Dandy      142
Ray Dandridge and the Newark Eagles’ Million Dollar Infield      145
Willie Wells: El Diablo      150
Leon Day: A Living Legend of the Negro Leagues      153
Buck O’Neil: The Dean of the Monarchs      159
Bill Byrd: Baseballer’s Black Spitballer      165
Dave Barnhill: Impo      170
Edsall Walker: The Catskill Wildman      175
Gene Benson: Baseball Pioneer      179
Wild Bill Wright: A Mexican Legend Comes Home      183
Johnny Davis: Cherokee      188
Piper Davis: The Man Who Made Mays      192
Felix “Chin” Evans: The Winning Pitcher in the Last Black All-Star Game Before Robinson Broke the Color Line      201
Red Moore: He Could Pick It!      206
Buck Leonard on Jackie Robinson: The Negro Leagues Superstar Talks About Jackie’s Signing and the Aftermath      212
Eddie Klep: The Reverse Jackie Robinson      217
Toni Stone: Lady at the Bat      224
Baseball with a Rumba Beat      228
When “The Babe” Came to Mobile      231
President Bush Hits a Homer: Negro League Players Honored at the White House      235
A Bit of Americana—1986 Ballpark Dedication Renews Memories      239
Buck O’Neil: A Remembrance      257
Remembering Ray: The Hot Corner Hall-of-Famer Will Not Be Forgotten      260
Buck Leonard: A Tribute      265

Index      269