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