Outlaw Ballplayers

Interviews and Profiles from the Independent Carolina Baseball League


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About the Book

The players of the independent Carolina League were outlaws. A diverse lot that included preachers and ex-cons, with many former and future Major Leaguers, they played ball during the desperate years of the Great Depression, when half of organized professional baseball’s minor leagues went broke and ceased operations. Despite the number of defaulting leagues and teams, the players were held to their prior contracts, and many found themselves unemployed, unable to play without violating the reserve clause that bound them to their previous club. The threat of being blackballed by organized baseball notwithstanding, hundreds of players went to bat for the independent Carolina League, and their stories offer unique glimpses into the pastime’s—and America’s—most difficult years.

This follow-up to the immensely popular and award-winning The Independent Carolina Baseball League, 1936–1938 (McFarland, 1999) takes the story of outlaw baseball into extra innings, offering a wealth of previously unpublished interviews with the key players and personnel associated with the league. With outstanding coverage of nearly 20 players, including the notorious Edwin Collins “Alabama” Pitts and well-known Lawrence Columbus “Crash” Davis, this book also offers the unique perspectives of umpires, journalists and players’ wives. Appendices include a Pitts family history, the Kannapolis Towelers team record book, player records, and the history of the Carolina Victory League.

About the Author(s)

R.G. (Hank) Utley is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the author of The Independent Carolina Baseball League, 1936–1938 (1999, Seymour Medal runner-up). He lives in High Point, North Carolina.

Tim Peeler is a lecturer in English, journal editor, essayist and poet. He is a winner of the Jim Harrison Award for his contributions to baseball poetry and lives in Hickory, North Carolina.

Aaron Peeler, also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, covers sports for the Durham Herald-Sun. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

R.G. (Hank) Utley and Tim Peeler with Aaron Peeler

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2614-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8207-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Epigraph      vi
Acknowledgments      viii
Preface by Tim Peeler      1
Introduction      3

1. The Judge: Clement Manley Llewellyn      7
2. The Preacher: Glenn Allen “Razz” Miller      14
3. The Slugger: Norman Woodnut Small      21
4. Cause Célèbre: Edwin Collins “Alabama” Pitts      33
5. The Showman: Charles M. “Struttin’ Bud” Shaney      53
6. The Manager: Bobby Hipps      60
7. A Gang of Two      66
The Forgotten: Richard Grey Clarke      66
The Scout: Edwin “Cy” Williams      69
8. The Brain: Richard Broadus Culler      71
9. The Wives      81
Winnie Taylor      81
Edna Carrier      84
10. The Star: Lawrence Columbus “Crash” Davis      86
11. The Pro: Lee Ravon “Buck” Ross      97
12. The Phenom: George Barley      103
13. The Truth: Ulmont Baker      111
14. Umpires      117
15. The Canadian Tornado: Vince Barton      120
16. Mr. Henry: William Henry Whitley      125
17. Home Boys      133
Who’s on First?: Frank Hopkins      133
Brother: Marvin Watts      135
The Sandlapper: Houston Hines      139
18. Rebels      144
The Pitcher: Tracey Hitchner      144
The Tramp Athlete: Robert Merritt “Pat” Shores      149
The Batboy: Harold Lail      154

Appendix A: Pitts Family History by Myrtice Ann Carr      161
Appendix B: Henry Whitley’s Team Record Book      169
Appendix C: Selected Batting and Pitching Statistics      171
Appendix D: The Carolina Victory League      177
Bibliography      193
Index      195

Book Reviews & Awards

“offering a wealth of previously unpublished interviews…outstanding”—Shield & Diamond.