Voices from the Negro Leagues

Conversations with 52 Baseball Standouts of the Period 1924–1960

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About the Book

Baseball lore is replete with the tales of such legendary Negro League stars as Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and a few others. But the stories of the many other African Americans, both stars and journeymen, have largely been forgotten. These were the men who barnstormed the country, playing in loosely organized leagues and eking out a living doing what they did best, playing baseball. In this work, 52 players reminisce about what it was like to play in the Negro Leagues, from the great teams and players to the terrible Jim Crow conditions they faced in the South. Now in their sixties, seventies and eighties, these men reflect on their careers with humor, bluntness, and poignancy, providing a rich record of a part of the game that is quickly being lost to history.

About the Author(s)

Brent Kelley, a retired equine veterinarian from Lexington, Kentucky, is the author of numerous McFarland baseball books.

Bibliographic Details

Brent Kelley
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 342
Bibliographic Info: 81 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2279-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0909-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

PART ONE: BEFORE JACKIE ROBINSON ENTERED ORGANIZED BALL     5

Cowan “Bubba” Hyde Leadoff Hitter 1924     7

Harold Tinker Josh and the Crawfords 1929     12

Al Fennar Beck’s Buddy 1931     18

Rodolfo Fernandez Cuban Hall of Fame 1932     22

Wild Bill Wright The Complete Ballplayer 1932     26

Buck Leonard Hall of Fame 1933     32

Josh Johnson From Catching to College 1934     36

Edsall Walker “Big” 1934     43

Red Moore Defensive Whiz 1935     49

Henry Kimbro Not So Evil 1937     56

Lyman Bostock, Sr. First Generation 1938     62

Max Manning “Dr. Cyclops” 1938     67

Art Pennington Superman 1939     76

Frazier Robinson Satchel’s Catcher 1939     85

Mahlon Duckett The Youngest Regular 1940     91

Frank Duncan, Jr. Second Generation 1940     98

Wilmer Fields Triple Threat 1940     102

Chester Gray Jackie’s Roomie 1940     110

Connie Johnson Wanderlust 1940     113

Verdell Mathis The Best Lefty in the League 1940     123

Piper Davis Willie’s “Father” 1942     128

Willie Grace A Pennant for Cleveland 1942     133

Bill Cash A Star in Philadelphia 1943     144

Stanley Glenn Pride in Defense 1944     154

Elbert Isreal .300 Hitter 1945     161

Minnie Minoso Cuba’s Greatest Export 1945     164

Warren Peace Too Many Starters 1945     170

Curley Williams Punch at Short 1945     176

PART TWO: AFTER JACKIE ENTERED ORGANIZED BALL     181

Bob Boyd “The Rope” 1946     183

Sherwood Brewer Four-Position All-Star 1946     189

Jim Cohen Coal Miner 1946     193

James “Jimmy” Dean The Original 1946     199

John Miles “Mule” 1946     206

Al Smith Almost MVP 1946     210

Gene Collins A Two-Way Player 1947     219

Chuck Harmon The Black Red 1947     225

Clinton “Butch” McCord One Step Away 1947     233

Al Surratt “Slick” 1947     241

Thomas Turner “High Pockets” 1947     244

Tom Alston The First Black Redbird 1948     250

Don Johnson Groundhog 1948     254

Melvin Duncan Pitchin’ and Guitar Pickin’ 1949     259

Walter Johnson The Second One 1949     266

Bunny Warren Stuck Behind Pee Wee 1949     271

Otha Bailey Good as Campy 1950     277

Bill Beverly “Fireball” 1950     281

Ollie Brantley Red and White Sox 1950     290

Charlie Davis “Lefty” 1950     293

Ira McKnight There to the End 1952     301

Dave Whitney Baseball’s Loss = Basketball’s Gain 1952     305

Dennis Biddle In and Out by 19 1953     310

Elliot Coleman “Junior” 1954     317

Bibliography     325

Index     327

Book Reviews & Awards

“a wonderful book that should be exceedingly popular among fans with an interest in the game’s history”—Booklist; “interesting…a solid contribution…should be part of academic and public library collections”—MultiCultural Review.