Here are the full statistics for the 1921 Negro National League, plus several top-level, non-NNL black professional teams: the Cleveland Tate Stars and Pittsburgh Keystones in the Midwest; and the Bacharach Giants, Hilldale Club, Baltimore Black Sox, and All-Cubans in the east. Also included are games these teams played against a white semipro (or independent professional) team, the Tesreau Bears, which starred former major leaguers Jeff Tesreau, Manuel Cueto, Larry Doyle, and Harry Wolter.
[NOTE: The 1921 statistics originally posted here are now outdated and have been deleted. The 1921 Negro National League, as well as many other season, will reappear shortly, revised and expanded, in a venue TBA.]
These have been ready for some time; I hesitated to post them because of the eccentric inclusion of the non-black Tesreau Bears. It would take a little time to recompile the stats without the Bears included, and I haven’t had the time lately. In the end I decided to go ahead and make them available in this form. The Bears’ games do not, in my opinion, dilute the statistics at all. Overall, the team was 20-15 against Negro League teams in 1921. Two of the Bears’ games counted here were against the American Giants; the rest were against the Bacharachs and Hilldales.
A few words about the structure of black baseball in 1921. The Negro National League, based in the Midwest, included the Chicago American Giants, Joe Green’s Chicago Giants, Kansas City Monarchs, St. Louis Giants, Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars, Columbus Buckeyes, and the Cuban Stars (based, for this one season, in Cincinnati’s Redland Field). The Cleveland Tate Stars and Pittsburgh Keystones played NNL teams extensively, and would join the league in 1922 with substantially the same rosters. The Bacharach Giants and Hilldale Club were both officially associate members. Four NNL teams (Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, and the American Giants) toured the east coast, playing Hilldale and the Bacharachs; the Bacharachs toured the midwest and played several NNL teams.
The east coast scene was complicated. The Bacharachs and Hilldales were obviously the best teams. Three of the other important clubs—the Lincoln Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and eastern Cuban Stars—all based in New York City, all booked by Nat Strong, did not play any teams associated with Rube Foster’s NNL. They did play the Tesreau Bears, who went 15-7 against them (while going 4-7 against the Bacharachs and Hilldales, and splitting a doubleheader with the American Giants). Had there been a New York City independent pro league featuring the Bears and the three Nat Strong-booked black teams, the Bears would have been odds-on favorites to win the pennant.
Unfortunately, I could not compile full statistics for these “Nat Strong League” games, as I’ve yet to find a good box score source for games played in the Lincoln Giants’ home field, the Catholic Protectory Oval in the Bronx. The New York Age wasn’t publishing box scores then, the Amsterdam News has not (to my knowledge) been archived prior to 1923, and I cannot (astonishingly) find a New York daily newspaper from the 1920s that published Negro League and semipro box scores. (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle focused, unsurprisingly, on Brooklyn and some baseball activity in Queens.) So none of those games are represented here; neither are the Lincoln Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, or eastern Cuban Stars.
The 1921 NNL was the first Negro League (or first baseball league of any kind) I compiled statistics for. This project has been going on for more than five years, and includes data gleaned from (at least) 27 newspapers. Though like any Negro League statistical project it can hardly be called complete, at this point it is the most extensive compilation of the 1921 season published anywhere.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the “c” column in the fielding tables represents “chances.” In most box scores for games played in Chicago, putouts and assists were lumped together as chances. Also, you’ll note that I haven’t included figures for catchers’ non-K putouts and fielding percentage (inspired by Bill James), as I have normally done. I’ll try to get that in future versions of 1921.