The World War I draft registration cards, like the passenger manifests, have proved to be quite a gold mine, with Patrick Rock finding valuable new biographical information for a number of American and Cuban players. I haven’t found as many players as Patrick has, but here’s an interesting little discovery—the draft card for George Goodwin Fiall, Lincoln Giants/Harrisburg Giants/Baltimore Black Sox infielder and member of the Renaissance Five basketball team:
Then Brooklyn Royal Giants outfielder Thomas Fiall, Jr., who turns out to be George’s brother. I’m not certain this was known by researchers before now (please correct me if I’m wrong). Here’s his card from Philadelphia in 1917:
And from New York in 1918:
Note that the address at 116 W. 135th St., written in above the crossed-out address, is also given by both George Fiall and their father, Thomas Fiall, Sr.:
To seal it, the 1920 census record for the Fiall family. The last column is their place of birth.
Lastly, here’s a very grainy photograph of George Fiall from the Chicago Defender (January 1, 1921):
This article about the Renaissance Five (later known as the New York Rens) does not mention Fiall; but check out the photo, which dates from 1925, when he was on the team. I think he could be the player seated farthest on the right.
UPDATE 5/27/2007 By the way, Fiall is pictured above as a member of the St. Christopher Athletic Club basketball team, known as the “Red and Black Machine.” He played for them circa 1921, along with Clarence “Fats” Jenkins, who would later move with Fiall to the Renaissance Big Five. They would also be baseball teammates on the Harrisburg Giants. (Together, Jenkins and Fiall were called the “Heavenly Twins.”) Since the New York Rens were inducted as a team into the Basketball Hall of Fame, both Fiall and Jenkins are Hall of Famers, of a sort.