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April 22, 2009

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Gary Ashwill

Randall, yes, I'd agree--the timing definitely seems to suggest that he was recalling Grant as a challenge to Johnson.

Randall Brown

Have been looking into context of incident which seems central to McGraw-Johnson feud. Seems that McGraw felt that new American League might ignore color line, as its predecessor, the Western League, had more or less friendly to Page Fence, Union and Columbia Giants. It is interesting that Clark Griffith was present at Grant's tryout, implying that he would not have objected to his presence on the field. McGraw's comment at that time was the first of several straight-faced denials. "At first Muggsy thought he was a negro, and was about to tell him to move on when he noticed is straight black hair. He walked over and took a look at him, then asked him if he wasn’t an Indian." (March 24, 1901 Chicago Tribune).
Apparently, Grant went from Hot Springs to New Orleans, as Sporting Life stated that he would report to Baltimore from there. Wonder if he actually reported?

The timing of the May item seems highly significant, as it was simultaneous with Johnson's five-day suspension of McGraw. It may have been a deliberate challenge.

May 19, 1901 Chicago Tribune
"McGraw After the Umpires. Hints That He Will Reorganize the American League Because of His Suspension for Rowdyism.
Baltimore. Ban Johnson’s action in suspending John McGraw, may cause trouble between the magnates of the American league. A friend of McGraw says he may withdraw from the game altogether and act only as manager. He only plays through love of the game and a desire to please the patrons of baseball in this city. McGraw is an aggressive player and hot tempered. His recent disputes with umpires were no worse than he has engaged in hundreds of times before.

McGraw Wants His “Indian.”
South Bend, Ind., May 18. Charlie Grant, Captain and second baseman of the Columbia Giants, who was signed by McGraw of the Baltimore team early this season as an Indian, under the name of Tokohoma, has been ordered to report to Baltimore at Boston on Monday."
The Columbia Giants were, in fact playing in South Bend then--question is whether Grant stayed with them or not.
Weather was a joker as well--last game in Boston was rained out, as were two scheduled games in Milwaukee, which might have been a friendlier environment.
There is also a story that McGraw tried to pass Bill Monroe off as a Cuban, but no other details.

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