Edwin Torres-Romero, an expert on Puerto Rican baseball, has kindly provided some amazing photographs of Negro leaguers in Puerto Rico. First is a fantastic picture of George Scales and Chino Smith, probably in the winter of 1925/26:
Here (courtesy of Caleb Hardwick) is an item in the New York Age describing the team of Negro leaguers Scales and Smith played with in Puerto Rico. Made up of players from several teams, they were called the Royal Giants and were led by Dick Redding, player-manager of the Brooklyn Royal Giants:
(New York Age, November 7, 1925, p. 6)
A few years ago I noted that Scales and Smith could be found on a passenger list arriving in Puerto Rico with the rest of the Royal Giants on December 1, 1925.
Aside from the Negro leaguers, most of whom are pretty familiar, the Royal Giants’ contingent also included Francisco “Frank” López, the team’s organizer/business manager; José Santana, a Puerto Rican player for the Philadelphia Giants; Alexander “Jock” Waters, a trainer, coach, and sometime manager for the Brooklyn Royal Giants; and a couple of others who may be Puerto Rican players, Mario Capestani and Manuel P. Rivas—perhaps (though I have no idea) they are the Allentown Dukes players the New York Age refers to as “Gresco and Appino.”
Then Scales and Smith returned to New York on March 8, 1926:
The Royal Giants’ names are all easily legible; on the All-Borinquen squad I think I can see “Net” (Manuel Net, who played in the continental U.S.) and “Brown,” who might be Country Brown playing for the Puerto Rican rather than the Negro league team.
The following winter another team of Negro leaguers traveled to the island commonwealth, this time under the name Lincoln Giants, captained by Scales himself.
(New York Age, September 4, 1926, p. 6)
Here they are on a passenger list for the S.S. San Juan, arriving in Puerto Rico on October 18, 1926:
I can only identify a few of the players here. Standing at far left is, I think, Connie Rector:
Kneeling at far left is the team’s captain, George Scales:
Kneeling next to Scales is Paul “Jake” Stephens:
Standing second from left is, I believe, Jesse Hubbard:
Hubbard did not travel with the team in October, and I haven’t yet found him on any passenger lists that show him arriving in Puerto Rico in the fall of 1926; but he can be found returning to New York from Puerto Rico aboard the S.S. Coamo on February 14, 1927:
There’s another possible match (and this is definitely only a possibility): kneeling next to Stephens, third from left, might (and let me emphasize might) be Namon Washington:
The problem with the Lincoln Giants’ photo is that I lack corroborating photos, at least usable, good-quality ones, for most of the players presumably pictured, including Tom Finley, Burdell (or Budell) Young, Johnson Hill, Charlie Mason, Arthur “Rube” Chambers, and John Cason. It’s too bad that so many of these cases are concentrated in a single photograph, meaning we can’t use a process of elimination to identify anybody.
I also have images of two Lincoln Giants’ players whom I can’t with confidence find in Edwin’s picture, Ramón Concepción and Wayne Carr:
Thanks to Edwin for providing these photographs from his collection. If anybody has any ideas about all this, or some images of the players listed above, let me know in the comments.