It’s hard to say that a member of the Hall of Fame is overlooked; but it’s equally hard to say that Louis Santop has really gotten full credit for his abilities and accomplishments. There are a couple of reasons for this: as a black slugger from the deadball era who played on the east coast, he hit the trifecta of obscurity, reduced offensive levels, and relatively low numbers of games counted in blackball stats. Still, the numbers we do have so far are undeniably impressive: .342/.401/.488 in 393 games (half after the age of 30), a 163 OPS+.
One of his accomplishments that has escaped notice occurred at Atlantic City’s Inlet Park on July 6, 1911, when, as a rookie catcher for the Philadelphia Giants, Santop became the first player known to have hit three home runs in a “Negro league” game (that is, a game between top black professional teams). At the time he often appeared in box scores under his real last name, “Loftin”; here are two box scores for the game:
The second player to hit three home runs in a blackball game is truly overlooked: another catcher, a guy named Dan Kennard. He basically has no reputation at all among Negro league historians. He spent most of what were presumably his best years playing ball in the deep South, and didn’t make his way into big-time professional black baseball until he was 29. The Seamheads DB has only 255 games for him, in which he hit .301/.368/.453—but, when adjusted, that actually adds up to an OPS+ of 142. Also consider that nearly 2/3 of those games are from age 36 or later.
Kennard became the second player, after Santop, to hit three home runs in a blackball game, a feat he accomplished on May 4, 1913, in the uniform of the French Lick Plutos, at Northwestern Park in Indianapolis.
(Indianapolis Star, May 5, 1913, p. 8)