adventures in baseball archeology: the negro leagues, latin american baseball, j-ball, the minors, the 19th century, and other hidden, overlooked, or unknown corners of baseball history...with occasional forays into other sports
On this blog and elsewhere I’ve put a lot of effort into establishing that Luis Padrón (Cuban right-handed pitcher/infielder/outfielder who played in the minor leagues) and Juan Padrón (Cuban-American lefthanded pitcher who only played in the Negro leagues and Cuba) were differentpeople. I was even able to find one game (in the 1915/16 Cuban League) in which Juan and Luis faced each other, Juan pitching, Luis playing center field.
I’ve been working on the 1915 Negro leagues for the Seamheads Database. This was Juan’s rookie season in big-time professional ball. He started with a Cuban club touring the U.S. called Almendares (not really the Almendares club, just a team using the name). After he beat the New York Lincoln Stars (featuring John Henry Lloyd, Spot Poles, and Bill Pettus) on July 3, the Lincolns picked him up briefly, before he caught on with Tinti Molina’s western Cuban Stars in August.
During Juan’s time with the Lincoln Stars, he faced another Cuban team, the Long BranchCubans—who put their veteran outfielder/pitcher Luis Padrón on the mound to face him. It’s the only instance I’ve found so far of the two Padróns actually pitching against each other. Luis came out on top, 6 to 2, knocking a triple off Juan for good measure.
Here’s the box score (faded but legible) from the July 14, 1915, Long Branch Record, courtesy of David Skinner:
This Harlem address was listed on the World War I draft cards of at least 11 Cuban Stars players (Evelio Calderín, Pelayo Chacón, Julián Fabelo, José María Fernández, Rogelio Hernández, Agapito Lázaga, Alejandro Oms, Juan Padrón, Ramiro Ramírez, Francisco Rivas, and Julio Rojo), plus that of Alex Pompez himself.* The house was next door to the former home (13 W. 131st) of Philip A. Payton, Jr., a black real estate mogul known as the “Father of Harlem.” This New York Times article from 1991 about Payton’s “Victorian Gothic row house” includes a couple of references to No. 11. Apparently the Pompez/Cuban Stars house was by 1938 “a vacant shell” and by 1944 “a vacant lot,” one that by 1991 had expanded to include the lots at No. 7 and No. 9 as well.
Taking a cue from Scott Simkus and looking at Google Maps, it appears that those lots are not vacant anymore. The house numbers are too blurry to read, but it’s easy enough to ascertain that the Harlem Pentecostal Assembly shown here is located at 12 W. 131st St., so the Payton house at No. 13 and the former location of the Pompez house at No. 11 would presumably be across the street.
*-Patrick Rock originally found many of these Cuban players’ draft cards.
Bill Mullins found that the Kokomo Tribune credited Juan Padrón with 20 strikeouts in his June 4, 1916, game against George Mullin and the Kokomo Red Sox—and printed a full, play-by-play account of the game:
In the article I posted the other day from the 1959 Grand Rapids Press, there’s a reference to Juan Padrón striking out 22 in a 2 to 1 victory over former major leaguer George Mullin in Kokomo, Indiana. There were also references in the Cuban press (La Lucha January 27 and November 4, 1917) to Padrón setting a “world record” for strikeouts in a game with 21.
The game seems to have occurred on Sunday, June 4, 1916. This is from the Indianapolis Freeman (June 10, 1916):
By the way, on that day (June 4, 1916) Luis Padrón started for the Long Branch/Jersey City Cubans against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds ran up six runs in three innings before Padrón was moved out to right field and Francisco“Paco”Muñoz (photo here) came in to pitch. Padrón did get two singles that day, but the Reds romped to an 11-6 win.
Here is a letter Oscar Padrón wrote in 1980, recommending his uncle Juan Padrón for the Hall of Fame. Thanks again to the Padrón family! (Note: one of the articles about Juan Padrón he refers to is posted here.)
One of the more interesting projects I’ve pursued in this blog has been the disentangling of Luis Padrón and Juan Padrón, two players who for a long time were thought to be the same person. Here’s a quick summary of how I see their careers now. (A number of people have helped with this research, including Jerry Kuntz, Bob Mayer, Jack V. Morris, Patrick Rock, Tito Rondon, Scott Simkus, and David Skinner; if anybody sees anything wrong in what I’ve written below, or has anything to add, please jump right in.)
***Luis Padrón*** Born: ca. 1877-1880, Matanzas, Cuba Though a 1911 article in a Mansfield, Ohio, newspaper reports that Padrón was born in Mexico, three different passenger manifests give Matanzas, Cuba, as his birthplace. As Tito Rondon has pointed out to me, the reporter (who clearly had trouble understanding Padrón’s English) may have mistaken “Matanzas” for a word he knew, Mexico. In addition, Padrón may have mentioned the fact that he had played ball in Mexico.
Bats: Right Possibly; see this post Throws: Right Tito also reports that César López has found three photographs of Padrón either throwing right handed or wearing a glove on his left hand. More on this soon.
Cuban Teams: 1900-1902, 1904-1912, 1913-15 Habana 1903, 1918-19 Almendares 1913 Fe 1915-16 San Francisco 1917 Red Sox
U.S. Teams: 1902 All-Cubans (independent) 1903 All-Cubans (independent) 1905 Poughkeepsie (Class C Hudson River League) (ADDED 1/30/2008 courtesy Bob Mayer) 1906 Jacksonville (Class C South Atlantic League) 1906 Poughkeepsie (Class C Hudson River League) (Padrón did not actually play for Poughkeepsie in 1906, instead returning to Cuba after leaving Jacksonville - 8/4/2009) 1907 Cuban Stars (independent; Padrón listed as manager on passenger manifest) (ADDED 1/30/2008) 1907 Poughkeepsie (Class C Hudson River League) (ADDED 1/30/2008 courtesy Bob Mayer) 1907 Brooklyn (Atlantic League, independent) 1908 New Britain Perfectos Mountaineers (Class B Connecticut League) 1909 Cuban Stars (independent) 1910 Cuban Stars (independent) 1910 Kankakee Kays (Class D Northern Association) 1910 Eddie Hahn’s Red Sox (Chicago City League) 1910 Peoria Distillers (Class B Three-I League) 1911 Mansfield Brownies (Class C Ohio-Pennsylvania League) 1911 Cuban Stars (independent) (ADDED 12/21/2007) 1911 New Britain Aviators (Class B Connecticut League) (ADDED 8/4/2009) 1912 (uncertain; destination on passenger manifest is Paterson, New Jersey, home of Coogan’s Smart Set, a black team) Paterson Smart Set (independent black team owned by Dick Cogan) (ADDED, CORRECTED 8/4/2009) 1913 Long Branch Cubans (Class D New York-New Jersey League) 1914 Newark/Long Branch Cubans (Class D Atlantic League) 1915 Long Branch Cubans (independent) 1916 Long Branch Cubans (independent)
***Juan Padrón Acosta*** Born: ca. 1892-1893, Key West, Florida I think I’ve found Juan Padrón’s family—more on this in another entry.
Bats: ? Throws: Left See this post, for example. There are many further references, both in the United States and Cuba, to Juan Padrón’s left-handedness.
Cuban Teams: 1915-16 Almendares
U.S. Teams 1915 Almendares 1915 Lincoln Stars 1915 Cuban Stars (Molina) 1916 Cuban Stars (Molina) 1916 Chicago American Giants (one game) 1917 Royal Poinciana (Florida Hotel League) 1917 Cuban Stars (Molina) 1918 Breakers (Florida Hotel League) 1918 Cuban Stars (Pompez) 1919 Cuban Stars (Pompez) 1920 Cuban Stars (Pompez) 1921 Cuban Stars (Pompez) 1922 Chicago American Giants (NNL) 1923 Cuban Stars (Molina; NNL) 1923 Birmingham Black Barons (NNL) 1924 Chicago American Giants (NNL) 1925 Chicago American Giants (NNL) 1925 Brooklyn Royal Giants (ECL) 1926 Cuban Stars (Molina; NNL) 1926 Indianapolis ABCs (NNL)
(From 1924 on, I am relying on Riley.) Juan Padrón went on to play for semi-pro teams in Michigan well into the 1930s; he passed away in Grand Rapids in December, 1981. (UPDATE 12/20/2007 He died on December 7, 1981.)