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
Paul Wendt has found two box scores for the 1900 Cuban X Giants’ trip to Cuba, printed in (of all places) the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time I’ve seen any boxes for that series; even Severo Nieto didn’t find any.
(Chicago Tribune, February 28, 1900)
(Chicago Tribune, March 4, 1900)
Given that someone was sending box scores to the U.S. (likely the team’s organizer, Edward B. Lamar, who also put together the 1920/21 Bacharach Giants’ trip to Cuba), it’s entirely possible they turned up in other newspapers. I haven’t been able to find any in the New York Times, Washington Post, or Los Angeles Times; but if anybody is doing research on the early months of 1900, you might keep your eyes peeled for any mentions of the X Giants in Cuba.
UPDATE 11:24 p.m. Paul has also established that the X Giants’ Grant is probably not Charlie Grant, who played for the Columbia Giants of Chicago at that time, but rather the veteran Frank Grant, who was based in New York.
Severo Nieto’s Early U.S. Blackball Teams in Cuba, featuring box scores and statistics for Negro League teams in Cuba, is finally out. I’m reviewing the book for publication, so I’ll probably hold off on detailed commentary for now. One thing to note, though, is that Nieto does have box scores for the 1903 Cuban X Giants series, which I haven’t found (my coverage starts in 1904).
I’ve been able to find U.S. passport applications for thirteen Negro Leaguers—the complete North American roster of the “Bacharach Giants” aggregation that played in Cuba during the 1920/21 season (both American Series and regular Cuban League). These applications have enabled me to fully identify two of these players—Willis “Pud” Flournoy and James York—for, I believe, the first time. I’ll put up a separate post on Flournoy soon.
Before 1916, U.S. law did not require American citizens traveling abroad to carry passports, though some countries did require them. An executive order in 1916 mandated passports, and this was made law by Congress in 1918. The requirement was lifted in 1921, not to be reinstated until 1941. So, unless the country of destination required passports, Americans did not have to get them before 1916, or from 1921 to 1941.
The one foreign nation Negro Leaguers were apt to visit was Cuba, which evidently did not require passports for entry. So we have only the narrow window of 1916 to 1921 to find Negro Leaguers’ passport applications. As it happens, the 1920 Bacharachs were the only Negro League team to visit Cuba during these years.
One thing we learn about this 1920 team: it is often linked to Rube Foster (despite featuring none of his players at the time), but I’m not sure he had anything to do with it. For one thing, he probably didn’t accompany the team, as no passport application for him could be found.
For another, the team’s organizer appears to have been Edward B. Lamar, former manager/owner of the Cuban X Giants, and promoter of that team’s trips to Cuba in the 1900s. Lamar provides affidavits swearing to the identity of every player but Toussaint Allen (see below) and Philip Cockrell, who apparently had forgotten to apply, and had to send his application right before leaving from Key West, with instructions for it to be sent to him in Havana. Somebody typed up his application for him, and misunderstood his name to be “Phillip Cochran.”
I’m no handwriting expert, but with the exception of Cockrell’s application (and maybe the signatures), the forms all seem to be filled out by Lamar.
Here are the photos of the Bacharach players; I’ve never seen most of these (or possibly any of them) before.
Toussaint Allen * Born: 7 June 1896, Atlanta, Georgia (WWI draft card has 7 June 1895) * Father: Riley Allen (dec’d), born in Atlanta * Height: 5’9” * Affidavit attesting to Allen’s identity signed by Richard Redding—though Redding’s World War I draft card signed with his mark.
Charles Blackwell * Born: 12 December 1894, Brandenburg, Kentucky (matches WWI draft card) * Father: Charles Blackwell, born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, currently residing in Brandenburg * Height: 5’7”
Oscar McKinley Charleston * Born: 14 October 1896, Indianapolis, Indiana * Father: Thomas Charleston, born in Charleston, South Carolina, currently residing in Indianapolis * Height: 5’8” (does not match Riley, who has him as six feet tall, or his WWI draft card, which describes him vaguely as “tall”)
Morten Avery Clark * Born: 19 December 1889, Bristol, Tennessee (matches WWI draft card) * Father: Joseph Henry Clark, born in Richmond, Virginia, currently residing in Los Angeles, California * Height: 5’9” * The middle name “Avery” is new information (his WWI card has the middle initial “A.”). The form also indicates that Clark was in France with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) during the war. * Now we can see his “gafas blancas” for ourselves. As in 1915, Figueredo identifies him as “Dell Clark.”
Philip Cockrell (“Phillip Cochran”) * Born: 9 July 1895, Augusta, Georgia * Father: “Wm. Cochran” (William Cockrell), born in Georgia, currently residing in Philadelphia. * Height: 5’11”
Willis Flournoy * Born: 9 August 1895, Monticello, Georgia (WWI draft card has 9 August 1894) * Father: William Flournoy, born in 1855, currently residing in Monticello. * Height: 6’5” * The birthdate and place is, I believe, brand-new information; more on him in another post.
Joseph Hewitt * Born: 7 August 1885, Nashville, Tennessee (date matches WWI draft card) * Father: Price Hewitt (dec’d), born in West Virginia * Height: 5’5” * The birthplace is new information (1920 census record has him born in Alabama). His middle name was William (WWI draft card; he was nicknamed “Joe Bill”).
Louis Santop Loftin * Born: 17 January 1889, Fort Worth, Texas (matches WWI draft card; Riley & HOF have 17 January 1890, Tyler, Texas) * Father: Andrew Loftin, currently residing in Tyler, Texas * Height: 6’2”
Richard Lundy * Born: 10 July 1898, Jacksonville, Florida (matches WWI draft card) * Father: Richard Lundy, born and currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida * Height: 5’11”
Oliver Marcelle * Born: 1 June 1895, New Orleans, Louisiana (WWI draft card has 21 June 1895) * Father: Daniel Marcelle, born in Thibodaux, Louisiana, currently residing in New Orleans * Height: 5’10” * His World War I draft card is signed “Marcell,” with no “e.” Here the signature is unclear, though the form definitely says “Marcelle.”
Richard Redding * Born: 15 April 1893, Atlanta, Georgia (WWI draft card has 14 April 1893) * Father: Richard Redding, born in 1869 and currently residing in Atlanta * Height: 6’1” * Form is signed, though Redding’s World War I draft card is signed with his mark.
Merven John Ryan * Born: 11 July 1897, Brooklyn, New York (matches WWI draft card) * Father: John Ryan (dec’d), born in Brooklyn. * Height: 5’11” * The middle name “John” is new information (WWI card has middle initial “J.”).
James Henry York * Born: 11 July 1895, St. Peters, Pennsylvania * Father: Wallace Jacob York, born in Altoona, currently residing in Coatesville, Pennsylvania * Height: 6’1/4” * Middle name, birth date and place are all new information.
One of the libraries I use recently acquired Diario de la Marina on microfilm for the years 1909 through 1930. This will give me an easily-accessed second newspaper source for those years—and, from what I’ve seen so far, its baseball coverage was much more lavish than La Lucha’s during 1915-1920 or so.
Here’s the first result: I’ve been able to finish off the 1915 Indianapolis ABCs series by adding the one game that had been missing (an 8 to 1 win by Almendares). There are also a few other minor corrections.
A note about one player identification in the 1914 Lincoln Stars series. Jorge Figueredo, probably following Riley and Clark/Lester, has the Stars’ second baseman Clark identified as “Dell Clark.”
Now, Clark of the Lincoln Stars had a distinguishing feature. He wore eyeglasses. This was quite unusual at the time; the first major league position player to wear glasses (a few pitchers preceded him) was Specs Toporcer, who wouldn’t begin his career until 1921.
We know Clark sported eyeglasses because the sportswriter for La Lucha who put together the batter-by-batter accounts of nine of the Stars’ games in Havana mentioned it all the time. He calls Clark “el de las gafitas,” “he of the little glasses” (La Lucha, 10-13); “el hombre de las gafas blancas,” or “the guy with the white [?] glasses” (10-19); “el de los espejuelos,” or “he of the glasses” (10-26); and (mysteriously), “el de los espejuelos de Mahoma,” or “he of Mohammed’s eyeglasses” (10-16).* According to La Lucha, “Clark se serenó con espejuelos y todo;” that is, he struck out, glasses and all (10-23). Later in the same game, he again fanned despite “sus cuatro ojos” (his four eyes—evidently a universal expression). They just wouldn’t shut up about his damn glasses.
Anyway, Riley’s Biographical Encyclopedia has little to say about Dell Clark, placing him with the Lincoln Giants in 1914 and 1919, the St. Louis Giants in 1921, and the Washington Potomacs in 1923. But in the next column on the same page, we find Morten “Specs” Clark. Mortie Clark played for the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1914, then for the Indianapolis ABCs from 1915 to 1921. And the first line of his entry calls him “one of the first black ballplayers to wear glasses.”
Unless there were two bespectacled black infielders in New York named Clark in 1914, I’d say it’s pretty certain that the one who went to Cuba with the Lincoln Stars that fall was Morten. (There’s also a good chance that Clark of the Brooklyn Royal Giants and Clark of the Lincoln Giants were one and the same, though you’d have to examine those teams’ box scores to make sure.)
*I found a single reference online to this phrase, in a novel by the nineteenth-century Spanish writer Cecilia Böhl de Faber, and I still can’t make out what it means—possibly some kind of proverbial expression, quite likely derogatory.
UPDATE 10/2: David Skinner writes in with the following:
Gary, As a former optical lab manager, I can't help with Mohammed's spectacles, but I'm pretty sure I know what white glasses are. It seems that Mr. Clark wore his specs in a silver-colored frame. When we ordered metal frames back in the day, they were either YGF (yellow gold-filled) if they were gold color or WGF (white gold-filled) if silver color, hence white glasses, or gafas blancas. Of course, it's been many years since metal frames were gold filled, now they're steel or titanium or some kind of base metal, so the terminology is I'm sure no longer used.
Now--if only someone could fill us in on los espejuelos de Mahoma...
This team is described, by both Holway and Figueredo, as the Lincoln Giants, and with good reason: fully ten of the team’s twelve players appear on the 1914 Lincoln Giants’ roster in Clark and Lester’s Negro Leagues Book, whereas only two appear on the Lincoln Stars’ roster. A word of explanation: in 1914, the McMahon brothers, founders of the Lincoln Giants, left the team to found a rival club, the Lincoln Stars, while Jim Keenan took over the Giants.
There’s very good evidence, however, that the team that visited Cuba was actually the Lincoln Stars. For one thing, the team is, without exception, called the Lincoln Stars in both Cuban newspapers consulted for this project, La Lucha and the Havana Daily Post (the latter an English-language daily). For another, the team’s player/manager was Spotswood Poles (this is mentioned several times); the following season, 1915, would find him running the Lincoln Stars. In fact, in 1915, four members of the team that visited Cuba can be found only on the Lincoln Stars’ roster (Poles, Harvey, Parks, and Santop), while only one (Jules Thomas) appears solely on the Lincoln Giants’ roster (Dick Redding would play for both teams). It’s not completely certain this is the Lincoln Stars (I haven’t yet run across a mention of the team’s ownership, which would be definitive), but at the moment the idea’s pretty persuasive, at least to me.
I found the same total number of games (14) and the same record for the Lincolns (4-9-1), as well as the same schedule alternating Habana and Almendares as the Lincolns’ opponent, but the actual scores I found differ considerably. Figueredo’s scores are on the left, what La Lucha and the Havana Daily Post show is on the right (Figueredo doesn’t give specific dates). The discrepancies are marked in bold.
L. Giants 2, Almendares 4 OCT 9 L. Stars 1, Almendares 5 W-Luque L-Redding W-Pedroso L-Redding
L. Giants 6, Habana 4 OCT 10 L. Stars 6, Habana 4 W-Dismukes L-Pareda W-Dismukes L-Pareda
L. Giants 4, Almendares 10 OCT 11 L. Stars 4, Almendares 10 W-Luque L-Harvey W-Luque L-Harvey
L. Giants 3, Habana 4 OCT 12 L. Stars 3, Habana 4 W-Acosta L-Redding W-Acosta L-Redding
L. Giants 7, Almendares 5 OCT 13 L. Stars 3, Almendares 1 W-Green L-Pedroso W-Dismukes L-Méndez
L. Giants 1, Habana 0 OCT 15 L. Stars 1, Habana 0 W-Redding L-Ballesteros W-Redding L-Ballesteros
L. Giants 2, Almendares 3 OCT 18 L. Stars 2, Almendares 3 W-Pedroso L-Dismukes W-Pedroso L-Dismukes
L. Giants 3, Habana 0 OCT 19 L. Stars 3, Habana 0 W-Redding L-Pareda W-Redding L-Pareda
L. Giants 2, Almendares 6 OCT 22 L. Stars 1, Almendares 3 W-Pedroso L-Dismukes W-Méndez L-Dismukes
L. Giants 1, Habana 1 OCT 25 L. Stars 1, Habana 1 Redding/Acosta Redding/Acosta
L. Giants 5, Almendares 10 OCT 26 L. Stars 5, Almendares 10 W-Luque L-Green W-Luque L-Green
L. Giants 1, Habana 2 OCT 28 L. Stars 1, Habana 2 W-Ballesteros L-Harvey W-Ballesteros L-Harvey
L. Giants 2, Almendares 4 NOV 2 L. Stars 2, Almendares 4 W-López L-Redding W-López L-Redding
L. Giants 1, Habana 2 NOV 2 L. Stars 1, Habana 2 W-Palmero L-Dismukes (no box score)
A couple of further notes: this series sees the reappearance of old heroes Julián Castillo and Regino García for one game with Almendares (both had made their final appearances in the Cuban League during the 1912/13 season). The series also represents a return to the ultra-deadball days of the previous decade, as the series averages plummeted to .198/.288/.224, teams scoring only 3.08 runs per game. Compare the averages for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Cuban visit in 1913, for example: .273/.334/.333 and 4.57 runs per game, or for the 1912 Lincoln Giants’ series (.251/.338/.292, 4.42 runs per game).
Using La Lucha, I found games and scores that match up with what Figueredo has listed in Cuban Baseball, with two exceptions.
I found a game not listed by Figueredo, the second half of a doubleheader played on November 28. Habana, with José Acosta pitching, beat the ABCs behind the teenaged Oscar Charleston (his only game on the mound in this series), 10 to 4. (As it happens, Figueredo says the ABCs won 8 of 20 games, but only lists 19 scores.)
Figueredo, on the other hand, lists an 8 to 1 victory by Almendares over the ABCs (Luque pitching against Dicta Johnson) that would have occurred (if he’s listing the games in correct order) on November 1, 2, or 3—but I haven’t been able to find that game, either in La Lucha or the Havana Daily Post. If and when I do, I’ll post an update.
Of the 19 games represented in these statistics, La Lucha printed play-by-play accounts for 18, meaning that we have some rare data on batters’ strikeouts and caught stealing, as well as RBI.
UPDATE 12/2/2006: “J. Padrón” of Almendares is really Juan Padrón; I will correct the file soon.
Again, Holway’s Complete Book doesn’t mention this series. Figueredo has just 12 games, missing the December 22 contest, a 7-6 victory by the Lincolns over Habana. Overall the series was a poor showing for the Lincolns (5-8), who featured three future Hall of Famers in John Henry Lloyd (for some reason called “Sam Lloyd” by the Cuban papers), a young Louis Santop, and Joe Williams (called “Ciclón” in Cuba), who went just 1-5.
The box scores no longer name the batters hit by pitches (though they continue to give the number hit), which means that it’s not always possible to tell whether a given non-at-bat plate appearance is a walk or HBP. You’ll see how I dealt with it in the “Games” tab.
There are, to my knowledge, two more Negro League visits to Cuba in this decade: the Lincoln Giants again in 1914, and the Indianapolis ABCs in 1915. I haven’t compiled them yet, but will get to them in the next few weeks. That will give us statistics for nine of eleven series from 1900 to 1915, with only the first two—1900 and 1903—lacking.
Given that the available sources in English have missed quite a few games so far, it wouldn’t be too surprising to find that entire series have been missed, so stay tuned.
The 1910 Chicago Leland Giants were really the predecessors of the American Giants (a name they would adopt the next season), Rube Foster having wrested legal control of the name from the former owner, Frank Leland. It is commonly reported that Foster considered this team his greatest (or possibly the greatest of all time), and that the team finished with 123 wins and only six losses for the season.
But when the Lelands visited Cuba that fall, Almendares alone beat them six times (losing twice, with one tie). Here are the statistics for the series:
John Holway’s Complete Book omits this series entirely. Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball lists ten games, while I’ve been able to find 13. Figueredo lists one game I haven’t found yet, so there’s probably a total of at least 14 games.
Here’s where what I found differs from Figueredo:
October 16: Leland Giants 7, Almendares 0. Figueredo incorrectly lists it as a victory over Habana.
October 21 or 22 (assuming Figueredo’s scores are in correct order): Almendares 3, Leland Giants 1, with Pedroso defeating Bill Lindsay. I haven’t found it yet.
And Figueredo misses these games:
October 30: Leland Giants 7, Almendares 6.
November 6: A doubleheader, with the Lelands beating Habana 6-1 in the first game, then losing to Almendares 1-0 in the second.
There were actually two series, a 13-game set in October and early November, then ten more games in December after a combined team of major and minor leaguers (the “All-Leaguers”) left. Figueredo’s Cuban Baseball lists all 23 contests, but Holway’s Complete Book only says there were 11. It’s not clear whether he missed the first or second series, since neither featured exactly eleven games, plus he gives combined stats for the exhibition series and the following (spring 1908) regular season.
For those of you to whom I have previously provided stats for this series: what I sent you was probably missing one game. This is the updated and complete version.