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.
Here’s another example of nearly unreadable microfilm: the Indianapolis Freeman, one of the most important sources for black baseball in the 1910s. This is a box score for a game between the American Giants and Cuban Stars (not the Cuban Giants, as the box score mistakenly has it in one place), printed in the September 22, 1917, issue of the Freeman.
This box score (and much of the rest of 1917) appeared this way in several microfilm readers I tried, so it wasn’t the reader. Maybe the original newsprint was smeared in places. But as I recall (I read this paper several months ago), the microfilm gave the distinct impression of simply having been filmed out of focus—another case of microfilmmalpractice. The quality through 1917 varied—much of it, while not great, is readable, or at least better than the above—but as the reel moved into 1918, it became less and less legible, until I finally gave up.
I’m also reasonably certain that there are multiple versions of these years floating around out there (and it could also be that the original paper copies exist somewhere). If anybody has seen better, legible versions of the 1917 and/or 1918 Freeman, I’d love to hear from you.
Incidentally, Google News Archive has a good run of the Freeman (from 1888 to 1915, it appears).
If you’ve got good images of people who played or managed in the Negro National League from 1920 to 1922, I’d love to hear from you. I’m looking for photos for my book, and it would be great to find a few less familiar images.
If anybody out there is planning on being in Atlantic City in the near future and needs something to do besides going to casinos or the boardwalk or whatever, you can always help out the cause of Negro League research by examining the Atlantic City Public Library’s microfiche of the Press of Atlantic City, 1920 through 1922. As I understand it, this is the only copy of the newspaper for these years and the library will not lend it out.
The Bacharach Giants were based in Atlantic City in 1920 and 1921, and Dick Lundy’s Original Bacharach Giants, a kind of splinter club that was formed when John Connors took the Bacharachs to New York, played in Atlantic City in 1922. I only have box scores for a handful of the Bacharachs’ Atlantic City games in the early twenties, so if anybody is in a position to help I’d be immensely grateful.
From time to time I’m going to post requests for research help, most often in the hope that somebody might have access to a newspaper I haven’t been able to get hold of or didn’t know existed.
Since I just posted 1921, here are some of the more glaring trouble spots in my research for that year:
CINCINNATI: I have Cincinnati Enquirer box scores for every known NNL game the Cuban Stars played at home. Unfortunately, two of them are unusable. The first, from the May 22 Enquirer for a Chicago Giants / Cuban Stars game played on May 21, was photographed out of focus for the microfilm edition. I can make out most names, and even some numbers (and I know the Giants won), but too much of it consists of blurry, unreadable blobs.
The second is from the July 9 Enquirer, and it’s for another Chicago Giants / Cuban Stars game, played on July 8. Half of this box score is missing from the microfilm edition because the newspaper wasn’t flattened out when it was filmed.
So: if there is anyone who has access to bound hard copies of the Cincinnati Enquirer, I would be immensely grateful if you could take the time to look up these two issues and obtain photocopies of these box scores. I suspect there aren’t too many bound runs of the Enquirer around anymore, but there must be one or two somewhere. Obviously, if anybody has access to another Cincinnati paper (the Post, say, or the Times-Star, which are hard to find), that would be worth checking, too.
**See here for an update (11/27/06) on the missing Giants / Cuban Stars games.**
NEW YORK: As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, other than the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Chicago Defender, I have found no sources for New York box scores in 1921. The Times,Herald-Tribune, World, and American did not carry Negro League or semipro box scores, as far as I can tell. So any insights on this problem would be greatly appreciated.
DETROIT: There are 15 Stars’ home games for which I lack box scores. You can find the dates in the Standings file. I have only been able to check the Detroit Free Press—if anybody has access to the Detroit Times, which I have never been able to borrow through inter-library loan, that could be a good source. UPDATE 9/12/06: From what I can tell, the Detroit Times only printed line scores and /or brief items on Stars’ games in 1921, although I have only been able to check May and June.
INDIANA: The Indianapolis ABCs often played games against major black teams (especially the Cuban Stars) in various small or medium-sized Indiana towns. In 1921, the ABCs played:
1) the American Giants in Gary, Indiana, on July 9 2) the Monarchs in Anderson, Indiana, on July 16 3) the Cuban Stars in Kokomo, Indiana, on August 25 4) the Cuban Stars in Frankfort, Indiana, on August 26 5) the Detroit Stars in Muncie, Indiana, on August 27 6) the Columbus Buckeyes in Lebanon, Indiana, on September 2
Of course, it’s especially hard to track down newspapers for smaller towns and cities. If anyone can offer help with these, it would be much appreciated.
Also: there are several games played in Indianapolis for which I have found no box scores, most notably the famous 18-to-18 game. I have checked the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis News, Indiana Daily Times, and Indianapolis World. All or some of the city’s black papers--the Freeman,Recorder, and Ledger--may have been publishing that year, but I have been unable to obtain them.
That’s not everything missing, of course. Check out the “Scores” tab in the 1921 Standings file, where I’ve noted whether or not each known game has a box score, for more missing games.
For anybody able to supply new box scores: I can reciprocate with similar help for a project of yours, if I’m able to (I do have access to two large research libraries and a good number of microfilm newspapers); or else I can send you research I haven’t published here yet (mostly on early 1900s Cuban seasons).