Dwayne Isgrig recently sent me a question from Wayne Stivers, who was wondering if anyone had a first name for a pitcher named “Poree” who appeared in a single Negro National League game for the St. Louis Giants in 1921. Dwayne dug up this interview I did with Scott Simkus a while back, in which I said I’d figured out Poree’s identity.
Well, it’s a circumstantial case, but a pretty good one, I think. Both Dwayne and I have seen items in the St. Louis Argus mentioning Poree (no first name) pitching for the Sumner High School baseball team. (Sumner High’s alumni, by the way, include Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, and Arthur Ashe.) He was picked up by the Giants in June, presumably after the end of the school year, and first appeared for them against the white semipro Quincy Moose Gems:
(St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 14, 1921)
Poree worked in at least one other game for the Giants in July against Jewell’s A.B.C.s, a minor team from Indianapolis, before making his one and only Negro league appearance on August 2 against Joe Green’s Chicago Giants:
(St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 3, 1921)
After 1921 he vanishes from the Negro leagues. But in 1924 “Salvador Poiree” (sic) pops up in Chicago, pitching for an all-black team in the postal league:
(Chicago Defender, City Edition, August 2, 1924, page 10; NB—this is the City Edition; you won’t find this article in the ProQuest digital version of the Defender, which is the National Edition.)
Poree was still pitching in Chicago semi-pro ball as late as 1929, by then for a team called Jimmy Hutton’s All-Stars, which consisted of black postal workers:
(Chicago Defender, National Edition, August 10, 1929, page 8)
Joining Poree on the All-Stars were Negro leaguers Reuben Curry, George Sweatt, John Hines, Buddy Hayes, and James Bray, as well as prominent local players Ira Ward and Carter Wilson. The venerable spitballer George Harney, former American Giants ace, also played for the All-Stars in 1929.
In the 1930 census you can find Ward, Wilson, Hines, and Bray in Chicago, all listed as postal workers—along with “Salvadoree Poree” (again sic), postal clerk, 27, born in Louisiana, and living with his wife Maude, who was born in Missouri, and two daughters.
Working backward to the 1920 census, a 16-year-old named “Salvador Porre” can be found in New Orleans living with his parents Joseph and Rita Poree, and three younger brothers, Curtis, Marshall, and Norman.
Working forward to the Social Security Death Index, we find a single person named Salvador Poree, born February 21, 1903, died January 1979, with his last residence in Roselle, Du Page County, Illinois.
To sum up: the only thing really missing here is a direct reference to Salvador Poree having a connection to St. Louis—although according to the 1930 census his wife was born in Missouri. He was still living in New Orleans as of January 1920, so his family would have had to move to St. Louis within the next year, with Salvador himself winding up in Chicago by 1924. At least one of his brothers (Marshall) was also living in Chicago in 1930, so it could be that the whole family moved to Chicago.
Since Poree had at least two daughters (as of 1930) as well as three younger brothers, it seems very likely that there are living relatives who might remember him. In any case, he serves as an object lesson in how much you can find out about obscure Negro leaguers, even the briefest cup-of-coffee hopefuls.