Bud Clark of the Los Angeles Giants (Los Angeles Herald, October 25, 1908, p. 24); Walter Johnson, shown in the uniform of the Kids of Weiser, an Idaho team, in 1906-07.
Nearly two years ago I wrote about Walter Johnson pitching against black teams. At the time, I mentioned three such games:
•October 15, 1911, Olympic Field, Harlem—Johnson, pitching for the “All-Leaguers” with Gabby Street catching, defeated the Lincoln Giants 5 to 3.
•October 5, 1913, Island Park, Schenectady—Johnson, pitching for the “All Americans” (a team of mostly minor leaguers), lost a five-inning game to Frank Wickware and Schenectady Mohawk Giants, 1 to 0.
•October 11, 1914, Lenox Oval, Harlem—Johnson, pitching for the NYC Fire Department “Smoke Eaters,” lost to Gunboat Thompson and the Lincoln Stars 2 to 0.
There was at least one more occasion on which Walter Johnson faced black opposition. This time it was on the west coast. On October 18, 1908, Johnson, pitching for the Olives, or Olive Giants, champions of Orange County, faced the little-heralded Los Angeles Giants at Joy Park. The Big Train was overpowering, striking out 20 Giants in 10 1/3 innings—but the Giants capitalized on six errors by Johnson’s teammates to send the game into extra innings, then pushed across a run in the bottom of the 11th to win, 6 to 5.
William McNeil reproduces a partial box score for this game in his book The California Winter League (on pp. 28-29). Today Todd Peterson sent me the original box score from the Los Angeles Herald, so I thought I’d post it:
(Los Angeles Herald, October 19, 1908, p. 7)
Here are the Los Angeles Giants:
The Los Angeles Giants remain a truly obscure team. Their best-known player was probably a pitcher named Bud Clark, who also played for the Salt Lake City Occidentals around this time. In the Olives/L.A. Giants game Clark nearly matched Johnson, allowing only 2 hits in 8 innings and striking out 10 batters himself. Thus he became the first of (at least) three black pitchers to defeat Walter Johnson.
(Salt Lake Tribune, August 30, 1908, p. 18)