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October 25, 2007


Diane Orr-Schafer

My uncle's brother in law was a Docotor, Dr. Beaton. He and my Aunt Katie lived in St. Louis Mo. So I wonder if maybe Dr. Beaton did not get called in until it was too late...

Gary Sipe

Pythias Russ played for the Chicago American Giants in 1928 and 1929. Our small town of Cynthiana Ky. I have been doing research on him for our Cynthiana Baseball HOF. Hear what McCellan of the 1919 White Sox is also from here. Russ was All American in Football. Wish there was a card of him. Call if you have any more info on Pythias.

David Lawrence

Your interest is certainly warranted, Gary; I mean, if Chino Smith's shortened career contains mysteries, Russ's certainly does as well.

His record as an all-sports star in college suggests athleticism at an extremely high level, as does his conversion from a catcher to a shortstop. Blackball teams that lacked an experienced shortstop were inclined to put the best athlete they had out there (e.g. Monte Irvin at Newark).

Any number of blackball stars died during their active careers for lack of proper medical attention; Porter Moss is a particularly unhappy example. The fact that Russ's brother was a physician adds another layer of strangeness to this story; not everyone who caught TB died from it....

Gary Ashwill

Diane, thanks for writing. Pythias Russ was a great ballplayer who never quite got a full chance to show what he could do. Hopefully new research will bring him to more people's attention.

Diane Orr-Schafer

I am Pythias' great niece. I never got to meet him. Thank you for doing this research. All of the Russ' are gone now...Info is very sketchy.


The article I wrote about the 1928 NNL championship series would not have been possible without Gary's excellent research on 1928.

Gary Ashwill

Haven't seen anything about Russ actually joining either of those teams in 1929. Anybody know?

Brian McKenna

Is there any indication that Russ actually played professional basketball? I looked into the Negro leagues' overlap with basketbal a few years ago but don't remember seeing Russ' name listed. Thanks.

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