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March 6, 2012


james brunson

Bolan also may be Samuel "Sam" Bolan, who played baseball (Gorhams (1897) and Colored brooklyn Giants).

Gary Ashwill

Fantastic, thanks! I actually posted an article about the Acme Colored Giants a long time ago:


There's Eddie Day and William Kelly--I should have remembered it.


From memory so possibly incorrect:

3) Edward (Eddie) Day; from Reading, PA. Died soon after this photo (1905?) and his death was actually included in the year end summary of either the Reach or Spalding Guide (or maybe both).

4) Clarence (Clem) Sampson; from a small town outside Binghamton, NY. Mentioned as a Major League caliber pitcher by Sol White. Never really seen any proof of this, but he was basically the Cuban Giants' ace from 1900 to 1906.

5) William Kelley: Like Day (and Sampson and Bolan, I think), he played on the Celeron (NY) Acme Giants, the last black team in organized BB. He can be found in the census and I vaguely remember there was something odd about his family structure.

8) Bolan: Think his name, like Day, was Edward too. See above.

One of the interesting things about John Bright, the original owner of the Cuban Giants was that he always tried to recruit any African-American players who played in organized BB, apparently figuring that they had to be good if that was on their resume. Despite the awfulness of the Celeron team, Bright took its cream.

I also never see this listed but John Bright himself, a very important figure in early blackball, died in 1913 (August, I think) at his home in Hoboken, NY. His son supposedly took over the Cuban Giants but they were actually booked by Nat Strong until fading away during World World One.

The team was revived briefly by one of the players, Harry Leavell, during the war but then disappeared again until the name was revived as the Brooklyn Cuban Giants in the early 1920s (once again booked by Nat Strong and his cronies).

You should really write a piece about Harry Leavell (name spelled multiple ways). He died in the 1950s in Brooklyn and there is an obit for him if I remember correctly but, even more interestingly, census and newspaper data from the 1900s seem to indicate that he was a bigamist.

He played for a white team in Lima, Ohio, and married there. He then moved on and remarried the woman who would remain his wife. A couple of years later, his Lima wife sued for divorce on the grounds of abandonment.

Like Dave Brown later on, it was easier then to simply uproot yourself and start over somewhere else.

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