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September 10, 2020

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Gary Ashwill

Here's the Elites/ABCs photo (Hake's posted one high-res detail--wish they had done that with the whole photo):

https://www.hakes.com/Auction/ItemDetail/57872/1926-INDIANAPOLIS-ABCs-AND-CLEVELAND-ELITES-OPENING-GAME-NEGRO-LEAGUE-PANORAMIC-PHOTO

It was sold again for a lot more money 4 years later by Robert Edward Auctions.

John R

More interestingly, there is a panoramic photo of the 1926 Cleveland Elites and their opponents, the Indianapolis ABCs, from that May 26 Opening Day extent. If I remember correctly (from trying to ID the players long ago), the Cleveland Elites had 15 players, including their manager, Candy Jim Taylor, and the ABCs had 16 including, their manager Elwood (Bingo) DeMoss. I count 19 guys in uniform for the 1926 Cleveland Elites' spring training bus photo. So somewhere between the first photo and the opening day photo, 3 or 4 guys got thrown off the Bus. Be interesting to know who they were. Also very curious in the Cleveland Elites bus photo is the last man to the right (not in uniform). Is this man on his knees or simply exceptionally short? Maybe some day a better copy of the bus picture will clear that up too.

John R

Generally, Negro League teams would go to Spring Training with a bunch of players, sometimes as many as 30 or so. Of course, Negro League Spring Training was not the same as Major League Spring Training (kind of the difference between a working vacation and an actual vacation). The Teams would then whittle the roster down until the actual season started. During the actual season, the roster limit was usually about 15 (in the 1920s and 1930s). The economics involved are somewhat interesting. The teams generally paid room and board (food) but not salaries in the early going. For minimal cost, the Teams got to look over some prospects. In 1926, opening day for the Cleveland Elites was May 26. This photo was published in the Defender on May 29. The Defender had a lag time of about a week for their Sports News. In other words, the photo was probably taken in Mid-May (or earlier) while the Cleveland Elites were still sorting through their prospective players.

Jay Caldwell

Gary,

This is a wonderful bit of research.

I count 22 men in the picture. Assuming one was the bus driver, one the owner, one a traveling secretary and one Candy Jim, that leaves 18 players - a high number for a Negro Leagues team. Even with a rotation of 37 players, I wouldn’t expect 18 to be on the roster at one time. Any explanation?

Bob Poet

Wow! Big doin's in 1926!

Kevin

Another St. Louis connection - The Dorris Motor Car Company was in St.Louis.

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