Larry Lester is the CEO of NoirTech Research, Inc. Mr. Lester studies and writes about the African-American experience in all sports before 1949. He is the author of eight books and the editor of The Negro Leagues Courier, the newsletter of SABR’s Negro League Committee. Since 1998, he has hosted the annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, the only academic symposium to examine the social content of black baseball and its impact on race relations worldwide. www.larrylester42.com
Nicknames: Red, Bill, or Chinky
Born: August 2, 1922, in Manassas, VA
Died: June 4, 2004, in Manassas, VA
Ht: 6 feet, 3 inches, Wt: 220 lbs.
Batted and threw right
Position: pitcher, third base, and outfield
Career: Negro Leagues: 1940–42, 1946–50, Minor Leagues: 1952, 1956–57
Military Service: 1943–45
I have been prompted by the question, “What has been the most influential baseball book in your life?” There have been so many, including Ed Linn’s Veeck as in Wreck, Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer, and Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Our Times.
Minnie Minoso was born Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta in the sugarcane village of Perico, Matanzas, Cuba. As a juvenile, he was often confused with his older brothers who shared the surname of Minoso, inherited from his mother’s first marriage. ’Nino Armas eventually submitted to constant comparisons to his older ball-playing brothers and proudly adopted the Minoso surname.
Alexander (Alec or Alex) Radcliffe—1927–47—ss, 3b, Chicago Giants, Cole’s American Giants, Chicago American Giants, New York Cubans, Kansas City Monarchs, Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns, Memphis Red Sox, Birmingham Black Barons, Detroit Senators
At one time, pitcher Chet Brewer was on the short list of candidates for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. However, time has dulled the memories of this hurler’s exploits on the mound, with his name seldom mentioned in the barbershops and boardrooms of Cooperstown. In October 1989, I interviewed the debonair Mr. Brewer about life on the road during the embryonic days of night baseball.
My most desired time-machine dream game happened on August 2, 1930, between the Kansas City Monarchs and the Homestead Grays. On a hot, humid summer night in Kansas City, Missouri, two men, one with smoke and the other with fire, engaged in a wild, free-swinging 12-inning contest that would result in a total of 46 strikeouts. Neither man blinked as they mowed down hitter after hitter in one of the first night games ever played in professional baseball.
But who were these guys?
Satchel Paige’s actual birthday remains as mysterious as Satchel wanted it to be. Paige once said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” In 1948, Bill Veeck signed Paige to play for the Cleveland Indians, which happened on the day Satchel turned 42. What a nice birthday present for all baseball fans to see this legendary, almost mythical figure from the all-black leagues. But was he the real deal?
Dave Malarcher was one of eleven children born to Martha and Henry Louis Malarcher on Charbone’s sugar and rice plantation near the Whitehall community in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Whitehall is about 50 miles southeast of Baton Rouge and 70 miles northwest of New Orleans, just down the road on Highway 22 south of Tiger Bluff Landing and Catfish Landing. While dad was a laborer, his mother was a midwife and she taught community children, including her own, how to read, write, and think.