Chicago American Giants

The Chicago American Giants were a Chicago-based Negro league baseball team, owned and managed from 1911 to 1926 by player-manager Andrew "Rube" Foster. From 1910 until the mid-1930s, the American Giants were the most dominant team in black baseball. Charter members of Foster's Negro National League, the American Giants won five pennants in that league, along with another pennant in the 1932 Negro Southern League and a second-half championship in Gus Greenlee's Negro National League in 1934. The team ended in 1956.

Chicago American Giants
19101956
Chicago, Illinois
League affiliation(s)
Name(s)
  • Formed via split with Leland Giants
  • Leland Giants (II) (1910)
  • Cole's American Giants (1932-1935)
Ballpark(s)
Titles
League titles1920 • 1921 • 1922 • 19261927 • 1932 • 1933
Negro World Series titles19261927

Founding

In 1910, Foster, captain of the Chicago Leland Giants, wrested legal control of the name "Leland Giants" away from the team's owner, Frank Leland. That season, featuring Hall of Fame shortstop John Henry Lloyd, outfielder Pete Hill, second baseman Grant Johnson, catcher Bruce Petway, and pitcher Frank Wickware, the Leland Giants reportedly won 123 games while losing only 6. In 1911, Foster renamed the club the "American Giants."

Franchise continuum

The Chicago Unions and the Chicago Columbia Giants merged for the 1901 season creating the Chicago Union Giants, who later changed their name to the Leland Giants. The Leland Giants then split into two teams for the 1910 season creating the Chicago Giants and the new Leland Giants, who later changed their name to the Chicago American Giants.

Early dominance

Chicago American Giants 1919
1919 Chicago American Giants

Playing in spacious Schorling Park (formerly the home field of the American League's Chicago White Sox), Foster's club relied on fielding, pitching, speed, and "inside baseball" to succeed in the young Negro National League (NNL), winning championships in 1920, 1921, and 1922. When the Kansas City Monarchs supplanted the American Giants as the dominant team beginning in 1923, Foster tried rebuilding but by 1926 his health (physical and mental) was failing. Accordingly, his protégé Dave Malarcher took over on-field management of the team. Malarcher followed Foster's pattern, emphasizing pitching and defense, and led the American Giants back to the top-tier of the Negro leagues, winning pennants in 1926 and 1927. Both seasons also saw the American Giants defeat the Bacharach Giants of Atlantic City, champions of the Eastern Colored League, in the Negro League World Series.

Cole's American Giants

The NNL collapsed in 1931, and in 1932 the team won the Negro Southern League pennant as Cole's American Giants. The next season the American Giants joined the new Negro National League, losing the pennant to the Pittsburgh Crawfords in a controversial decision by league president Gus Greenlee (owner of the Crawfords). The 1933 season saw the Giants get kicked off of their home field after the end of May; the park owners preferred to use the land as a dog racing track for the remaining summer months. This forced the Giants to play the majority of their home games in Indianapolis for the balance of that season.[2] In 1934, the American Giants won the NNL's second-half title, then fell to the Philadelphia Stars in a seven-game playoff for the championship. In 1937, after a year spent playing as an independent club, the American Giants became a charter member of yet another circuit, the Negro American League.

Decline and demise

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe was appointed manager in 1950. The team's owner, Dr. J.B. Martin, was concerned about black players joining major league teams so he instructed Radcliffe to sign white players. Radcliffe recruited at least five young white players (Lou Chirban, Lou Clarizio, Al Dubetts, Frank Dyall, and Stanley Miarka).

Home fields

The Giants first played at South Side Park (III) (1920-1940) and Perry Stadium (Indianapolis) (1933), when South Side Park was briefly re-purposed mid-season in 1933. Finally, they shared Comiskey Park (I) (1941-1956), playing when the White Sox were on the road.[3]

MLB throwback jerseys

The Chicago White Sox have honored the Giants by wearing replica uniforms during regular-season baseball games on several occasions, including July 1, 2007 (at Kansas City), July 26, 2008 (at home vs. Detroit) and July 16, 2011 during the 9th Annual Negro League weekend at Detroit, where the home team also worn the jerseys of the Detroit Stars during the 17th Annual Negro League Tribute Game.[4]

Notable players

Hall of Famers

The following Chicago American Giants are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Other star players

References

  1. ^ Lowry, Philip J. (2006). Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks. New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 106–107. ISBN 0-8027-1562-1.
  2. ^ Lowry, Philip J. (2006). Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks. New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-8027-1562-1.
  3. ^ Lowry, Philip J. (2006). Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major League and Negro League Ballparks. New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 106–107. ISBN 0-8027-1562-1.
  4. ^ "Tigers host ninth annual Negro Leagues Weekend". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2011-07-17.

See also

Category:Chicago American Giants players - for a comprehensive list of players

External links

° Negro League Traveling Exhibit

Ben Taylor (Negro leagues)

Benjamin Harrison Taylor (July 1, 1888 – January 24, 1953) was an American first baseman and manager in baseball's Negro leagues. Taylor played for the Birmingham Giants, Chicago American Giants, Indianapolis ABC's, St. Louis Giants, Bacharach Giants, Washington Potomacs, Harrisburg Giants, and Baltimore Black Sox. His playing career played lasted from 1908 to 1929. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bill Foster (baseball)

William Hendrick Foster (June 12, 1904 – September 16, 1978) was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball's Negro leagues in the 1920s and 1930s, and had a career record of 143-69. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Foster was the much-younger half-brother of Rube Foster, a Negro league player, pioneer, and fellow Hall of Famer.

Cristóbal Torriente

Cristóbal Torriente (November 16, 1893 – April 11, 1938) was a Cuban outfielder in Negro league baseball with the Cuban Stars, All Nations, Chicago American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars. He played from 1912 to 1932. Torriente was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Dave Malarcher

David "Gentleman Dave" Julius Malarcher (October 18, 1894 – May 11, 1982) was an American third baseman in Negro league baseball. He played for the Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars, and Chicago American Giants from 1916 to 1934.

East–West All-Star Game

The East–West All-Star Game was an annual all-star game for Negro league baseball players. The game was the brainchild of Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords. In 1933 he decided to match the Major League Baseball All-Star Game with Negro league players. Newspaper balloting was set up to allow the fans to choose the starting lineups for that first game, a tradition that continued through the series' end in 1962. Unlike the white All-Star game which is played near the middle of the season, the Negro All-Star game was held toward the end of the season.

Because league structures were shaky during the Great Depression and also because certain teams (notably the Kansas City Monarchs and the Homestead Grays) sometimes played entirely independent of the leagues, votes were not counted by league, but by geographical location. Hence, the games were known as the East-West All-Star Games. Votes were tallied by two of the major African-American weekly newspapers of the day, the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier.

George Sweatt

George Alexander "Sharky" Sweatt (December 7, 1893 – July 19, 1983) was an American second baseman in Negro league baseball. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs and Chicago American Giants from 1922 to 1927.

John Henry Lloyd

John Henry "Pop" Lloyd (April 25, 1884 – March 19, 1964), nicknamed "El Cuchara", was an American baseball shortstop and manager in the Negro leagues. He is generally considered the greatest shortstop in Negro league history, and both Babe Ruth and Ted Harlow, a noted sportswriter, reportedly believed Lloyd to be the greatest baseball player ever.He was a heavy hitter, usually batting cleanup during his prime, but also knew how to play "inside baseball," and was an expert place-hitter and bunter. Lloyd was also a renowned shortstop, ranked by most experts as second only to Dick Lundy among black shortstops before integration, and was referred to as the "Black Wagner," a reference to Pittsburgh Pirates Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner. (On Lloyd, Wagner said "It's an honor to be compared to him.")Known for his gentlemanly conduct, Lloyd was probably the most sought-after African-American player of his generation. "Wherever the money was, that's where I was," he once said. His career record bears this out, showing him constantly moving from team to team.

Leland Giants

The Leland Giants, originally the Chicago Union Giants, were a Negro league baseball team that competed independently during the first decade of the 20th century. The team was formed via a merge of the Chicago Unions and the Chicago Columbia Giants in 1901, and then split in 1910 to form the Chicago Giants and what would become known as the Chicago American Giants. The team was named after its owner and manager, Frank Leland.

List of Negro league baseball champions

This List of Negro league baseball champions includes champions of black baseball prior to the organization of any traditional Negro league and goes through to the collapse of segregated baseball after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line in 1946. Champions include self-declared, regional and (later) league champions, but is limited to top-tier teams and major Negro leagues. The champions listed after 1948 through the 1950s are listed for posterity, but the quality of play had deteriorated so far as to only incidentally be covered by contemporary media or historians.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

This list consists of players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

Player inducted as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

This list consists of players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

Player inducted as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

This list consists of players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

Player inducted as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

This list consists of players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

List of Negro league baseball players (A–D)

List of Negro league baseball players (E–L)

List of Negro league baseball players (M–R)

List of Negro league baseball players (S–Z)

Player inducted as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Mule Suttles

George "Mule" Suttles (March 31, 1901 – July 9, 1966) was an American first baseman and outfielder in Negro league baseball, most prominently with the Birmingham Black Barons, St. Louis Stars and Newark Eagles. Best known for his power hitting, Suttles was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Negro National League (1920–1931)

The Negro National League (NNL) was one of the several Negro leagues which were established during the period in the United States in which organized baseball was segregated.

Pete Hill

John Preston "Pete" Hill (October 12, 1882 – November 19, 1951) was an American outfielder and manager in baseball's Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925. He played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. Hill starred for teams owned by Negro league executive Rube Foster for much of his playing career.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rube Foster

Andrew "Rube" Foster (September 17, 1879 – December 9, 1930) was an American baseball player, manager, and executive in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

Foster, considered by historians to have been perhaps the best African-American pitcher of the first decade of the 1900s, also founded and managed the Chicago American Giants, one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. Most notably, he organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931. He is known as the "father of Black Baseball."Foster adopted his longtime nickname, "Rube", as his official middle name later in life.

Turkey Stearnes

Norman Thomas "Turkey" Stearnes (May 8, 1901 – September 4, 1979) was an African American outfielder in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Willie Wells

Willie James Wells (August 10, 1906 – January 22, 1989), nicknamed "The Devil," was an American baseball player. He was a shortstop who played from 1924-48 for various teams in the Negro leagues and in Latin America.

Wells was a fast baserunner who hit for both power and average. He was at his finest with his glove, committing almost no errors and having the speed to run down anything that came in his direction. He is widely considered the best black shortstop of his day. He also taught Jackie Robinson how to turn a double play.Wells was also notable as being the first player to use a batting helmet, after being hit and getting a concussion while playing with the Newark Eagles. (His first helmet was a construction helmet.)

He is a member of the baseball halls of fame in the United States, Cuba and Mexico.

Chicago American Giants 1926 Colored World Series Champions
Chicago American Giants 1927 Colored World Series Champions

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