Cool Papa Bell

James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell (May 17, 1903 – March 7, 1991) was an American center fielder in Negro league baseball from 1922 to 1946. He is considered to have been one of the fastest men ever to play the game. Stories demonstrating Bell's speed are still widely circulated. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He ranked 66th on a list of the greatest baseball players published by The Sporting News in 1999.

James "Cool Papa" Bell
Cool-papa-bell
Center fielder
Born: May 17, 1903
Starkville, Mississippi
Died: March 7, 1991 (aged 87)
St. Louis, Missouri
Batted: Switch Threw: Left
Negro leagues debut
1922, for the St. Louis Stars
Last appearance
1946, for the Homestead Grays
Negro leagues statistics
Batting average.328
Home runs73
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1974
Election MethodNegro Leagues Committee

Early life

Bell was born May 17, 1903, in Starkville, Mississippi to Jonas Bell and Mary Nichols.[1] The 1910 U.S. Census shows him as the fourth of seven children living with his widowed mother, Mary Nichols, in Sessums Township, just outside Starkville. His brother Fred Bell also played baseball. As a teenager, Bell worked at the creamery at what is now Mississippi State University and at the school's agricultural experiment station.[1]

At the age of 17, he moved to St. Louis to live with older brothers and attend high school. However, rather than attending night school as planned, Bell spent most of his time playing baseball in the neighborhood.[1] He signed as a knuckleball pitcher with the Compton Hill Cubs, a black semipro baseball team, until the team broke up in August 1921. He played with Compton Hill on Sundays and holidays while he worked for a packing company during the week. For 1922, Bell moved to the East St. Louis Cubs, a semipro team that paid him $20 weekly to pitch on Sundays.[2]

Baseball career

Negro National League and East-West League

1936 Negro League All-Star Game
Bell at the 1936 East–West All-Star Game

Bell joined the St. Louis Stars of the Negro National League (NNL) as a pitcher in 1922. Bell earned his nickname in his first Negro league season; he was referred to as "Cool" after striking out standout player Oscar Charleston and added "Papa" to the nickname because it sounded better.[3] At first, Bell made only occasional appearances in the outfield. By 1924, at the urging of manager Bill Gatewood, Bell began working on his defensive skills and appearing more in the outfield.[4]

Bell ultimately made a permanent move to center field and stopped pitching. Before becoming an outfielder, Bell batted right-handed and threw left-handed. His transition to the outfield was aided by learning to bat as a switch hitter. When he batted left-handed, his baserunning speed was even more problematic for opponents because he was a couple of steps closer to first base. Biographer Shaun McCormack points out that Bell did not have a strong throwing arm. However, Bell's speed allowed him to play very shallow in the outfield and to still catch balls that were hit behind him.[5]

Pitchers tried to avoid issuing walks to Bell, because he was often able to steal both second base and third base, scoring a run on the next play. Bell could also sometimes score a run if he was on first base and the batter got a base hit.[6] Bell described the style of play on the occasions when the Negro league players faced white teams in exhibitions: "We played a different kind of baseball than the white teams. We played tricky baseball. We did things they didn't expect. We'd bunt and run in the first inning. Then when they would come in for a bunt we'd hit away. We always crossed them up. We'd run the bases hard and make the fielders throw too quick and make wild throws. We'd fake a steal home and rattle the pitcher into a balk."[7]

Bell led the Stars to league titles in 1928, 1930, and 1931. While with the Stars, he played alongside close friend and shortstop Willie Wells and first baseman Mule Suttles.[8] He moved to the Detroit Wolves of the East-West League when the NNL disbanded. The Wolves were owned by former Negro league star Cumberland Posey and they jumped to a first-place lead with a 29–13 win-loss record before the league disbanded. Attendance figures had remained too low in the wake of the Great Depression.[9]

Bell bounced to the Kansas City Monarchs and the Mexican winter leagues until finding a home with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the reorganized NNL. In Pittsburgh, he played with Ted Page and Jimmie Crutchfield to form what is considered by many to have been the best outfield in the Negro leagues. On the 1936 Crawfords team, Bell was one of six players who were subsequently inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.[10]

Latin America

Bell left the Crawfords in 1937 when owner Gus Greenlee defaulted on player salaries. Bell, Satchel Paige and other Crawfords players went to the Dominican Republic to play on a team assembled by dictator Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo felt that a baseball championship would strengthen his ruling power and he kept the players under armed supervision.[11] Outside of Negro league players, the club featured Puerto Rican star Petrucho Cepeda, father of future Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. They were led by Cuban manager Lázaro Salazar, who was later elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.[12]

While playing for Trujillo, the team members began to fear that losing might threaten their lives. Author Mark Ribowsky describes an experience with the team that was related to him by Crutchfield. After one loss, the players were said to have been met at the hotel by an Army officer who warned the team not to lose again, firing gunshots at the walls of the hotel courtyard. Bell was said to have been crying and wanting to leave the Dominican Republic. One of the Cubans on the team later denied any incidents involving gunfire, and Ribowsky points out that even Paige's detailed writings never mentioned actual gunfire.[12]

Ultimately, the team won the league championship, finishing ahead of two other clubs by four games or less. The second-place team featured several Negro league players, Cuban star Luis Tiant, Sr. and manager Martin Dihigo, a future Hall of Famer. The third-place club was intentionally composed of mostly Dominican players and only two Negro leaguers were on its roster. Trujillo was disappointed that a $30,000 team of Americans had barely beaten the competition, so his league was disbanded the next year and no organized baseball was played in the Dominican Republic for 12 years.[12]

Bell went to the Mexican League, which was integrated, between 1938 and 1941. He spent the first two seasons with the team in Tampico, hitting for batting averages of .356 and .354. He split the 1940 season between teams in Torreón and Veracruz.[13] In that season, Bell became the first Mexican League player to win the Triple Crown, leading the league with a .437 batting average, 12 home runs, and 79 runs batted in. He finished that year with 167 hits and eight of his home runs were inside-the-park home runs.[14] Veracruz won the pennant that year. He spent his last Mexican League season in Monterrey. His career Mexican League batting average was .367.[13]

Return to the United States

Bell came back to the United States in 1942 to play for the Chicago American Giants of the Negro American League. He joined the Homestead Grays in the NNL in 1943. The Grays won league championships in Bell's first two seasons. In an attempt at a third consecutive title in 1945, the Grays lost in the league's World Series. The 43-year-old hit .396 for the 1946 Grays. Bell became a player-manager for Negro league farm teams until 1950. He finished his Negro league career with a .341 batting average; he hit .391 in exhibitions against MLB players. Bell was a part-time scout for the St. Louis Browns from 1951 to 1954, when the team moved to Baltimore.[13]

Though statistics were not meticulously maintained for most of Bell's career, it is clear that he was known as one of the best players in Negro league baseball. As Paige noted in his autobiography, Maybe I'll Pitch Forever, "If schools had known Cool Papa was around and if Cool Papa had known reading real good, he'd have made the best track man you ever saw."[15] Anecdotes about Bell's speed are still widely circulated; some are not easily believable, while others are thought to be true. Paige liked to refer to a story from one hotel at which he and Bell stayed. There was a short delay between flipping the light switch off and the lights actually going off due to faulty wiring, sufficient for Bell to jump into bed in the interim. Leaving out the explanatory details, Paige liked to say that Bell was so fast he could turn off the light and be under the covers before the room got dark. Legend also holds that Bell hit a ball up the middle of the field and that he was struck by the ball as he slid into second base.[16]

In Ken Burns' Baseball, Bell was described as being so fast that he once scored from first on a sacrifice bunt. In an exhibition game against white all-stars, Bell is said to have broken for second on a bunt and run with Paige at the plate. By the time the ball reached Paige, Bell was almost to second and rounded the bag, seeing the third baseman had broken towards home to field the bunt. The catcher, Roy Partee of the Boston Red Sox, ran to third to cover the bag and an anticipated return throw from first. To his surprise, Bell rounded third and brushed by him on the way home; pitcher Murry Dickson of the St. Louis Cardinals had not thought to cover home with the catcher moving up the line, and Bell scored standing up.[17] Bell once circled the bases in 13.1 seconds on a soggy field in Chicago; he claimed that he had done it in as few as 12 seconds in dry conditions.[16]

Teammate Ted Page commented on the clean off-the-field lifestyle that Bell lived. He said that Bell was "an even better man off the field than he was on it. He was honest. He was kind. He was a clean liver. In fact, in all of the years I've known him, I've never seen him smoke, take a drink or even say one cuss word."[18]

Later life and legacy

Row Houses on James Cool Papa Bell Ave
Row of houses along James "Cool Papa" Bell Avenue

After Bell's playing and managing days were over, Bell lived in an old red-brick apartment in St. Louis.[1] He worked as a scout for the St. Louis Browns for four years,[3] then he served as a security officer and custodian at St. Louis City Hall until 1970.[19] He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. His Hall of Fame plaque highlights the fact that Bell's contemporaries regarded him as the fastest runner on the base paths.[10] He was the fifth Negro league player inducted into the Hall of Fame.[1] Negro league players Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin and Buck Leonard were inducted between 1971 and 1973.[20]

Bellcoolpapa1987
Mike Shannon interviewing James "Cool Papa" Bell in 1986.

Bell suffered a heart attack and he died at Saint Louis University Hospital on March 7, 1991; his wife Clara had died a few weeks earlier.[21] In his honor, Dickson Street, on which he lived, was renamed James "Cool Papa" Bell Avenue. He was also inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[22] Cool Papa Bell Drive is the road leading into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson, of which he is a member. The St. Louis Cardinals have recognized Bell's contributions by erecting a bronze statue of him outside Busch Stadium along with other Hall of Fame St. Louis baseball stars, including Stan Musial, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.

References to Bell appeared in Hanging Curve by Troy Soos, a 1999 novel about the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. He was also noted in the 1994 movie Cobb, in which Ty Cobb, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is chided for being a lesser player than Bell. His character makes a brief appearance in the 2009 feature film The Perfect Game, encouraging and aiding the 1957 Little League World Series champion team from Monterrey, Mexico; the role is played by Lou Gossett Jr.[23]

In 1999, Bell was ranked 66th on The Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Players,[24] one of five players so honored who played all or most of his career in the Negro leagues, and was nominated for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.[25]

He is the subject of the song "Cool Papa Bell" on Paul Simon's 13th studio album Stranger to Stranger.

He was named to the Washington Nationals Ring of Honor for his "significant contribution to the game of baseball in Washington, D.C" as part of the Homestead Grays on August 10, 2010.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Rogers, William. "Cool Papa Bell". Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  2. ^ McCormack, pp. 20–21.
  3. ^ a b Mandel, Ken. "Speed to Burn". MLB.com. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  4. ^ McCormack, p. 26.
  5. ^ McCormack, pp. 28–29.
  6. ^ McCormack, p. 31.
  7. ^ McCormack, p. 35.
  8. ^ McCormack, p. 32.
  9. ^ "Detroit Wolves". Negro League Baseball Players Association. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Bell, Cool Papa". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  11. ^ Pacelle, Richard. "Cool Papa Bell". American National Biography. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Ribowsky, Mark (2000). Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. Da Capo Press. pp. 154–157. ISBN 030680963X.
  13. ^ a b c Gates, Henry Louis, Brooks Higginbotham, Evelyn (2004). African American Lives. Oxford University Press. pp. 67–68. ISBN 019988286X.
  14. ^ Rubio, Jesus Alberto. "Luis Terrero" (in Spanish). reydelosdeportes.com. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  15. ^ Paige, Leroy (Satchel) (1993). Maybe I'll Pitch Forever. University of Nebraska Press. p. 50. ISBN 0803287321.
  16. ^ a b Kram, Mark (June 20, 1994). "No Place In The Shade". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  17. ^ Lew Freedman (2007). African American Pioneers of Baseball: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 48. ISBN 0313338515.
  18. ^ Bak, Richard (1995). Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars: The Negro Leagues in Detroit, 1919–1933. Wayne State University Press. p. 155. ISBN 0814325823.
  19. ^ "James "Cool Papa" Bell". Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  20. ^ Singer, Tom. "Teddy Ballgame makes difference for Negro Leaguers to enter Hall". MLB.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  21. ^ ""Cool Papa" Bell was a Noble Man". Eugene Register-Guard. March 9, 1991. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  22. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  23. ^ Phillips, Michael (April 15, 2010). "'Perfect Game': Real-life baseball fable turns into an easy out". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  24. ^ "100 Greatest Baseball Players by The Sporting News : A Legendary List by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  25. ^ "The All-Century Team". MLB.com. Retrieved September 20, 2013.

References

  • McCormack, Shaun. Cool Papa Bell. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2002.

External links

1943 Negro World Series

In the 1943 Negro World Series, the Washington Homestead Grays, champions of the Negro National League beat the Birmingham Black Barons, champions of the Negro American League, four games to three, with one tie. The games were played in seven different cities.Game 1: September 21st, 1943. This game was played at Griffith Stadium in Washington DC, home stadium of the Grays and the Washington Senators. The pitching match-up would see Alfred Saylor pitch a 5 hitter for the Barons, while the Grays' Johnny Wright and Ray Brown would give up 11 hits. The Barons struck first in the top of the 1st inning when Felix McLaurin hit a double past Grays' 1st baseman Buck Leonard. Tommy Sampson hit a single to right field, scoring McLaurin, and then was thrown out trying to steal second. Clyde "Little Splo" Spearman hit a double, advanced on a Piper Davis single, and then scored after Grays' catcher Josh Gibson boggled a low pitch after he slipped in the mud.In the bottom of the 1st, Cool Papa Bell hit a triple for the Grays and then scored on a Buck Leonard sacrifice fly. The score stood 2-1 with the Barons in the lead heading into the 2nd. In the 4th, Barons' outfielder Lester Lockett doubled and scored on a Leonard "Sloppy" Lindsay single, bringing the score to 3-1. The next score would come in the top of the 7th, when both Hoss "Horse" Walker and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe singled to reach base. Grays' shortstop, Sam Bankhead boggled a grounder by McLaurin which would allow Walker to score. The game stood at 4-1 going into the 9th inning. The Grays had a late 9th inning surge. With one out, Saylor ended up walking both Leonard and Gibson. Howard Easterling stepped up and hit a single, which would score Leonard. However Easterling tried to turn his single into a double and was tagged out on his way to second. Sam Bankhead hit a fly ball and became the 3rd out. The Birmingham Barons had won game one 4-2.

1974 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1974 followed the system in place since 1971.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected two, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected three people: Jim Bottomley, Jocko Conlan, and Sam Thompson.

The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected Cool Papa Bell.

Bill Blair (Negro leagues pitcher)

William "Bill" Blair (October 17, 1921 – April 20, 2014) was a Negro league pitcher.Blair graduated Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas and briefly attended Prairie View A&M University. He began his baseball career at the age of 16, playing for a barnstorming team in Mineola, Texas, and went on to join the United States Army, where he became the youngest African American to serve as a first sergeant in the Army during World War II.

He pitched from 1946 to 1951, for teams including the Indianapolis Clowns, Cincinnati Crescents, and was a player-manager for the Dallas Black Giants. He played against players such as Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, and Hilton Smith. After retiring from baseball, he became a fixture in the community, running a local newspaper, the Elite News, and organizing golf tournaments and parades. He died in Campbell, Texas in 2014.

Brooklyn Bushwicks

The Brooklyn Bushwicks were an independent, semi-professional baseball team that played its games almost totally in Dexter Park in Queens from 1913 to 1951. They were unique at their time for fielding multi-ethnic rosters. They played what amounts to exhibition games against barnstorming Negro league teams, minor league baseball teams, and other semi-pro teams. The Bushwicks were owned by Max Rosner, who hired many former major league to play on his club, including Dazzy Vance and others. Many of the famous players of the time came to play exhibitions at Dexter Park including Dizzy Dean, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe Medwick. Until he became friends with Rosner, Ruth demanded upfront payments in cash before agreeing to personal appearances. The DiMaggio picture was taken during his debut year with Yankees.

The great black stars, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and many others often opposed the Bushwicks. The team appeared on New York City television and on radio as well. The team's picture appeared in three different Spaulding Guides. A book on the Bushwicks by Thomas Barthel entitled, "Baseball's Peerless Semipros: The Brooklyn Bushwicks of Dexter Park," was published in 2009.

Cecil Kaiser

Cecil Kaiser (June 27, 1916 in New York, New York, USA – February 14, 2011 in Michigan, USA) was a Negro league baseball pitcher, outfielder, and first baseman.

In the course of his career Kaiser played for the Detroit Stars, the Motor City Giants, the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords and on various Latin American and Canadian teams. With the Homestead Grays he played with great players such as hall of famers Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell.

He started his career as a 5-foot-6, 165-pound outfielder. He eventually became a left-handed pitcher after his team suffered a series of injuries. He was known as a strikeout pitcher with a good fastball and an assortment of off-speed pitches. He was nicknamed the "Minute Man" as it took him about one minute to strike out batters and as the "Aspirin Tablet Man" for throwing pitches that resembled aspirin tablets. During perhaps his best season, the winter ball season of 1949-1950, he posted a league-leading 1.68 ERA in the Puerto Rican League.Kaiser died after a fall at his home in Southfield, Michigan. It is believed that he may have been the oldest living Negro League player still alive at the time of his death.

Center fielder

A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

Cienfuegos (Cuban League baseball club)

The Petroleros de Cienfuegos (Cienfuegos Oilers) first participated in the Cuban Professional League championship during the 1926-27 season. Although representing the south coast city of Cienfuegos, the team played their home games in Havana. Cienfuegos did not play in the 1927-28 season, contending again from 1928-29 through 1930-31. After eight long years of absence, Cienfuegos reappeared in the 1939-40 tournament. In the 1949-50 season, the team was renamed as the Elefantes de Cienfuegos (Cienfuegos Elephants). "The pace of the elephant is slow but crushing", exclaimed the slogan of the Cienfuegos franchise that contended until the 1960-61 season. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, political tensions rose with the Fidel Castro government. In March 1961, one month after the regular season ended, the new Cuban regime decreed the abolition of professional baseball in Cuba.

In 26 Championships in which Cienfuegos participated, the team won five league titles in 1929-30, 1945–46, 1955–56, 1959–60 and 1960–61, finishing second 6 times, third 7 times, and fourth 8 times, posting a 732-793 record for a .480 average. Cienfuegos also won the Caribbean Series in 1956 and 1960.

Some notable Cienfuegos players include George Altman, José Azcue, Gene Bearden, Cool Papa Bell, Bob Boyd, Leo Cárdenas, Sandalio Consuegra, Martín Dihigo, Tony González, Adolfo Luque, Sal Maglie, Seth Morehead, Ray Noble, Alejandro Oms, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Cookie Rojas, Napoleón Reyes, and Willie Wells.

Detroit Wolves

The Detroit Wolves were a Negro league baseball club that played for the 1932 season only.

East–West League

The East–West League was an American Negro baseball league that operated during the period when professional baseball in the United States was segregated. Cum Posey organized the league in 1932, but it did not last the full year and folded in June of that year. It was the first Negro league to include teams from both the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Although the league lasted less than one season, it featured one of the strongest teams in the history of Negro league baseball, the Detroit Wolves. The league provided a foundation for the development of the second Negro National League, which would become the premier league for African American baseball players.

Felton Snow

Felton Snow (October 23, 1905 – July 1974) was a Negro League professional baseball player who played for the Nashville Elite Giants that later became the Columbus Elite Giants, the Washington Elite Giants, and the Baltimore Elite Giants. Mr. Snow played on the West Squad in the East-West All-Star games of 1935 and 1936. In 1940, he became a player-manager for the Baltimore Elite Giants.

Felton Snow was born in Alabama in 1905 and moved to Louisville, Kentucky as a youngster. In 1929, he began playing for different Louisville ballclubs and eventually joined Tom Wilson's Nashville Elites. Felton Snow was known as a solid hitter, a good fielder and baserunner. Eventually, Mr. Snow became the Elite Giants' stand out third baseman. He would bat .301 in 1939 and he played in two Negro League All-Star games. In the 1935 All-Star game, he batted .670. His 1936 West All-Star team included such stars as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell.

During the 1940s he did double duty by managing and playing for the Baltimore Elite Giants. In seven seasons as manager-player he batted .333, .227, .269, .200, .270, .245, and .306. Felton Snow retired from baseball in 1950 with over 21 years of playing time.

After he retired from baseball, Mr. Snow returned to Louisville, Kentucky and worked for the local armory. Following a work injury, he took a job at the Hubbard's Lane Barber Shop where he worked until his death in 1974 at the age of 69.

Since 1987, there has been a Felton Snow baseball team in the St. Matthews, Kentucky Little League Baseball program.

Fred Bell (baseball)

Fred "Lefty" Bell (1902 - ?) was an American baseball pitcher in the Negro Leagues. He played from 1923 to 1927, and again in 1932, playing with several teams. He was the brother of Cool Papa Bell.

Legacy Awards (NLBM)

The Legacy Awards are presented annually by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) to the best players, managers, and executives in each league of Major League Baseball, for on- and off-the-field achievement. The awards—for performance and achievement—are named for legendary players of Negro Leagues Baseball. The awards were first presented for the 2000 Major League Baseball season.The first Legacy Awards—in 2000—were presented in November at the "Legacy 2000 Players’ Reunion and Awards Banquet", which was organized to honor the tenth anniversary of the opening of the museum and the eightieth anniversary of the establishment of the Negro National League. For the next nine years (2001–2009), each year's awards were presented at a banquet in January or February of the following year. In 2010, there was no banquet. Instead, the awards were presented at separate events at the museum and in various major-league ballparks through the spring of 2011. The twelfth annual awards (for 2011) were presented at an awards banquet on January 28, 2012.In January, 2013 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick announced that the 2013 awards banquet would be the final one held. All further awards will be presented to the 2010 awards, at various MLB ballparks or if the award winner happens to be in Kansas City with his team to play against the Royals. The logistics of off-season travel were the primary reason cited by Kendrick for the permanent change. Indeed, of all those honored for their 2012 season only the Padres Everth Cabrera, traveling from his off-season home in Nicaragua, was able to make it to Kansas City for the January 12th banquet and presentation. Previously, the proceeds from the Legacy Awards annual banquet were used for the benefit of the museum.

Neale Henderson

Neale Henderson (June 24, 1930 – December 27, 2018) was an American Negro League Baseball shortstop. Henderson batted and threw right handed. He was nicknamed "Bobo".Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Henderson moved with his family to San Diego, California in 1941. In there, he honed his skills at San Diego High School, where he excelled in baseball, football and track and field, winning three titles as an infielder for the Coast League Baseball champion team and two titles as the starting quarterback of the Coast League Football squad, becoming the first African-American quarterback to earn that accomplishment.His introduction to the Negro Leagues came early on in 1937, when he was seven years old, and was used as a batboy for the Kansas City Monarchs in an exhibition game against the Homestead Grays in Fort Smith.After graduating in 1949, Henderson signed with the Abilene Ikes, a farm team for the Monarchs. He was promoted to the big team in 1950, where he moved to outfield to make room for a shortstop prospect named Ernie Banks. Henderson was a competent outfielder for the Monarchs during two seasons. In addition, he played from 1951 through 1953 for the Kansas City Travelers, an independent club managed by Cool Papa Bell.Henderson ended his baseball career when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

At this time, he played for baseball and football teams at Camp Roberts in California and Fort Lewis in Washington. Following his discharge, he worked for 39 years at General Dynamics as a supervisor.In 2008, Major League Baseball staged a Special Draft of the surviving Negro League players, doing a tribute for the surviving Negro Leaguers who were kept out of the Big Leagues because of their race. Hall of Fame Baseball player Dave Winfield hatched the idea to have this draft, and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon also spearheaded the event, which was held before the 2008 MLB Draft. MLB clubs each selected a former NLB player, and Henderson was drafted as a shortstop by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.In 2014, Henderson was honored at Petco Park on African American Heritage Night. After the ceremony, he explained in a TV interview about playing in the Negro Leagues.Henderson died in 2018 in San Diego, California, at the age of 88.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is a privately funded museum dedicated to preserving the history of Negro league baseball in America. It was founded in 1990 in Kansas City, Missouri, in the historic 18th & Vine District, the hub of African-American cultural activity in Kansas City during the first half of the 20th century. The NLBM shares its building with the American Jazz Museum.

Oktoc, Mississippi

Oktoc is an unincorporated community in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. Once known as "The Dairy Capital of the South," Oktoc is now home to several defunct dairy farms including Oak Ayr and Mactoc Farms, the largest two in the community. Oktoc has the oldest community club in the state and has not missed one single meeting since its beginning in 1927.Oktoc was served by East Oktibbeha High School, which was formed by the consolidation of B.L. Moor High School and Alexander High School until it was merged with Starkville High School in 2015. Moor High was the Alma mater of Jerry Rice. Oktoc was also the home of baseball player Fred Bell and his brother James "Cool Papa" Bell, one of the fastest baseball players of all time.

Oscar Charleston

Oscar McKinley Charleston (October 14, 1896 – October 5, 1954) was an American center fielder and manager in Negro league baseball. In 1915, after serving three years in the U.S. Army, the Indianapolis, Indiana, native continued his baseball career as a professional with the Indianapolis ABCs; his career ended in 1954 as a player-manager for the Indianapolis Clowns. In addition to a forty-three-year career with more than a dozen teams, including the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, Negro league baseball's leading teams in the 1930s, he played nine winter seasons in Cuba and in numerous exhibition games against white major leaguers. Charleston was known for his strengths as a hitter and center fielder. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

Highlights of Charleston's career included playing in the Negro National League's inaugural doubleheader on May 20, 1920. His most productive season was with the Saint Louis Giants in 1921, when he hit fifteen home runs, twelve triples, and seventeen doubles, stole thirty-one bases, and had a .437 batting average. In 1933 Charleston played in the first Negro National League All-Star Game at Chicago's Comiskey Park and appeared in the League's 1934 and 1935 all-star games. In 1945 Charleston became manager of the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers and helped recruit black ballplayers such as Roy Campanella to join the first integrated Major League Baseball teams.

Papa (nickname)

Papa is a nickname which may refer to:

Cool Papa Bell (1903–1991), African-American Negro league baseball player, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Papa Bue (1930–2011), Danish jazz trombonist and bandleader

Papa Bouba Diop (born 1978), Senegalese footballer

Louis Faury (1874–1947), French general nicknamed "Papa Faury"

Michele Greco (1924–2008), Sicilian Mafia member nicknamed "il Papa" ("the Pope")

Paul Hausser (1880–1972), German World War II Waffen SS officer

Papa Haydn (1732–1809), Austrian composer Joseph Haydn

Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961), American author and journalist

Walter Hörnlein (1893–1961), German World War II general

Joseph Joffre (1852–1931), French World War I general nicknamed "Papa Joffre"

Papa Charlie McCoy (1909–1950), African-American delta blues musician and songwriter

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (born 1988), Greek footballer

Scott Steiner (born 1962) American professional wrestler nicknamed "Big Poppa Pump"

Friedrich Graf von Wrangel (1784–1877), Prussian Army Generalfeldmarschall nicknamed "Papa Wrangel"

Ray Brown (Negro leagues pitcher)

Raymond Brown (February 23, 1908 – February 8, 1965) was an American right-handed pitcher in Negro league baseball, almost exclusively for the Homestead Grays. Brown was most notable for many pitching accomplishments. While he was considered a very good pinch hitter and a solid bat, his arm earned him high praise. In February 2006, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

St. Louis Stars (baseball)

The St. Louis Stars, originally the St. Louis Giants, were a Negro league baseball team that competed independently from as early as 1906 to 1919, and then joined the Negro National League (NNL) for the duration of their existence. After the 1921 season, the Giants were sold by African-American promoter Charlie Mills to Dick Kent and Dr. Sam Sheppard, who built a new park and renamed the club the Stars. As the Stars, they eventually built one of the great dynasties in Negro league history, winning three pennants in four years from 1928 to 1931.

BBWAA Vote
Veterans Committee
Negro League Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Pitchers
Catchers
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Shortstops
Outfielders
Designated hitters
Managers
Executives /
pioneers
Umpires

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