Cyclone Joe Williams

Joseph Williams (April 6, 1886 – February 25, 1951), nicknamed "Cyclone Joe" or "Smokey Joe", was an American right-handed pitcher in the Negro leagues. He is widely recognized as one of the game's greatest pitchers, even though he never played a game in the major leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Cyclone Joe Williams
Williams Cyclone Joe
Born: April 6, 1886
Seguin, Texas
Died: February 25, 1951 (aged 64)
New York City
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Negro leagues debut
1907, San Antonio Black Bronchos
Last appearance
1932, Detroit Wolves
As Player
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
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Early life

Williams was born in Seguin, Texas; one of his parents was African American and the other was a Comanche Indian. He grew up to become an outstanding baseball pitcher, but as his path to the major leagues was barred by the color line, Williams spent his entire 27-year career (1905–32) pitching in the Negro leagues, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Cyclone / Smokey

During Williams' years in New York, he acquired the nickname "Cyclone Joe", or simply "Cyclone", frequently being listed in box scores solely by that name. After joining the Homestead Grays in the late 1920s, his nickname became "Smokey Joe", and the older "Cyclone" appellation was rarely used after that.

Playing career

Smokey Joe Williams
Joe Williams with the Lincoln Giants

He entered professional baseball in 1905 with the San Antonio Black Bronchos, and was an immediate star, posting records of 28-4, 15-9, 20-8, 20-2 and 32-8. After that, the Chicago Giants, a team higher in the pecking order of black baseball, acquired him.[1] In 1910, the Giants owner Frank Leland pronounced him the best pitcher in baseball, in any league.

In 1911, Williams joined the Lincoln Giants of New York, helping that club become one of the premier African-American teams of the era. When manager John Henry Lloyd departed in 1914, Williams took over as playing manager, a post he held through the 1923 season. After the Lincolns finished an ignominious fifth (out of six teams) in the Eastern Colored League's inaugural season, Williams was released in the spring of 1924.

He joined the Brooklyn Royal Giants for a season, then signed with the independent Homestead Grays, where, except for a brief turn with the Detroit Wolves in 1932, he spent the rest of his career in top-level black baseball. Records are sketchy, but in 1914, Williams was credited with winning a total of 41 games against just three losses. In 1929, playing for the Grays in the American Negro League at the age of 43, Williams won 12 games and lost seven.

Barnstorming exhibitions

Although barred from the major leagues, Williams pitched many games against major-league stars in post-season barnstorming exhibitions. He proved to be as tough against them as he was against the Negro leaguers, posting a 20-7 record in these games. Among his victims were Grover Alexander, Walter Johnson, Chief Bender, Rube Marquard, and Waite Hoyt, all Hall of Famers. Three different times, he faced the eventual National League champions. He won two of those games and lost the third, 1-0 to the 1917 New York Giants despite throwing a no-hitter.


1930-31 Homstead Grays
Williams (standing, center) with 1931 Grays

On August 2, 1930, at age 44, he struck out 27 Kansas City Monarchs in a 1–0, 12-inning, one-hit night game victory. His mound opponent, Chet Brewer, struck out 19 men.[4] That same year, he beat a younger Negro league star who was just bursting into superstardom, Leroy (Satchel) Paige, also by 1–0, in their only meeting against one another. Williams retired from baseball two years later.


Williams died at age 64 in New York City.


There was a "Smokey Joe Williams Day" at the Polo Grounds in 1950.

Considerable debate existed and still exists over whether Williams or Paige was the greatest of the Negro league pitchers. Most modern sources lean toward Paige, but in 1952, a poll taken by the Pittsburgh Courier named Williams the greatest pitcher in Negro league history.

In 1999, after extensive research on the early years of black baseball revealed his outstanding record, Williams was selected for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bill James ranked Williams as the 52nd greatest player in baseball history, behind Sandy Koufax and ahead of Roy Campanella. This would rank Williams as the 12th greatest pitcher, behind Koufax and ahead of Bob Feller.[5]

Further reading

  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Williams, Joseph (Smokey Joe, Cyclone, Yank)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 854–56. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  • (Riley.) "Smokey Joe" Williams, Personal profiles at Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. – identical to Riley (confirmed 2010-04-16)


  1. ^ a b "Chicago Giants Will Raise Flag Sunday" Chicago Broad Ax, Chicago, May 14, 1910, Page 2, Columns 4 and 5
  2. ^ "Palm Beach Weekly Review" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, February 19, 1916, Page 5, Columns 5 to 7
  3. ^ "No Hit, No Run Game" The Sun, New York, New York, Monday, May 5, 1919, Page 19, Column 4 Harlem, New York, May 4, 1919
  4. ^ Kansas City Star. p 3B, ("Strikes Out 27 Batters")
  5. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. United States: Free Press. p. 365.

External links

1913 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1913 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Phillies competing in the National League and finishing in second place.

American Series

The American Series (Spanish: La Temporada Americana) was a set of baseball games played between Cuban and American teams in Cuba. An American team would travel to Cuba and play various professional, all-star and/or amateur Cuban teams throughout the country. The series usually took place either in the fall, after the end of the American season, or during spring training before the season began. The first American Series took place in 1879, with then minor league Worcester team going 2–0 against its Cuban opponents.

Various major, minor and Negro league teams took part in the American Series, including the Cincinnati Reds, Lincoln Giants and Boston Red Sox. In 1900, the Brooklyn Superbas and the New York Giants became the first major league teams to play in the series, with the two teams facing off against each other and with Brooklyn also playing four games against local Cuban League teams and generally overwhelming them. Eight years later, the Cincinnati Reds came to Cuba and found stronger competition there, as they went 6–6 against the Cuban League teams and 0–1 against the Negro league Brooklyn Royal Giants. Series against major league opponents continued every year from 1908 to 1913, and then occasionally until 1953. The final American Series games before the Cuban League disbanded were played from March 20 to 21, 1959, when the Los Angeles Dodgers, featuring Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, faced the Cincinnati Reds in spring training games played in Havana.After a 40-year hiatus, a Major League Baseball team returned to Cuba in 1999, when the Baltimore Orioles played a two-game series (one game in Havana, the other in Baltimore) against the Cuban national baseball team.

Many well-known names played in American Series, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Josh Gibson, Sam Crawford, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams and Christy Mathewson.

Bill Pettus

William Thomas "Bill" Pettus (August 13, 1884 – August 22, 1924) was an African-American baseball first baseman in the Cuban League and Negro Leagues. He played from 1902 to 1921 with several teams.Pettus began playing baseball in 1902 for the Albuquerque, New Mexico team, staying there until the end of the 1903 season. He often went by the nickname "Zack" Pettus.

In addition to baseball, in his 20s, Pettus made money boxing and working in the coal mine near Madrid, New Mexico.Pitcher Babe Adams said of Pettus's early days, he was "one of the best catchers in the baseball world."In 1904, Pettus played on the white teams of San Francisco and Oakland California, and was the only black player on those teams.

In 1905, he returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico to manage and captain the team, which was made up of ten Mexicans and two colored ball players. The team won 48 out of 49 games, losing only one.

In 1906, Pettus again was the only black player on a white team when he played for the Albuquerque, New Mexico team.

In 1907 and 1908, Pettus caught for the Santa Fe, New Mexico Salmon Grays.During 1908–1909 he played for the Occidental Club, a black baseball team in Los Angeles, California.

In 1909, Pettus played first base for the Kansas City Giants. At the end of that year, he re-joined the Occidental Club in Los Angeles.

In 1910, Pettus joined the Chicago Giants, a Frank Leland team that had recently broken off of the Leland Giants after a legal battle over naming rights. The Chicago Giants, often called "Leland's Chicago Giants", included big stars of the day, including Nathan Harris, George Wright, Dangerfield Talbert, Cyclone Joe Williams, Bobby Marshall, Charles "Joe" Green, Dick Wallace, Steel Arm Johnny Taylor, and his brother Candy Jim Taylor. Pettus would play there for two seasons, touring much of the upper midwest.He played winter ball in the 1911–1912 season for Habana, and returned to split the season between the Brooklyn Royal Giants and the New York Lincoln Stars where he played on and off until 1916, continuing on in this way playing on and off with the Lincoln Giants until 1920.

Pettus died on August 22, 1924 in New York City at the age of 40. He is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in New York, New York.

Cyclone (nickname)

Cyclone is a nickname for:

Cy Young (1867-1955), American Hall-of-Fame baseball pitcher whose nickname "Cyclone" was shortened to "Cy"

Cyclone Taylor (1884-1979), Canadian Hall-of-Fame hockey player

Fabiano Aoki (born 1978), Brazilian kickboxer

Cyclone Miller (1858-1916), American Major League Baseball pitcher

Cyclone Ryan (1866-1917), Major League Baseball pitcher and first baseman for 12 games

Cyclone Joe Williams (1886-1951), American baseball pitcher in the Negro leagues

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.

Lincoln Giants

The Lincoln Giants were a Negro league baseball team based in New York City from 1911 through 1930.

List of Negro league baseball players

This list comprises players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

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

List of baseball nicknames

This is a list of nicknames of Major League Baseball teams and players. It includes a complete list of nicknames of players in the Baseball Hall of Fame, a list of nicknames of current players, nicknames of popular players who have played for each major league team, and lists of nicknames grouped into particular categories (e.g., ethnic nicknames, personality trait nicknames etc.). It also includes a list of nicknames of current Major League teams. Sports journalists, broadcasters and fans commonly refer to teams by a wide variety of nicknames. Many of the names are so established that newspapers routinely use the names in headlines.

List of people with surname Williams

Williams is a common European surname. This list provides links to biographies of people who share this common surname.

The Breakers (hotel)

The Breakers Palm Beach is a historic, 538 room, Italian Renaissance-style hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, United States. First known as The Palm Beach Inn, it was opened on January 16, 1896 by oil, real estate, and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to accommodate travelers on his Florida East Coast Railway. It occupies the beachfront portion of the grounds of the Royal Poinciana Hotel, which Flagler had opened beside Lake Worth Lagoon facing the inland waterway in 1894. Guests began requesting rooms "over by the breakers," so Flagler renamed it The Breakers Hotel in 1901. The wooden hotel burned on June 9, 1903 and was rebuilt, opening on February 1, 1904. Rooms started at $4 a night, including three meals a day. Because Flagler forbade motorized vehicles on the property, patrons were delivered between the two hotels in wheeled chairs powered by employees. The grounds featured a nine-hole golf course. The hotel is located at 1 South County Road.

Wabishaw Wiley

Wabishaw Spencer "Doc" Wiley (February 1, 1892 – 1935) was a catcher in Negro league baseball. He played from 1910 to 1924.

Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
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