Louis Santop

Louis Santop Loftin (January 17, 1890 – January 22, 1942) was an African-American baseball catcher in the Negro leagues. He became "one of the earliest superstars" and "black baseball's first legitimate home-run slugger" (Riley), and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Louis Santop
Louis Santop 1924
Born: January 17, 1890
Tyler, Texas
Died: January 22, 1942 (aged 52)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Batted: Left Threw: Right
Negro leagues debut
1909, for the Philadelphia Giants
Last appearance
1926, for the Hilldale Daisies
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

Early life

Santop was born in Tyler, Texas. At age 19 he played for teams in Fort Worth, Texas and Guthrie, Oklahoma before joining the Philadelphia Giants. In 1910, his only full season with Philadelphia, Santop and Dick Redding formed a "kid battery", catcher and pitcher.(Riley)

Playing career

An amazing .406 lifetime hitter, Santop would often hit long home runs. In 1911, he hit an astonishing .470 and then, three years later, hit .455 for the Lincoln Stars. At this time, he was catching the two players considered the hardest throwing pitchers in the league: Smokey Joe Williams and "Cannonball" Dick Redding.

While playing for the Hilldale Club in 1918, Santop was drafted in July in Class 1-A.[3] However, one month later, one newspaper reported that doctors at Camp Dix examined him and "found he had a broken and badly twisted arm." The report said he had an accident several years before and that "It made it impossible to handle a gun or salute properly." It went on to say he was discharged as physically unfit for service.[4] Historians have said Santop served in the Navy. (reference needed)

After the war, he was the league's biggest drawing card and received $500 a month, one of the highest salaries paid, playing for the Hilldale Daisies. Hilldale won pennants from 1923 to 1925, but an error in the 1924 Colored World Series basically ended Santop's career.

With Hilldale leading a game 2–1 in the bottom of the ninth with one out and the winning runs on base, Santop dropped a popup off the bat of Monarchs catcher Frank Duncan that would have been the second out. On the next pitch, Duncan delivered the game-winning hit. In addition to the embarrassment, Santop was berated by his manager, Frank Warfield, in a public, profanity-filled tirade. The following year, Biz Mackey took over as starting catcher, and Santop was released by the team the next season. He also managed for some time.


The 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m), 240-pound Santop was noted for his outlandishness and his confidence while playing. He was reported to have called home runs while in the batter's box. In a 1912 game, he was credited with a tape-measure 500-foot bomb – a remarkable feat in the dead-ball era. In another game, Santop was the recipient of a knockdown pitch from ex-New York Giant Jeff Tesreau in an exhibition game. Both Tyler, Texas natives, Santop yelled to Tesreau, "You wouldn't throw at a hometown boy, would you?" The gentle giant could, however, become perturbed if provoked. On another occasion, he broke three of Oscar Charleston's ribs in an altercation.

While fairly accurate, almost none of Santop's seasons were fully documented, with the exception of 1924, while he was playing for Hilldale and batted .389.

In 14 exhibition games against white major leaguers, he hit .296.

Santop was a match for Josh Gibson. Gibson was often called "The Black Babe Ruth", but he wasn't the first to bear that title. It was a Santop original. When Ruth and Santop faced each other in 1920, Ruth went 0–4, while Santop had 3 hits in 4 at-bats.

He was rated by Rollo Wilson, described as the Grantland Rice of black sports writers, as the first-string catcher on his all-time black baseball team.

Post-playing career and death

Santop became a broadcaster and eventually a bartender in Philadelphia after retiring from the game, before falling ill and eventually dying in a Philadelphia naval hospital in 1942, at age 52.


  1. ^ "Lincoln Giants Win First Two Games in Championship Series" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, August 2, 1913, Page 4, Columns 3 and 4
  2. ^ "With Taber on Mound Chester Beats Hilldale" Chester Times, Chester, PA, Tuesday, July 29, 1924, Page 6, Column 1
  3. ^ "Santop, Webster and Tom Williams" Evening Public Ledger, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, July 17, 1918, Page 11, Column 3
  4. ^ "Noted Athletes at Dix are Rejected" The Sun, New York, New York, Sunday, August 11, 1918, Page 9, Column 1
  • Holway, John (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues. Fern Park: Hastings House. ISBN 0-8038-2007-0.
  • Lester, Larry (2006). Baseball’s First Colored World Series. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-2617-9.
  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Santop, Louis (Top, Big Bertha)". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 695–97. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  • (Riley.) Louis Santop, Personal profiles at Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. – identical to Riley (confirmed 2010-04-14)

External links

1890 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1890 throughout the world.

1924 Colored World Series

The 1924 Colored World Series was a best-of-nine match-up between the Negro National League champion Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale. In a ten-game series, the Monarchs narrowly defeated Hilldale 5 games to 4, with one tie game. It was the first World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL. It was the second year of existence for the ECL, but no agreement could be reached in 1923 for a post-season series, owing primarily to unresolved disputes between the leagues. Five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame participated in the series: Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson, and Louis Santop played for Hilldale, while Bullet Rogan and José Méndez played for the Monarchs. In addition, Monarchs owner J. L. Wilkinson was also inducted into the Hall.

1925 Colored World Series

The 1925 Colored World Series was the second edition of the championship series in Negro league baseball. The series featured a rematch between the Hilldale Club of Darby, Pennsylvania, champion of the Eastern Colored League (ECL), and the Kansas City Monarchs, champion of the Negro National League (NNL) and winner of the previous year's match in the first Colored World Series. In 1925, Hilldale won the best-of-nine series, five games to one.On the eve of the series, the Monarchs' star pitcher, Bullet Rogan, who had pitched a shutout in the deciding Game 7 of the NNL championship series, was injured while playing with his child at home, when a needle ran into his leg, leaving him unable to play in the World Series. Kansas City's manager and occasional pitcher was future Hall of Famer, 38-year-old José Méndez. Hilldale featured three future Hall of Famers—catcher, Biz Mackey, third baseman, Judy Johnson, and 35-year-old backup catcher and pinch hitter, Louis Santop.Attendance for series was disappointing—down more than 50 percent in comparison with the previous year's series. The financial results were so disappointing that one Kansas City Monarchs player said they would have been paid better barnstorming than playing in the series.For both teams, the 1925 season would represent the end to a three-year run as league champions. (Both teams had won their league championships in 1923, when no world series was played.) Kansas City would eventually return to win additional championships, appearing in the 1942 and 1946 series and winning in 1942. For Hilldale, however, the 1925 championship would be its last, as the team folded in 1932.

1942 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1942 throughout the world.

2006 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2006 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001, augmented by a special election; the result was the largest class of inductees (18) in the Hall's history, including the first woman elected. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from among recent players. The Veterans Committee did not hold an election; the 2001 rules changes provided that elections for players retired over 20 years would be held every other year, with elections of non-players (managers, umpires and executives) held every fourth year. The Committee voted in 2005 on players who were active no later than 1983; there was no 2005 election for non-players. Elections in both categories were held in 2007.

On July 26, 2005, the Hall announced that its board of directors had approved a special election to be held in 2006, by the Committee on African-American Baseball, of Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues candidates.

Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were held July 30 with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.

Biz Mackey

James Raleigh "Biz" Mackey (July 27, 1897 – September 22, 1965) was an American catcher and manager in Negro league baseball. He played for the Indianapolis ABC's (1920–22), New York Lincoln Giants (1920), Hilldale Daisies (1923–31), Philadelphia Royal Giants (1925), Philadelphia Stars (1933–35), Washington and Baltimore Elite Giants (1936–39), and Newark Dodgers/Eagles (1935, 1939–41, 1945–47, 1950).

Mackey came to be regarded as black baseball's premier catcher in the late 1920s and early 1930s. His superior defense and outstanding throwing arm were complemented by batting skill which placed him among the Negro leagues' all-time leaders in total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage, while hitting .322 for his career. Mackey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Charles Earle

Charles Babcock Earle (March 31, 1884 – March 14, 1945) was a Negro Leagues pitcher and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League.

Club Fé

Club Fé were a Cuban baseball team in the Cuban League. They played from 1904 to 1912. Alberto Azoy managed the team from 1905 to 1910.

Ed Bolden

Edward "Ed" Bolden (January 17, 1881 in Concordville, Pennsylvania – September 27, 1950 in Darby, Pennsylvania) was an American baseball executive and owner in the Negro Leagues.

Frank Duncan (baseball, born 1901)

Frank Duncan (born February 14, 1901 in Kansas City, Missouri – December 4, 1973 in Kansas City, Missouri) was a baseball player in the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1948. He was primarily a catcher for the Kansas City Monarchs, handling their pitching staff from 1921 through 1934 as the team won five pennants between 1923 and 1931. While playing part-time, he managed the Monarchs to two pennants in 1942 and 1946. He caught two no-hitters with the Monarchs, in 1923 and 1929.

Hilldale Club

The Hilldale Athletic Club (informally known as Darby Daisies) were an African American professional baseball team based in Darby, Pennsylvania, west of Philadelphia.

Established as a boys team in 1910, the Hilldales were developed by their early manager, then owner Ed Bolden to be one of the powerhouse Negro league baseball teams. They won the first three Eastern Colored League pennants beginning in 1923 and in 1925 won the second Colored World Series. Hall of Fame player Judy Johnson was a Hilldale regular for most its professional era with twelve seasons in fifteen years 1918–1932.

Pitcher Phil Cockrell played for Hilldale throughout those years.

Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, Louis Santop, Chaney White, and Jesse "Nip" Winters were also important Hilldale players in the 1920s.

Hilldale Park

Hilldale Park was a ballpark in Darby, Pennsylvania at the northeast corner of Chester and Cedar Avenues. It was the home field of the Hilldale Club professional baseball team which played in the Negro Leagues between 1910 and 1932. The ballpark opened in 1914. It is said to have had a well-manicured field. A large tree stood in center-field, the branches of which overlooked the field and were considered in play.Hilldale's average attendance at Hilldale Park was 1,844 per-game in 1926 and 1,371 in 1929.The ballpark site now contains retail stores and parking lots.

Lincoln Giants

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

Lincoln Stars (baseball)

The Lincoln Stars (also known as the Lincoln Stars of New York or the New York Lincoln Stars) were a Negro league baseball team that played in New York City from 1914 to 1917. Their home stadium was the Lenox Oval, located at Lenox Avenue and 145th Street in Manhattan. Although they lasted less than four years, they were a good team that featured three players who would later be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame—Oscar Charleston, John Henry Lloyd, and Louis Santop.

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

Philadelphia Giants

The Philadelphia Giants were a Negro league baseball team that played from 1902 to 1911. From 1904 to 1909 they were one of the strongest teams in black baseball, winning five eastern championships in six years. The team was organized by Sol White, H. Walter Schlichter, and Harry Smith.

Philadelphia National Cemetery

Philadelphia National Cemetery is a United States national cemetery located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, north of Germantown. It is administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and managed by the National Cemetery Administration from offices at Washington Crossing National Cemetery.The cemetery contains an American Revolutionary War Monument honoring reinterred Continental soldiers from the Battle of Germantown, a Mexican–American War Monument honoring 38 reinterred veterans, and a Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1911) honoring 184 prisoners of war who died in Philadelphia area hospitals or camps during the American Civil War.

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.

Veterans Committee
Committee on
African-American Baseball
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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