October 31, 2014

Negro Leagues DB Update: Florida Hotel League, Cuban League, 1899 & 1900 Negro Leagues

February 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve just added the following to the DB: the 1916/17 Cuban Winter League, the 1917 and 1918 Florida Hotel League, and a handful of games from the 1899 and 1900 seasons, as well as new games for 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1912.

In 1899 the Cuban X Giants came west to play the two Chicago clubs, the Unions (which had existed since the 1880s) and the Columbia Giants, formerly the Page Fence Giants of Adrian, Michigan, which had moved to Chicago under the auspices of the Columbia Club, a local social organization. In addition, 1899 saw Abel Linares organize the first tour of Cuban professionals in the United States. The All-Cubans played a pair of grudge matches against the Cuban X Giants in Hoboken, ostensibly motivated by the (real) Cubans’ desire to uphold the honor of their national name.

The following season saw both the Cuban X Giants and the Genuine Cuban Giants come west. That season the American League’s new Chicago White Sox built a new park on the South Side at the corner of 39th and Wentworth. Unfortunately this was across the street from the Columbia Giants’ park (the former Daly Park, home of the white semipro Daly Baseball Club), and just a couple of blocks away from the Unions’ home grounds, at 37th and Butler. Eventually the major leaguers would drive both black teams out of the neighborhood, although the Columbias did use the White Sox park as their home field in 1902. (It would later, as Schorling Park, become the home field for the Chicago American Giants for many years.)

William “Hippo” Galloway, of the 1900 Cuban X Giants, had become in 1899 simultaneously the last black player to appear openly in organized baseball in North America (with the Woodstock club of the Canadian League) and the first black player to appear in a hockey league (with Woodstock in the Central Ontario Hockey Association).

Jumping forward a few years, in the winter of 1916/17 Cuban baseball saw yet another group of organizers put together a new circuit, which they called the Cuban-American League, despite the complete absence of American players. The old Almendares Park had been torn down, and the games were played in Marianao’s Oriental Park, which was actually a horse racing venue.

Marianao's Oriental Park racetrack in 1921.

Marianao’s Oriental Park racetrack in 1921.

The Almendares players were reassembled under the name “Orientals” (or Orientales), while Habana reappeared as the “Red Sox” (Medias Rojas). The traditional third Havana team, Fe, no longer existed, and the previous season’s attempt to replace them with a team called San Francisco Park had ended in abject failure. So this year Tinti Molina and Abel Linares simply decided to enter their barnstorming Cuban Stars as the third team, under the name “White Sox” (Medias Blancas).

It took so long to organize everything that the league did not get underway until February 1917, and lasted only 15 games. Dolf Luque pitched and hit well for the Orientals (1.84 ERA, .355 average), and his team did just enough to take the pennant with an 8-6 record.

At exactly the same time as the brief Cuban-American League season, Palm Beach hosted the annual series between teams representing the Royal Poinciana Hotel (managed this year by Rube Foster) and the Breakers Hotel (managed by Joe Williams). The Cuban-American lefty Juan Padrón had been slated to join the Cuban Stars / White Sox in Cuba, but instead he turned up here, pitching for Foster. He started against Joe Williams four times, winning three with one tie. Overall he went 5-2 with three shutouts and an 0.61 ERA, providing just enough for the Poincianas to edge the Breakers 7 games to 6.

The winter of 1917/18 saw no formal league organized in Cuba, but the Palm Beach series continued. Juan Padrón switched sides, but managed only a single win this time. Meanwhile Dick Whitworth went 5-0, 1.07, for the Poincianas. That was enough for Foster’s team to win 9 out of 14 games.

Coming up for the DB: the 1933 Negro league season, the East-West All-Star Games, the Mexican League, more Cuban seasons, and a lot more.

Bill Galloway, Juan Padrón, Dick Whitworth

Bill Galloway, Juan Padrón, Dick Whitworth

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