April 4, 2020

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1926 Negro National League

December 10, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

New in the DB: the 1926 Negro National League, once again based on the work of Larry Lester, Wayne Stivers, and the Negro League Researchers and Authors Group, with additions and edits by us. Along with the NNL playoffs and the 1926 World Series, the 1926 NNL takes its place alongside our compilation of the 1926 Eastern Colored League to give a complete picture of black professional baseball that year.

The Kansas City Monarchs, vying for their fourth straight NNL pennant, lost the great shortstop Dobie Moore early in the season when his ankle was shattered by a bullet. Newly appointed player-manager Bullet Rogan (12-4, 3.15, as a pitcher while batting .285) did his share on the field. The Cuban outfielder Cristóbal Torriente (.351/.426/.496) helped make up for the loss of Moore’s bat, and the pitching trio of Rogan, William Bell (15-5, 2.45), and the 19-year-old Chet Brewer (12-1, 2.24) enabled the Monarchs to win the first half with relative ease.

The legendary Rube Foster, founder of both the Chicago American Giants and the Negro National League itself, fell victim to mental illness and had to retire, leaving his captain Dave Malarcher in charge of the team. Leaning very heavily on the strong left arm of Rube’s brother Willie (13-4, 1.63), the American Giants went on a run under Malarcher to win the second half. In the playoffs they rallied from a 4 games to 1 deficit to beat the heavily favored Monarchs, Willie Foster pitching two shutouts on the last day, beating Bullet Rogan both times, to put his team through, 5 games to 4. In the World Series Chicago overcame a no-hitter by Claude “Red” Grier to edge the ECL champion Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, again by a 5 games to 4 margin.

Aside from the pennant race, the most noteworthy achievement in the 1926 NNL had to be the performance of the St. Louis Stars’ new slugger, George “Mule” Suttles. Taking advantage of the friendly left field porch at Stars Park, Suttles compiled an astonishing 77 extra base hits in 86 games, including 30 home runs and 20 triples, both the highest totals we have seen by a player in a single Negro league season.

Only one more league-season remains for us to achieve full coverage of all the traditional major Negro leagues. Next up will be the Negro Southern League of 1932, the only year it was considered a major league, as well as more Mexican League seasons.

Mule Suttles in 1926.

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