November 30, 2022

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1912 & 1913 Negro Leagues

February 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve posted two more Negro league seasons, 1912 and 1913.  The number of games between the best black professionals gets a little sparser with each year you go backward.  It’s not that they were playing fewer games overall, it’s just that their opponents were much more likely to be white semipro or amateur teams.

Important teams operated in smaller cities and unusual locations. Paterson, New Jersey, enjoyed its sole entry into the blackball sweepstakes with the Smart Set, run by former major league pitcher Dick Cogan.  Schenectady saw the arrival of the Mohawk Giants in 1913, complete with plaid warmup jackets:

Schenectady Mohawk Giants, 1913

Two major resort hotels in Springs Valley, Indiana, founded rival black teams, the West Baden Sprudels and French Lick Plutos.  They were named after (and probably intended to promote) the brands of mineral water sold by each hotel, Pluto Water and Sprudel Water.  The teams themselves were serious operations—the West Baden club was managed from 1910 to 1913 by none other than C. I. Taylor.  In 1911 they defeated a second-string Pittsburgh Pirates squad 2 to 1.

Postcard showing the West Baden Springs Hotel, ca. 1910

The major black teams the Midwest did travel to the east coast occasionally, and vice versa, most notably in the big event of 1913: a 14-game series between the Chicago American Giants and New York Lincoln Giants for the “colored world championship.”  Led by Cyclone Joe Williams, the Lincolns dominated, winning 9 games to 4 (with one tie).  Williams went 5-2 with a save in the series, with one shutout.  (The loss would motivate Rube Foster to raid the Lincolns for John Henry Lloyd in 1914.)

In coming weeks, look for 1908-1911 Negro leagues, plus more Cuban seasons.

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