April 22, 2021

Negro Leagues DB Update: 1929 American Negro League

April 2, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

We’re happy to announce the addition of the 1929 American Negro League season to the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database. This was an east coast league, a successor to the Eastern Colored League (which folded early in the 1928 season), and should not be confused with the later Negro American League (founded in 1937 and based in the Midwest).

In its single season of existence the ANL was dominated by the Baltimore Black Sox as they enjoyed the greatest year in their two-decade history. The Sox benefited from the declining fortunes of the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants. In a pair of deals that may have been designed mostly to shed wages, the Bacharachs sent shortstop-manager Dick Lundy and third baseman Oliver Marcell to Baltimore in exchange for 40-year-old first baseman Ben Taylor, catcher-outfielder Mack Eggleston, pitcher Bob McClure, and shortstop Clarence Lindsay. The Sox also dealt outfielder Crush Holloway and second baseman Dick Jackson to Hilldale for Frank Warfield and Red Ryan, giving them, in Warfield and Lundy, the two most successful managers in ECL history, with four pennants and one World Series victory between them.

With Warfield in command, Jud Wilson (.413/.497/.638) and Rap Dixon (.421/.490/.737) leading the offense, and Laymon Yokely (16-8) and Pud Flournoy (11-2) on the mound, the Black Sox won both halves of the season, thus taking the pennant outright. At one point in late July Dixon reeled off 14 straight hits in official games, besting John Henry Lloyd’s record of 11 straight, set in 1924.

The Lincoln Giants acquired second baseman Charlie “Chino” Smith from the Brooklyn Royal Giants, and the Catholic Protectory Oval’s snug dimensions helped him hit .452 with 22 homers. Connie Rector contributed a 17-1 record, but the Lincolns, despite enjoying their best season ever in league play, came up short. Hilldale got good performances from its stars—Oscar Charleston (.360/.468/.571), Judy Johnson (.377), Biz Mackey (.368/.463/.503), Martín Dihigo (.332/.448/.604, plus 4-3, 2.63 on the mound)—but never quite put it all together.

Other highlights included the 43-year-old Joe Williams finishing second in the league in strikeouts behind Yokely, despite working 80 fewer innings; the Bacharachs Giants’ rookie infielder Jesse “Hoss” Walker hitting for the cycle on the Fourth of July; Chino Smith smashing four home runs in a double header, including three in one game, on September 1; and a challenge trade at the end of the season, as the Homestead Grays and Lincoln Giants exchanged slugging infielders, with George Scales (.388/.492/.635) headed to the Grays, John Beckwith (.386/.448/.691) to the Lincolns. In 1929 and 1930, Beckwith would bat a combined .495 for the Lincolns against Negro league competition.

Next up for the DB: 1931 Negro National League, 1932 Negro Southern League, expanded 1922 eastern independent teams, 1940 Mexican League, and more.

Two of the American Negro League’s biggest stars, Jud Wilson and Charlie Smith, pictured with the champion 1927/28 Habana club of the Cuban League.


One Response to “Negro Leagues DB Update: 1929 American Negro League”
  1. HOWARD BLOOM says:

    More great stuff. Thank you. If there is any low brow grunt work one might be able to do to aid you in this endeavor, please feel free to reach out.

    I noted that you guys linked Ed Milton and Babe Melton together…I had wondered about that for a long while. Just another smile in a long running joy you have provided this old timer.


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