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Hank Aaron

Baseball player Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama to Estella Aaron and Herbert Aaron. He attended Central High School in Mobile, Alabama and transferred to the private Josephine Allen Institute, where he graduated in 1951. While finishing high school, Aaron played for the Mobile Black Bears, a semi-professional Negro league baseball team.

In 1951, Aaron signed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, where he played for three months before his contract was purchased by the Boston Braves. Aaron was assigned to the Eau Claire Braves, the Class-C minor league affiliate for the Boston Braves and was named Rookie of the Year in 1952. The next season, Aaron was promoted to the Jacksonville Braves, the Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. The following year, Aaron was invited to spring training for the newly relocated Milwaukee Braves and was offered a major league contract. In 1954, he made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Braves. By 1955, Aaron was named to the National League All-Star roster and captured his first National League batting title in 1956. The following season, Aaron won the National League MVP Award and led the Braves to win the 1957 World Series. Aaron went on to lead the Braves to another pennant championship in 1958, and received his first Golden Glove Award. In 1965, the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, where he became the first franchise player to hit his 500th career home run; and in 1970, he was the first Brave to reach 3,000 career hits. On April 8, 1974 Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time homerun record with 715. Aaron was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for the 1975-1976 season, when he broke the all-time RBI record. After the 1976 season, Aaron retired from professional baseball and returned to the Atlanta Braves organization as an executive. In 1982, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and was then named the Braves’ vice president and director of player development. Aaron continued to serve as vice president of the Braves. He also owned several car dealerships in Georgia and owned over thirty restaurant chains throughout the country. In 1990, he published his memoir I Had a Hammer.

Aaron was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1976, from the NAACP. In 1999, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award to honor the best overall offensive performer in the American and National League. Later that year, Aaron was ranked fifth on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2001, Aaron was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush in June 2002.

Hank Aaron was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 1, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/1/2016

Last Name

Aaron

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Louis

Occupation
Schools

Central High School

Josephine Allen Institute

First Name

Henry

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

AAR01

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Laura and George Bilicic

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

2/5/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lamb Chops

Short Description

Baseball player Hank Aaron (1934 - ) began his career in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns. He led the Milwaukee Braves to a 1957 World Series title, and broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974.

Employment

Indianapolis Clowns

Eau Claire Bears (Boston Braves)

Jacksonville Braves (Boston Braves)

Milwaukee Braves

Atlanta Braves

Milwaukee Brewers

Turner Broadcasting, Inc.

Hank Aaron BMW

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Gray And Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hank Aaron's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron talks about his parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron describes the Toulminville neighborhood of Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hank Aaron recalls his early interest in baseball

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hank Aaron remembers Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hank Aaron talks about the limited resources for sports in his community

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Hank Aaron describes his experiences as a Boy Scout

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Haqnk Aaron recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Hank Aaron talks about the lack of African American athletes in the South

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hank Aaron recalls enrolling at the Josephine Allen Institute in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron remembers joining the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron talks about the prominent baseball players of his time

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron remembers the conditions on the Indianapolis Clowns team

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron describes his batting technique

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron talks about the limited opportunities for African American athletes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron recalls the prejudice he experienced while playing for the Jacksonville Braves, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Hank Aaron recalls the prejudice he experienced while playing for the Jacksonville Braves, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Hank Aaron remembers the manager of the Jacksonville Braves

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hank Aaron remembers joining the Milwaukee Braves

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron talks about his positions with the Milwaukee Braves

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron describes the different styles of pitching

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron remembers the pitchers in the National League

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron talks about the lack of diversity in the American League

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron remembers his teammates on the Milwaukee Braves

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron talks about white baseball players from the South

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hank Aaron remembers winning the 1957 World Series

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hank Aaron talks about his approach to playing baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hank Aaron recalls appearing on 'Home Run Derby'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron remembers his experiences with segregation while traveling with the Milwaukee Braves

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron recalls the Braves' move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron talks about living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron recalls the 1967 season with the Atlanta Braves

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron remembers his three thousandth career hit

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron talks about the camaraderie between baseball players

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hank Aaron reflects upon his career

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hank Aaron talks about approaching Babe Ruth's home run record

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hank Aaron talks about the public response to his home run record

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron describes the home run that broke Babe Ruth's record

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron talks about the popular batters of his time

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron talks about Barry Bonds' baseball career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron reflects upon the current gameplay in Major League Baseball

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron shares his views on Little League coaching

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron talks about baseball in the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Hank Aaron talks about the need for outreach to black youth in Major League Baseball

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Hank Aaron recalls working as a farm director for the Atlanta Braves

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Hank Aaron remembers being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Hank Aaron talks about his businesses and autobiography

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Hank Aaron shares his advice to aspiring baseball players

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Hank Aaron describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Hank Aaron talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Hank Aaron describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Hank Aaron remembers the conditions on the Indianapolis Clowns team
Hank Aaron describes the home run that broke Babe Ruth's record
Transcript
So, now tell us about James Jenkins. I hear, I hear that he played a pivotal role in your life with the Clowns?$$That was my seatmate, well you know we only got two dollars a day, meal money and I made two hundred dollars a month. That was my salary. Well, most of the money that I made, the little money that I made, I sent, I sent it home to my mother [Estella Pritchett Aaron] and Jenkins was a seatmate of mine and back then we would travel, Indianapolis Clowns. We would play in Atlanta [Georgia] today, and play in a city that was a hundred miles away at night, and we never did stop at a restaurant. We slept on the bus and it just so happened that I was young enough and I say this with no pun intended, but I was playing with older guys and I felt--really felt sorry for 'em because me being young, I could go through a lot more than--my body would take a lot more than they--their body could take and we got two dollars a day meal money and he and I use to take his two dollars and my two dollars and we would buy a big jar of peanut butter, about that (demonstrates) so size, and we'd buy a loaf of bread. Now, we didn't care about whether the bread was--we'd eat half of it today and then half of it tomorrow you know, but that's what we would eat off of, peanut butter and jelly, not jelly but just peanut butter, and this is real and I tell a lot of people, this is real peanut butter. This is not peanut butter with oil on top where you can mix it up. This stuff is, it gets in your throat right and if you don't have the right thing to digest it, it would choke you. So, he would--he and I, he and I were seatmates and he would ta- he would help me understand that life is gonna get better, you know. Things gonna get better you know, just hang in there a long time you know, and he was much older than I was and he was my seatmate. Seatmate, and that's what we called, we didn't call 'em roommates, we called 'em seatmates because (simultaneous)--.$$(Simultaneous) Y'all didn't have a room (laughter)?$$No, we never stayed in a hotel, we never stayed in a hotel so, I just, I would say that the little I learned from him, I mean I learned an awful lot from him, that he helped me in so many ways that he probably don't even remember.$$Now, did he help you with your grip on the--?$$No, he never helped me with anything at the bat or baseball, but he helped me with just trying to live life, trying to be understanding that things going to get better with life, you know but he never did--he never bothered me with, with telling me how to grip (gestures) the bat or run the bases or anything like that.$Okay, now tell us about--if you can put us in the moment. You hit the home run against who?$$Al Downing.$$Al Downing, okay, so this is the day--it was a day game, right?$$It was an evening game, yes, yes.$$Right, evening game, all right, so you're at the plate and what did he pitch you?$$Al had, you know I never had good luck against him really to be honest with you, although I hit the home run to, to beat the Babe's [Babe Ruth] record off him, but I never really had good luck with him. He was--I remember when he was with the Yankees [New York Yankees], for a little fellow his size, he threw very good, had very good control and was a very good pitcher. He hurt his arm and of course they traded him to the Dodgers [Los Angeles Dodgers], and what he threw me that night, he had a very good screwball, you know and he couldn't--at the beginning I could understand it. He couldn't get his screwball over you know and he tried to throw me a fast ball and that was not his pitch, that was his second pitch. Well, I say second pitch, that's the second pitch that he usually gets you out on, and I hit the ball out of the ballpark [Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia], but in all fairness to him, it was a, it was a--as I mentioned before, the second pitch, but he was a very, a very good pitcher. He was not one of these yo-yos that come along, he could pitch and he knew how to pitch. I think right now I think he's teaching school in, in New York somewhere.$$Okay, so were there charges that he just lobbed you one up there or something?$$No, I never heard that part, never heard somebody say that, but I think I've heard people say well you know he was a secondary pitcher, and that was not true.$$Yeah, you're right.$$He, he wasn't, he was a starter for the Dodgers and the Dodgers thought a lot of him and I thought a lot of him 'cause I had faced him once before or maybe two or three times before with the Yankees and he was not easy pickings, you know he was somebody to be reckoned with, but he just happened to have an off day like anybody could you know.$$Right, Al Downing was a respected pitcher in the Minor League [Minor League Baseball], right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, right.$$So, how did you feel when the ball was going out of the park, did you feel relieved it finally (unclear) (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I felt good and I felt I had hit enough home runs to realize when I hit it that it was gonna go out the ballpark because I had hit enough of 'em, you know really, and I felt, I felt very good. I felt like it was over with, done with and that was it.

Dennis Biddle

Retired social worker and former Negro League Baseball player Dennis "Bose" Biddle was born on June 24, 1935, in Magnolia, Arkansas.

Biddle's career in baseball began in 1953 when he was seventeen years old. He was playing in the state championship in Arkansas for the National Farmers' Association. A scout and booking agent for the Negro League Chicago American Giants saw him pitch a no-hitter in the championship and asked him if he would like to try out with the Chicago American Giants. Biddle played for the Chicago American Giants in 1953 and 1954. Because he was only seventeen years old when he played, Biddle was entered into the Congressional Record as the youngest person to play in the Negro baseball leagues. In 1955, the Chicago Cubs were interested in purchasing his contract from the Chicago American Giants. Unfortunately, on the first day of spring training, Biddle jammed his leg and broke his ankle in two places while sliding into third base. The injury never fully healed and Biddle’s baseball career ended.

At the age of twenty-two, Biddle went back to school in 1958. He received his B.A. degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin. Biddle worked for the next twenty-four years with the State of Wisconsin as a social worker in the corrections system. After retiring from the corrections system, he began working for a social service agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, called Career Youth Development (C.Y.D.). In this capacity, he continues to work with underprivileged youth and juvenile offenders.

In 1996, Biddle founded the organization, Yesterday's Negro League Baseball Players LLC to support the surviving members of the Negro League baseball teams and defend their economic interests.

Accession Number

A2008.134

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/18/2008

Last Name

Biddle

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Magnolia High School

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Dennis

Birth City, State, Country

Magnolia

HM ID

BID01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens, Adults, Seniors

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $3000
Availability Specifics: Days, evenings, some weekends.
Preferred Audience: Youth, teens, adults, seniors

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

People Are Dying Now That's Never Died Before.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

6/24/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Okra

Short Description

Social worker and baseball player Dennis Biddle (1935 - ) played for the Negro League Chicago American Giants in 1953 and 1954. After injuring his ankle in 1955, Biddle became a social worker in the Wisconsin corrections system. In 1996, Biddle founded the organization Yesterday's Negro League Baseball Players to support the surviving members of the Negro League baseball teams.

Employment

Chicago American Giants

State of Wisconsin

Career Youth Development

Yesterday's Negro League Baseball Players

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:287170,3335$0,0:292410,4238
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dennis Biddle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle talks about his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dennis Biddle recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dennis Biddle lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dennis Biddle describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dennis Biddle describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Magnolia, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle talks about growing up in Magnolia, Arkansas in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle relates his sports experiences at Columbia High School in Magnolia, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle talks about college and professional recruitment opportunities while he was a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about his mentors at Columbia High School in Magnolia, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle details his decision to try out for the Negro American League in 1953

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle describes his journey to Chicago, Illinois in 1953 to try out for the Chicago American Giants

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dennis Biddle describes his first night in Chicago, Illinois in 1953

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle talks about his mentor, McKinley Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle talks about his Chicago American Giants teammates and coaches

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle describes the origin of the Negro National League

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about the relationship between Negro baseball leagues and the major leagues

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle talks about contracts for Negro league players

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle recalls a pivotal game against the Memphis Red Sox

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dennis Biddle talks about Gread "Lefty" McKinnis

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle talks about playing for the Chicago American Giants in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle explains the salaries of Negro league baseball players

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle describes the end of his baseball career in 1954

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about his first jobs in Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin after the end of his baseball career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle talks about attending the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a part-time student

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle explains the renewed interest in Negro league baseball in the 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dennis Biddle talks about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle describes the funding for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle details the fight for benefits for former Negro league baseball players

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle describes his work with the Yesterday's Negro League Baseball Players Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about attempts to discount his history in the Negro Baseball League

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle explains the ongoing battle for players' benefits

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle talks about the operations and politics of the Yesterday's Negro League Baseball Players foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dennis Biddle reflects upon the history of the Negro Baseball League

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dennis Biddle details the history of the Milwaukee Bears

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dennis Biddle remembers Satchel Paige's years as a pitcher in the Negro leagues

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dennis Biddle describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dennis Biddle reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dennis Biddle talks about his nine children and his four marriages

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dennis Biddle talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dennis Biddle narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Dennis Biddle describes his first night in Chicago, Illinois in 1953
Dennis Biddle recalls a pivotal game against the Memphis Red Sox
Transcript
Diamond number three [Washington Park, Chicago, Illinois], okay.$$So I, I, I went over there and I sit down. It was a little bench over there. I sit down 'cause nobody was there but me. I was supposed to been there at eleven o'clock. So finally one guy came and me and him started throwing the ball at each other, his name was Clyde McNeil. He was a--later on I, I, I learned a lot about him, but he was a--had been to the minor leagues and had left. He told me, he said they treated him like a dog down there where he was at, say he wasn't gonna take all that pressure. He came back to the Chicago American Giants. This was 1953 now. And so, pretty soon another guy came and then anoth--van--Dick Vance came, a old--older guy he was a catcher and then [HM Ted] "Double Duty" Radcliffe came and it were about fifteen of 'em and there we were. So, they had me pitching batting practice to the guys and I were very impressive I guess because they had a contract already typed out for me to sign. Craw--Mr. Crawford had the contract and so he said, "We got a room for you on 47th [Street] and South Parkway." Say, "Where's your bag?" I said, "Oh, it's across the street over there." He said, "Where?" I said, "Cross the streets," and I noticed he looking at me awful funny, so I said, "I'll show you," and we went across the street and then all them houses look alike, you know? And, and, and I was walking across the street and this lady said, "Are you the young man that left your bag here?" Out of the clear blue sky, she just asked me that and I said, "Yeah." She said, "Well Mr. Washington"--that was his name-"he had to go to work so he said you'd be back for it." I said, "Oh ma'am, thank you." I said, "Could I have his telephone number?" And she gave me his telephone number, so I went up to the little room they had for me on 47th and South Parkway, and it was the worst night of my life, I can remember. As a seventeen year old, in this big city of Chicago [Illinois], didn't know no one and all night long, I could hear people walking and talking. I could hear sirens and, you know, I, I grew up in a little town man, lights out at eight o'clock, you ain't seen nothing, heard, hear nothing but crickets. But here I am with all these sirens going all night long. Oh, I didn't sleep at all. I had that number sitting on that little, little table in the room and I couldn't wait 'til that morning. Telephone call was a dime. I walked across 47th at the corner and put my dime in, in the thing and he answered the phone. He said, "Where are you?" I said, "I'm the gentle--young man that left his bag with you." He said, "Where are you?" I said, "I'm on 47th." I looked, 47th and South Park. He said, "You stay right there. I'll be right there." He came, he picked me up, took me to his house. He lived on 51st and South Parkway, I mean 51st and, and, Champagne [sic, Champlain Ave]. He took me to his house and you know? Twenty-eight years later, I buried him. The Lord put him in my life that day. I became his son. When I got married, my wife was his daughter, my children was his grandchildren. Twenty-eight years later, I buried him.$$What was his first name?$$His name was McKinley Washington.$$Okay, McKinley Washington. And where, you were living--$$He stayed at 620 East 51st Street in Chicago, Illinois.$Now, let me just, let's get back to your career and see--$$Yeah.$$--Th--then we'll pick this up a little later. I mean the rest of the story of the league [Negro American League]--$$Yeah.$$--But, so you're seventeen years old, and--$$Yeah.$$--From what I read, I read that you set a record for the number of wins?$$Yeah, I had five straight wins.$$Okay.$$In the Negro [American] League.$$Okay.$$The first loss I had was from the New York Black Yankees.$$And it's a record for somebody your age, right?$$Well?$$--From somebody seventeen years old?$$I don't know some writer probably did that, I didn't--$$--Okay, all right.$$--See, we didn't, we didn't--it didn't mean nothing, that much to us at that time. I was playing ball, I was getting paid and I knew I was good enough to be in the major leagues, so, the record itself wasn't important to me. Somebody ask me now, how many homeruns you get? I wouldn't know, I think I got one or two inside the--$$Yeah, I think--$$--Park.$$--In those days of the major leagues, I guess the youngest player to, as a pitcher who, who won like a another game was Bob Feller--$$Yeah they can--$$--That's what they--$$--They compare me to Bob Feller? Okay.$$Yeah.$$--Well, I won five straight games--$$So they making you the black Bob Feller (laughter).$$(Laughter) Well I didn't do that. But you know, my first game against the Memphis Red Sox, that, to me that was my historical game because of the things that happened. [HM Ted] "Double Duty" [Radcliffe] was catching. I was winning the game, three to one, and a guy by the name of--the guy that wrote my autobiographry found out the guy's name, I--they called him Big Red [Wilmer Fields] that night, but his real name was Red Lonely, I didn't know that, that night, Red Lonely? They called him Big Red, and, and, I struck Big Red out twice and with that drop, and I never will forget, every time Big Red swing and miss, look like I could feel the vibration out to the mound from the bat. That's how big and strong he was, and the fans, "Ooohh," 'cause he was known to get homeruns apparently 'cause they was looking for him to do this and I struck him out. So, in, in high school, I was taught to hit a curve ball. You, you go up far as you can get in the batter's box and wait there, you know, to hit it, get it before it curve. And I saw him that night --I struck him out twice. The last time in the seventh inning he came up, and look like he st--got up in front of the plate, gon' hit my--Double Duty called for the curve, for the sinker and I said, "Nah," 'cause I saw him step up. I'm gon' cross him up this time, you know, and Double Duty called time out, he come out there he said, "What's the problem?" I said, "You see him setting up?" He said, "I don't give a da"--and he curse word, "You throw what I tell you boy." That's what he said, and he gon' back behind the plate. And look like to me Big Red stepped up further and Double Duty still calling for the sinker and I shook him off, you know? I said no, and he said (waves his hand) that mean throw what you want and I did and I never will forget that night. I threw what I wanted and Mr. Lonely hit it and I think it's still going today. I never seen a ball hit that far in my life (laughter), and I'll never forget the tongue lashing I got that night, a seventeen year old. It was embarrassing to me with all those people there in the stand. Double Duty came out to the mound jumping up and down calling me all kind of names and I been in this league fifteen years, boy if I tell you to throw something, you throw it. I'll never forget that, I went on back and I won the game three to one, but I'll never forget that tongue lashing I got that night, you know.$$Yeah, I bet Double, Double Duty could do it too, he can--$$Oh well he, he, ah man could he do it. He hit the homerun that night to, was it, he hit a two run homer that night, yeah. He was a great player and you know? I didn't see him in his early years, but from what I saw in his older years, he should have been in the hall of fame. I don't know about some of those guys that got in the hall of fame. I didn't see 'em play but, you know, they couldn't have been too much greater than what I saw from him.

Billy Williams

Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and former Chicago Cubs outfielder, Billy Williams was born Billy Leo Williams to Jesse Moseley Williams and Frank Levert Williams on June 15, 1938, in Whistler, Alabama. Williams’s father was from Dolphin Island, had ties with the Faustina community, and was a teammate of Bill Robinson, who later became a member of the Negro League’s Chicago American Giants. The Mobile area produced Major League Baseball Hall of Famers such as all time home run king, Hank Aaron, and pitching legend, Satchell Paige; other greats from Mobile include Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Tommy Aaron, Cleon Jones and Tommy Agee. Most of the aforementioned stars had played for Ed Tucker’s Mobile Black Bears. Williams attended Whistler Elementary School where he excelled in sports; he graduated from Mobile County Training School in 1956; that same year Williams, following his brother Franklin Williams, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

Playing initially with the minor league Ponca City, Oklahoma, Cubs of the Sooner State League, Williams improved his game. Other black members of the Cubs organization included Gene Baker, future Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks, Sam “Toothpick” Jones, Sollie Drake and Negro League great, Buck O’Neal who served as a scout. Despite Jackie Robinson’s 1948 integration of Major League Baseball, Williams faced segregated accommodations on the road and at home games. In 1957, Williams hit a walk off home run to beat the Cardinals minor league team; this play angered the players on the all-white Cardinal team so much that they beat up the black elevator operator at their hotel as a stand-in for Williams. The next day with the game in progress, the elevator operator emptied his gun at the Cardinal players as Williams watched from left field.

Called up first in 1959, Williams was named National League Rookie of the Year in 1961. In his career, Williams hit twenty or more home runs in fourteen different seasons, and batted .300 five times. Williams was hero of the legendary 1969 Cubs along with Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins. In 1970, Williams led the National League in runs scored (137) and tied for the lead in hits (205), while batting .322 with forty-five home runs. Williams was the Sporting News National League Player of the Year in 1972. Selected as an All-Star six times, he was the second most durable player in National League history (as of 2007) playing 1,117 consecutive games. Traded to the Oakland A’s in 1974, Williams played in the American League Championship Series in 1975. After eighteen years with the organization, Williams began his post player years as a coach for the A’s. Williams joined the Cubs staff in 1986, becoming an assistant to Cubs president Andy McPhail. Williams was elected to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1983, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 in Cooperstown, New York. In 1999, Williams was named as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Accession Number

A2007.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/16/2007

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Mobile County Training School

Martha Thomas Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Billy

Birth City, State, Country

Whistler

HM ID

WIL34

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Good, Better, Best. Never Let It Rest Until The Good Is Better, And The Better Is Best.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/15/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Pinto, Red)

Short Description

Baseball player Billy Williams (1938 - ) was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs for over eighteen years, before ending his career with the Oakland A's. Williams was an inductee to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in addition to being named as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Employment

Chicago Cubs

Oakland Athletics

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Billy Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Billy Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Billy Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Billy Williams describes his mother's ancestry in Whistler, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Billy Williams describes his father's community in Faustinas, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Billy Williams recalls race relations during his youth in Whistler, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes his father's work as a stevedore in Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Billy Williams describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his introduction to baseball during childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls baseball players from Mobile, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes Hank Aaron's early career in baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Billy Williams describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes his experiences in grade school in Whistler, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Billy Williams describes his athletic talent as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Billy Williams remembers Bishop Joseph Howze

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Billy Williams describes his experiences at Mobile County Training School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls music from his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls signing his first contract with the Chicago Cubs

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls his teammates in the Chicago Cubs organization

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Billy Williams talks about changing his position to outfielder

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes how he developed his baseball swing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Billy Williams recalls being mentored by Rogers Hornsby

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls an incident with a gunman at a game in Ponca City, Oklahoma

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his experiences playing baseball in Ponca City

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls how he considered quitting minor league baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls the baseball career of his brother, Franklin Williams

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Billy Williams recalls being called up to the Chicago Cubs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Billy Williams describes changes in Major League Baseball since his rookie year

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes the changing roles of pitchers in baseball

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Billy Williams talks about the difficulty of scouting in baseball

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Billy Williams recalls his rookie year with the Chicago Cubs

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Billy Williams remembers playing for the Chicago Cubs in the early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Billy Williams recalls the personalities of his Oakland Athletics teammates

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Billy Williams reflects upon the Chicago Cubs' history of losing

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Billy Williams talks about how statistics affect baseball players

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Billy Williams describes the 1969 Chicago Cubs roster

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls competing with the New York Mets in the 1969 season

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Billy Williams talks about the 2007 Chicago Cubs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Billy Williams recalls his best seasons for the Chicago Cubs in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his experiences of racial discrimination in Major League Baseball

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Billy Williams talks about playing baseball for the Oakland Athletics

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Billy Williams talks about his record for consecutive games started

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Billy Williams remembers being named to the Baseball Hall of Fame

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Billy Williams recalls returning to baseball as a hitting coach

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Billy Williams recalls living on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Billy Williams describes his career as the Chicago Cubs' coach and advisor

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Billy Williams describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Billy Williams describes his views on baseball's steroid abuse scandal

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Billy Williams reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Billy Williams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Billy Williams talks about his favorite Chicago Cubs players

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Billy Williams describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Billy Williams narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$2

DATitle
Billy Williams recalls an incident with a gunman at a game in Ponca City, Oklahoma
Billy Williams recalls competing with the New York Mets in the 1969 season
Transcript
Is there any story from the minor leagues we need to tell before we get you to Chicago [Illinois]?$$I have a great story.$$Okay.$$Yeah, and it happened in 1957, I got a chance to play. And that night--we planned, we were playing the Cardinals [St. Louis Cardinals] farm team, we were playing the Ardmore Cardinals, okay. And in the ninth inning the game was tied and I was the only black person on the team [Ponca City Cubs], and I went the whole year just being the only black person on the ball club. In the ninth inning I got a base hit to win the baseball game. Beat the Cardinals at baseball game. They went away from the park pissed off, okay. They go to the hotel, and the one guy that runs the elevator--when three or four teammates got on the elevator, they got in an argument with the guy running the elevator. So they beat the guy up pretty good. You know they kicked him, they did all kinds of stuff with him, yeah. So at the end the guy said, "I'm gonna get you guys," okay? And we playing in--next night we were playing in Ponca City [Oklahoma] and I'm playing left field. So I saw this guy, you know all that used to come to games was whites and Osage Indians, that's a big Osage Indian [Native American] country. And I'm sitting--he sits in the stand for about, I guess about five minutes. And I'm watching him from left field. And then he ventured, you know the dugouts were right on the field, little low dugouts, you're sitting in there, you could--minor league D baseball. So the guy, the fence was right here and the dugout was right here. So the guy walks up to the dugout and he asked, "Say, where was Corey Smith?" He asked, "Where is Corey Smith?" That's one of the guys that beat him up, okay. So Corey Smith looks around and sees him. And their dugout on the first base line, our dugout is on the third base line. Corey Smith looks up and sees him and takes off and starts running. This guy pulls out a .38 right at the baseball field, pow, pow, pow. Empty it. You could see it hitting the ground, you could see the dust flying. And the, the manager jumped up, the manager got shot in the side. And he never did hit Corey Smith. But they came and got him, they arrested him, okay. They came out to left field, got me and took me in the clubhouse because they thought somebody would bother me. They took me in the clubhouse, sat me around in the clubhouse and they arrested this individual. They called the game.$$Now this was a white guy, the elevator guy was a white guy?$$No, he was a black guy.$$Okay. See this changes the whole--$$Yeah he was a black guy, yeah. And--$$And he was shooting at a white guy, wasn't he?$$Yeah, yeah. He was shooting at the, he was shooting at Corey Smith, the guy that beat him up, yeah. So they called the game about the second inning, you know. And this friend of mine, Bobby Walton, and they had a little team town or something that we used to go to and we went over there right after then. And somebody told his daughter that they arrested your father. And she went down to the police station and he got out. You know he was there about three or four days and he got out. Because he had bruises, lumps where they had beat him up on the elevator. And it's a strange thing. I guess about fifteen or twenty years ago, I went back to Ponca City, Oklahoma and I said, "You remember when I played here in 1957? There was a guy came out to the ballpark and he started shooting." So one of the guys in the area said, "Come here, I'll take you where he is." So I went over there and I could see this guy nailing nails, you know, and he was working on a church and he had become a preacher. And he turned around and I told him who I were and I just wanted to meet you and everything. And he said, "You know, you were the cause of that." And I say, "How was that?" He said, "They were mad because you got that base hit to beat them a ballgame."$So '69 [1969], you all [Chicago Cubs] won ninety-three games and you were like tearing up the league up until when the Mets [New York Mets] turned it on.$$Well the first day of the season, you know, it started the excitement for that whole '69 [1969] season. We were losing the ball game and Leo [Leo Durocher] called Willie Smith up there to hit. Willie Smith hit a home run and we won the ball game and I think we rolled off about eleven or twelve or thirteen in a row. You know we were winning, we playing great baseball. The excitement, you know when you go to the ballpark. There could be ten, fifteen thousand people waiting on the outside to get in the ballpark and this is like nine o'clock in the morning. You know we'd go out to the park and see all these people and that's the time we had to walk across the street to get to our car. We had to sign fifteen, twenty autographs before we get in the car, you know. But it was exciting, the whole year. You know we were, we were winning ball games. I mean if we had to have a shutout, Bill Hands would pitch it or Fergie [Ferguson Jenkins] would. If we need a home run, Ernie [HistoryMaker Ernie Banks] or myself or Santo [Ron Santo] hit it. Great plays when they--we were playing solid baseball. We were doing everything right. And we did everything practically right up until the last day. You know a couple of times we made mistakes on the field. But we still could have got through it and won. But during August, during August I think, we were like eleven games, I think leading by eleven games. And then you could see the thing start to tumble. We lost a few ball games, the guys weren't catching the ball. Couple of guys went in terrible slumps. But as I said, we still did enough to win, but the Mets kept on winning, the Mets kept on winning. Al Weis had about one or two home runs in his whole Major League [Major League Baseball] career. He hit a home run off of Phil Regan to win a ball game, you know? And in New York you see pictures of Agee [Tommie Agee] sliding into home plate, and Randy Hundley tagging him for an out, and the umpire called him safe. Randy jumped sky high and here's Leo coming off the bench. And we just, we just couldn't get it back. The Mets' pitching and the players, they overtaking us. You know the pitching. They came on and played great. As I say, we played good enough to win. The Mets--we didn't lose it, the Mets just beat us. But it was an exciting season that year. And I think from that time--this is when the crowds started coming to Wrigley Field [Chicago, Illinois] because there was always five, six hundred thousand. You know you go to the ballpark, they didn't open up the upper deck until weekends. But once that '69 [1969] season was finished, there was 1,600,000 people came to that ballpark, and that was unheard of. You know to Wrigley Field. And I thought, I think from that moment on, you know it's been people coming every day. You know it's been crowds every day.$$Yeah, it's probably the best attended ballpark in the Major Leagues, I mean people pack it (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) To not have won a pennant, to go through the seasons that we've had. But there's always hope, you know, for the people.

William Blair, Jr.

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr., was born on October 17, 1921. A former Negro League baseball player turned newspaper publisher, Blair has been a community voice in Dallas for over forty years. Blair attended Booker T. Washington High School and Prairie View A&M University. After six months at Prairie View A&M, Blair enlisted in the United States Army and became the youngest black first sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

Blair, a Negro League Baseball Museum inductee, pitched from 1946 to 1951 for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams. His baseball career included pitching a no-hitter in the Denver Post Tournament, playing with the late Winfield Welch, Jesse “Hoss” Walker, and Buster Haywood, and touring with Jesse Owens and the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair was instrumental in the development of the African American Museum’s Texas Sports Hall of Fame and serves on its advisory board. He was inducted in 1996 as a member of its inaugural class.

Blair founded the Highlight News (1947-1957). He also later founded the Southwest Sports News, a newspaper that specialized in publishing scores from Black college games throughout the United States. The paper was renamed The Elite News in 1960. One of the most influential black newspapers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Elite News created “The Elite News Awards Night,” which was the first African American awards ceremony in Dallas when it began in 1975.

Blair had been a civil rights activist for more than six decades. In 1986, Blair launched the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade, and this parade is now an institution in Dallas. Blair was a major force in local and state politics and was also an advocate for the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. In 2004, he founded the Religious Hall of Fame to honor African American ministers.

Blair lived in Dallas, Texas with Mozelle, his wife of sixty-three years. All of his children were involved in the family business.

Blair passed away on April 20, 2014 at age 92.

Accession Number

A2006.085

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/2/2006

Last Name

Blair

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Prairie View A&M University

B.F. Darrell Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Dallas

HM ID

BLA10

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

Kleberg Foundation

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

If I Can Help Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/17/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peas (Black-Eyed)

Death Date

4/20/2014

Short Description

Baseball player and newspaper publisher William Blair, Jr. (1921 - 2014 ) pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns and other Negro League baseball teams during the late 1940s. He also founded Elite News, an important Dallas-Fort Worth area black newspaper, and launched in Dallas the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Parade.

Employment

U.S. Army

Negro League Baseball

Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Blair, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes his childhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. remembers celebrating holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes Benjamin Franklin Darrell Elementary School

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. describes a lesson from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Blair, Sr. remembers his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Blair, Jr. remembers Munger Avenue Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Blair, Jr. describes his first job in the newspaper business

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his friends at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Moorland YMCA in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - William Blair, Jr. describes his mentors at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - William Blair, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - William Blair, Jr. describes his aspirations in high school

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - William Blair, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. recalls developing a fear of snakes in rural Powell, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes his U.S. Army service during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. remembers becoming a pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. describes his family

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. remembers his career with the Indianapolis Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. recalls his baseball teammates in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon the changing role of sports teams

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. talks about the importance of the Negro Leagues' history

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Blair, Jr. remembers founding Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Blair, Jr. describes the finances of the Elite News

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Blair, Jr. talks about his book, 'The Dallas I Know'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Blair, Jr. describes the Elite News Religious Hall of Fame

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Blair, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Blair, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Blair, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Blair, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
William Blair, Jr. talks about the impact of Negro Leagues
William Blair, Jr. describes his civic involvement in Dallas, Texas
Transcript
Tell me some more stories. I mean, what do you want to tell me about the Negro League?$$Well, the Negro League should have been a viable league now, like I was telling you at first. You see any time you turn your, turn something over to other folks, people do what they want to with it. The Negro Leagues should be have been, should have been a good farm system for ball players. I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. They started Major League Baseball in 1976 [sic.], Negroes didn't get in it until 1947. Every major record that they had in there, it took them seventy-five years to achieve it. Negroes broke it in fifty. Every one of 'em. You name, they broke 'em. Like I was telling you, they never thought nobody never break Babe Ruth's record. It was four or five Negroes could hit that many home runs. If we had got a chance to plan. If Willie Mays had played in a park where, where, like some of these ball parks these 325 foot fences, he'd a hit a thousand home runs. Just that, and they wasn't looking for Willie Mays when they found him. They was looking for that big old boy name Alonzo Perry, a good friend of mine, boy name Alonzo Perry, but a man had sense enough to see, see what he looking at and tell 'em about it. That's how they got in. They wasn't looking for him. Whole lot of ball player. The greatest, the best ball player I played with though was an older man. He was forty-eight years old. Him and Satchel [Satchel Paige] 'em come along together. I know you heard 'em talk about Cool Papa Bell [James "Cool Papa" Bell]. He's, he's the best I ever seen. He could run, do everything, and a wonderful man. And the thing that sticks our more about me and more about Cool, I don't care where we were on Sunday, he was going to church before he come to the ball park. Did it religiously. Wonderful man. He died in 1991.$$What changes would you have made to the Negro League?$$Well, the first thing they did, the first thing you needed to do with the Negro League is to control your own destiny. You see when people can come and take your folk from you for just a little bit of money, they should have money enough to keep 'em to do what they needed to do. Here's a ball player like [HistoryMaker] Ernie Banks, you get twenty-five thousand dollars for him. Hall of Fame ball player, to give a little bit more money for, for Willie Mays. So a lot of ball players they got for nothing. And for what they got 'em for, they didn't, they didn't do nothing with 'em. They take people's word, I was reading in the paper this morning about Denzel Washington's son played football down at Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia]. They gone give him an opportunity play in the NFL [National Football League] now. Now you know good and well, he ain't never played in that type of competition. I said he ain't that kind of football player 'cause I don't, I never seen him, didn't know he had a son, but this is the kind of stuff that they do, they'll run and grab some Negro for name, but it's some boys that got ability, that they'll never give a chance. I know good and well he wasn't the best back over there. I know he wasn't 'cause I never heard of him. It's a whole lot of that. But that's what happened to us in a lot of ways. And then we do ourselves wrong, like I was telling you. It's so many great ball players I seen. I seen so many ball players, just like you hear 'em talk about Satchel, Satchel was a great pitcher, no doubt about it. Never heard him say about (unclear), did you? It wasn't no difference than Hilton and Satchel. One was promoted and the other wasn't. They didn't promote Hilton Smith. Ball players will tell you, "Well if you can get Satchel out of there, they get Hilton," say, "you might get some runs in there." I said man, "You ain't got none off Satchel, you ain't get none off of Hilton." That's the pitchers they had. They had pitchers over there like Connie Johnson who died a couple of years ago. Connie Johnson, Booker McDaniels, Shape Alexander [ph.], Jim LaMarque, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith. These people pitched nine innings every day. (Unclear) these people got twenty-five ball players on their team. We didn't have but fifteen, and all of them could play different places, different places and if you got hurt, three or four could probably take your place and play that. That's the way they was. And they didn't have all this, like you hear 'em talking about people doing throwing (unclear), well that was known fact in the Negro League. You gone get throwed at just like you hit a home run in front of me, if I come up I knew I was gone have to lay down. They called it laying down. We could forget and the manager gone fine you. They want to fine the pitcher now hitting the ball, for throwing at 'em. They just, these people they take the game, they want to take it and make out of it what they want to. They never played it so what they want to do, they want to change it around. You can't do that.$So the newspaper [Highlight News; Elite News], once you got with the churches, you put in church news also. And it took off (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) (Claps) Been going ever since. Been going ever since.$$So every denomination?$$Anybody, everybody.$$And you just talk about their church? Tell me what a normal paper would--$$What I do, whatever they had, just like they have a, anything they have in their church, the things that worthy of news, they bring it to me. Just like they have their anniversary, they invite me, I go over to their anniversary, speak at their anniversary and this kind of stuff. I do all this then. I've done all this. I done it for years. I give to my kids now. I let them do it. That's the reason, most folks around here know me by what I did in the community, see I worked for politicians, I don't duck 'em. Politicians in this city here that elected in this city now, they elected on account of the work that I done for them, 'cause they couldn't get in places that I could take 'em. Just like, they don't let politicians go to no churches. William Jr. [HistoryMaker William Blair, Jr.] can take 'em. I started that. President Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton], before he ever was president, I was in a meeting right downtown at Jess Hay's office, the biggest, the biggest money-raising Democrat in the United States. I set up there and I told Reverend Raditz [ph.], there's five us in there, I told him, I say, he gone be the next president of the United States. You know how come I said that? 'Cause the man could talk. And you could understand exactly. He was right down to earth with what's he's doing and that's what he did. And all these local politicians, I don't have no trouble with none of 'em. I know all of 'em. One of the biggest mistakes we ever made in our life though, some of 'em, you put 'em in office, but you know, you have to live with it, so time will take care of that.$$So what other civic organizations do you work with?$$Oh, any of 'em. They come for all kinds of stuff here. Anything they want, they'll come here. They want me to help 'em with it. Especially when it comes to dealing with people. See I'm a people person. See all this stuff, talking about big shots, I don't believe in big shots. It's more average people than it is big shots, and that's what I deal with. I deal with average everyday people. I can go anywhere, I can take you right now, and I bet if it's fourteen people there, I bet ten of them there know me. And if I ever know your name, I don't never forget it. See I don't look down on nobody. It's one thing I guess I just learned that from people. I'm not no better than you, and you not no better than me. I don't care what your circumstances are. See, you may have all the money in the world, but we still a human being, and I don't look down on nobody that away. And that's the way I been all my life. Anybody that know me will tell you, say whatever he tell, say he ain't gone, ain't gone mince no words with 'em. I'll tell you exactly what it is. And I ain't trying to make no friends. Me and you can be friends, but I'm a tell you right. I said Denise [Denise Gines], that's wrong. Now you do whatever you want to about it, but I'm a sure tell you.

Carl Long

Negro League veteran and African American law enforcement pioneer Carl Russell Long was born May 9, 1935, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. His father William Long was a catcher for the black Rock Hill Blue Jays and his mother Ella Griffin Long operated a laundry business. Long graduated from West End School in Rockville where he excelled at sports. In 1951, at age sixteen, Long was recruited by John William Parker of the Nashville Stars of the Negro Baseball League (NBL). In Nashville, Long was taught to play center field by NBL legend and Hall of Famer, Oscar Charleston. He played for the NBL Black Barons in 1952, where he competed on the field with Willie Mays, Charlie Pride, Ernie Banks and Frank Robinson.

In 1953, Long was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and hit twenty home runs for Class A team, St. Johns, Quebec. In 1955, he was chosen as the first African American to play for the Kinston, North Carolina Eagles, also of the Pirates organization. Joined by other black players, Curt Flood and Leon Wagner, Long hit 111 runs and made the All Star Team. In 1956, Long married and hoped to be called up to the big leagues. However, he badly injured his shoulder in the Mexican League and never played major league baseball again. Starting as a truck driver, Long worked a succession of jobs including being named the first African American Deputy Sheriff in Lenoir County, North Carolina. In the 1970s, Long was appointed as the first black police detective in the history of Kinston.

The Kinston Indians started celebrating Carl Long Day in 1999. Carl Long Day is a three day celebration of Long and other Negro League veterans. Long, a member of the Negro Leagues Players Association, honored for his youth work and his baseball knowledge, lived in Kinston with Ella, his wife of fifty-two years. He passed away on January 12, 2015, at age 79.

Carl Long was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 21, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.246

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/21/2005

Last Name

Long

Maker Category
Schools

Emmett Scott School

West End Elementary School

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Carl

Birth City, State, Country

Rock Hill

HM ID

LON02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Kentucky

Favorite Quote

I Want To Be Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

5/9/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Kinston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbeque (Chicken, Fish)

Death Date

1/12/2015

Short Description

Police officer and baseball player Carl Long (1935 - 2015 ) played for the Negro Leagues and later became the first African American police detective in the history of Kinston, North Carolina.

Employment

Negro League Baseball

Pittsburgh Pirates

State of North Carolina

City of Kinston, North Carolina

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:40867,327:41877,340:57191,785:92115,1088:96719,1145:141601,1659:151229,1850:169063,2015:187570,2347:187990,2369:196050,2469$0,0:11002,179:19013,279:46566,705:86396,1233:102138,1459:130860,1808:143187,2019:178397,2460:178852,2482:190434,2673:211650,2967
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Carl Long's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Carl Long lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Carl Long describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls his mother's family's community in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Carl Long describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls his childhood in segregated South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Carl Long describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Carl Long recalls the start of his professional baseball career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Carl Long describes his tenure on the Birmingham Black Barons

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Carl Long describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Carl Long describes his father's work as a bootlegger

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls his childhood neighborhood in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls his father watching him play baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Carl Long recalls lessons in injustice from his career in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls leaving the Negro Leagues in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Carl Long recalls signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Billings Mustangs in 1955

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Kinston Eagles in 1956, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls playing for the Kinston Eagles in 1956, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Carl Long reflects on the effects of the Civil Rights Movement on baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Carl Long recalls playing baseball in the Mexican League

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Carl Long recalls the shoulder injury that ended his baseball career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Carl Long describes why he retired from baseball after his shoulder injury

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Carl Long recalls becoming a deputy sheriff in North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Carl Long describes his son, Sotello Long

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Carl Long describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Carl Long reflects upon his life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Carl Long reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Carl Long reflects upon debates about the accuracy of Negro League history

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Carl Long recalls the experience of playing in the Negro Leagues

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Carl Long describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Carl Long describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Carl Long reflects on movies made about Negro League Baseball

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Carl Long recalls playing in the minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization
Carl Long recalls the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, pt. 2
Transcript
But 1955, they sent me out on the reservation out there in Billings, Montana. You stay up on the reservation all the time, have a good time, and had a real good year up there in Montana, played in Salt Lake City [Utah], Ogden, Utah, Boise [Idaho], Pocatello [Idaho], Magic Valley [Idaho] or something like that, and Billings, Great Falls, Montana, snow everywhere, had forty-two inches in 1954, 1955 in April. When the plane landed on top of that rock up there, and the airport is sitting on top of the mountain, looked on top of the mountain down in the valley at the ballpark, had forty-two inches of snow. They cleaned 'em all, cleaned the field away, snow banks piled up some, some kind of high. We practiced that Saturday evening. We got in there Saturday morning, practiced that Saturday evening. Went out there, the first pitch I hit was out of the ballpark, bim. I took off. I said Jack, Jack Paepke was our manager, and I told 'em, I said, I was ready. I went running off. He said, "No, you gonna have to hit some more. You gonna have to hit some more," but I know up there was cold, and the bat was stinging, and that's the reason while I hit one pitch out of the ball--first pitch I hit out of the ballpark. Had a young, young, young, young kid there played center field the year before. He didn't get it back no more. I had took over. And there's a guy by the name of Dick Stuart. Every time he'd get a hit, I get knocked down the next pitch. I said--never did charge the mound. I didn't go there to fight. I went there to play baseball.$$Yeah, Dick Stuart was a first baseman, right, for (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, first baseman--$$--for the Pirates, right?$$And no, he was a left fielder.$$Was he--$$Yeah (laughter).$$Okay.$$I had to go in his--all the way over there where he was standing about ten feet from the ball and catch the ball. He said, "You catch everything you can catch." He said, "Because I don't know if I can catch it or not." I said Dick, "You gon' have to learn how to catch these balls." And partner, I showed Dick something. I showed him how to play the outfield, but he never could learn. And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I know he was the great hitter though--$$Yeah, who are--$$--great, great hitter.$$--talking about? In 1956, I went to Kinston. I went to Kinston, North Carolina in the Carolina League, first black ballplayer, being the first black ballplayer down there and showed out.$Then all the patrol cars, policemen, start coming in there, started grabbing these guys. I said, "Hold it, fellows." I said, "Take your hands off 'em." I said, "I got it under control." And they started mumbling. Police department started mumbling. I said, "I got it under control." See, I could arrest them. They couldn't arrest me. They had to do what I told 'em to do.$$Okay, so the sheriff was above the--$$Yeah.$$--police department. Okay.$$See, the sheriff's department would protect the city [Kinston, North Carolina]. I told the fellows, I said, "Now don't let me catch you out of here no more." I said, "Now, catch you out here again, you know where you're going. I want you off the street." One kid knowed me real well, Roy White [ph.]. I said, "Roy White, I said now, you know better than this." He said, "Yes, sir, Mr. Long [HistoryMaker Carl Long], I sure do." I said, "And I want every one of y'all off the street, and I want, I'm gonna make sure that you see that they off the street," and he said okay. I carried one guy down there and booked him, Palmer [ph.]. I said, "Palmer, if you hadn't been carrying this gasoline, I said you'd been home too." Down there booking Palmer, sheriff [Fred Boyd] called me saying, "Carl, when you get through what you doing, I'd like for you to come up here to, in the office a minute." He said no. I said, "Dusty [ph.]." He said, "I can tell you over the phone." He says, "Fred Bates called me and told me that you weren't working with the officer." And I said, "Well, no. You know I just come out of the county," and I said, "I saw what was going on, and I went right in there and stopped everyone; I stopped it. All the policemen come over there and try to take, take over, and I told 'em, I said leave 'em alone." The sheriff said, sheriff started cussing, not at me, at Fred Bates about his police officer. He said, "Look," he said, "I'm sorry." He said, "I didn't mean to disturb you." He said, "You go on do what you gotta do, but when you get time, you stop by here." And I gotta tell you something. So when I finished booking Palmer I went up to the office. He said, "Them damn son of bitches over there at the police department," he said, "too scared to get out of the patrol car. And you had to come in there and do their job, and they talking about that you wasn't helping them." He said, "Don't worry about a thing." He said, "I'll straighten it out." So the press was there. The press got a hold of it all, also. The big thing was in the paper about it. The police department was scared to go out there and do their own job and, and jumped down on Carl Long's throat, because Carl Long was doing their--Carl kept the city from getting burned up and all that stuff. You know how the press can do it, blow things up. But that's how that happened. But--$$James Earl Ray never came through there, did he?$$No, he never did come through there.$$Okay, that's right.

Charles Johnson

Former Negro League baseball player Charles Johnson has fought against discrimination for most of his long life. Born on August 7, 1909, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Johnson never knew his father. He lived with his mother, uncle and grandmother, bouncing back and forth between Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; and St. Louis. Johnson moved to Chicago in 1925 to be with his dying mother, and from age fifteen lived on his own. He worked at a grocery store on the South Side and became acquainted with Negro League great Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe.

In 1930, Johnson went on his first barnstorming tour of Canada with the Texas Giants, and went with the team again in 1931. When he returned home to Chicago, the Great Depression had set in, forcing Johnson to rely on bread lines and flop houses to subsist. He later joined the famed Chicago American Giants of the Negro League, pitching and playing outfield. When not playing baseball, Johnson worked in stockyards, and in 1940 took a job in electroplating. Johnson was married in 1942, and his wife, Julia, forced him to give up traveling with the Giants. He finally quit playing in the Negro Leagues in 1944.

Johnson went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad Company in 1951 as a porter, lured by its pension plan. He became an active member of his union and helped file a lawsuit against the railroad in 1965 for discrimination. After five years of litigation, the railroad relented and he became the first African American special agent for the IC. Johnson retired from the railroad in 1974. Since retiring, Johnson has worked to get himself and 140 other former Negro League players accepted into a pension fund established by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Though the fund was created to provide assistance to elderly Negro Leaguers, Johnson and others have not been able to receive support checks from it.

Johnson's wife died in 1999. They had no children. Johnson lived on Chicago's South Side until he passed away on June 19, 2006 at the age of 96.

Accession Number

A2003.003

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/13/2003

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Organizations
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

JOH08

Favorite Season

None

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/7/1909

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

6/19/2006

Short Description

Union leader and baseball player Charles Johnson (1909 - 2006 ) played for the Negro Leagues, barnstorming with the Chicago American Giants until 1944. He then went to work for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, winning an anti-discrimination lawsuit against them and became the first African American special agent in 1970. Johnson was an active advocate for the creation of a pension fund for the Negro League players.

Employment

Chicago American Giants

Illinois Central Railroad Company

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:5416,64:5826,70:6810,100:19080,207:21200,244:46271,512:50467,567:67980,740:69870,789:87970,998:90490,1047:91120,1061:102520,1209:114592,1314:149106,1875:155976,1963:181718,2340:184115,2365:184415,2370:191615,2600:201480,2694$0,0:2374,27:2814,52:6774,99:7390,107:13482,137:13986,149:14546,161:29475,338:32840,364:38458,447:38762,452:40100,458:45006,498:54060,582:55340,598:67398,691:77050,746:93131,889:94284,906:94908,916:95454,928:104510,978:108796,1047:117784,1116:120195,1135:132219,1235:134701,1282:136780,1289:143820,1376:144260,1381:158185,1454:166422,1561:167990,1568:184110,1693:185510,1720:205854,1890:209480,1911:209904,1916:214674,1976:215416,1988:217714,2015:218253,2023:224386,2074:225133,2086:225797,2096:226212,2102:226710,2109:227706,2128:229117,2150:229449,2155:229864,2161:233433,2240:233765,2245:239319,2283:244359,2337:260863,2557:265071,2581:283333,2702:283668,2708:296396,2817:297108,2827:305632,2896:317300,3016
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles Johnson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson describes his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Arkansas and Kansas City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson describes his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson describes the environment in Chicago, Illinois during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes the beginning of his career playing baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as a pitcher

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson talks about the lack of contracts in Negro League Baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his experience paying for the All Nation Clowns

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson talks about the most memorable games he played

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes being harassed by a baseball fan in Canada

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson talks about the other great athletes he played with

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson describes what years he played baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as an electroplater

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes his experience working for the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson describes the discrimination he faced from the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson describes the discrimination lawsuit he filed against the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson describes his experience as a policeman for the Illinois Central Railroad Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles Johnson talks about the lack of record keeping for Negro League Baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles Johnson talks about the difference between contemporary baseball and baseball of his era

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Charles Johnson describes the struggle to get pensions for former Negro League Baseball players

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles Johnson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles Johnson describes his experience offering advice to young black athletes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles Johnson talks about burying his stepfather

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles Johnson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles Johnson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles Johnson talks about the break in of his house

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles Johnson talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles Johnson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$11

DATitle
Charles Johnson describes a memorable baseball game he played in Baraboo, Wisconsin, pt. 1
Charles Johnson describes the struggle to get pensions for former Negro League Baseball players
Transcript
We had a game in Portage [Wisconsin], about thirty or something miles from Baraboo [Wisconsin] on a Saturday. I pitched that Saturday, and I was lucky enough to win. We had hotel accommodations in Baraboo that Saturday night according to the wire that we got. So after the ball game, we jumped in the bus and headed for Baraboo, uniforms and all on, hoping when we get there we'd get us a good bath and everything and get cleaned up. So we arrived in Baraboo and found this little hotel, I never will forget that either. It was kind of--little office downstairs like a storefront and the rooms is upstairs. Got out of the bus and went in, a little clerk said, "I don't know nothing about no reservation for ya'll." Said "What do you mean you don't, I got it right here, this is the manager," come out, "I don't know nothin about it, ain't nobody said nothin to me about no reservations and first of all you got them two niggers on here." Okay. Now we standing outside on a little sidewalk there, bus parked there, some sittin in the bus, some standing around waiting for the manager of the team. He hadn't showed up. So finally he showed up and the first thing he said was "I been trying to find a place for ya'll to stay, but I can't find no place cause you got these two niggers on it." When he said that the manager said, "All right fellows, let's load up, let's go. We'll stop along the road somewhere and get something to eat, whatever town we was going to the next day." "You can't leave here you gotta a contract so and so and so and so." So they started a argument between them. It was a man standing there with a little boy about five or six year's old. So he said to our manager, he said, "Can I speak to you a minute," he said, "Yeah." So he start to walk off, said, "You don't need to walk off, whatever you got to say, say it, we don't have no secrets." He said, "Well I heard what that so and so said to you," he said "now I'm an engineer on the railroad, and I'm gon be home tomorrow and I want to see a ball game." He said "If ya'll agree, I'll take the whole damn team home with me." He said, "Now I don't have beds for everybody, but we'll make pallets on the floor and so forth and so." He had a single-family home just like this one here, I think, three bedrooms in it, garage in the back. So the manager said "Ya'll here what this man said?" "Yeah, we heard him." "What you think about it, Al?" Morehead, Morehead said "all right," Morehead said "What about it Charlie?" I said "It's okay with me." Man run to the phone and called his wife and told her, call Jane so--it was her friend, "I'm bringing the whole team home for dinner, fifteen of us."$Now I got a article in the paper there, clipping in that drawer there now wherein that this guy is writing about the little pension that some of the players are getting.$$That's a pension through Major League Baseball?$$Yeah, okay. Now [HM] Carol Moseley Braun during her term as senator, she goes to [Jerry] Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox, and Bud Selig, which is now commissioner, was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers at that time, to talk about giving us a little type of pension. So when they put it before the team owners nobody want to touch it. Put it before the baseball union, nobody want to touch it. So Bud Selig said well hell, we'll do it ourselves. Now as Johnny says and I agree with him, when it come down to who's entitled and who's not, I think according to the count down in Kansas City [Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri], round two hundred and, not quite two hundred and fifty of us living now. Now they got a so-called union. The president's up there in Manassas, Virginia, right out of Washington, and I asked him "Who submitted the list of names for the eligibility of the players to Reinsdorf and whoever's handling it," he said "I don't know." "Well, somebody did. You president of the so-called union and you don't know? When you keep a count of every member that's eligible, you wrote me and wanted to know some questions before you recognized my eligibility." I don't know. Now Joe Black, Monte Irvin, Monte Irvin works for the commissioner out of the commissioner's office, they set up a ruling that you had to have four, I believe it's four years, consecutive employment in the league to be eligible. Consecutive now, which means you might have been there five years on and off, like myself. Therefore the majority of the players don't receive it. Now I got an article in that paper now wherein that this senator down in Florida says this session of congress he's gonna take it up because there's a hundred and fifty players that are not getting this pension, and at $10,000 a year, that's just a drop in the bucket to Major League Baseball, and they claim they can't find some extra money to give to these other hundred and fifty players. Well like Johnny said they could have pro-rate, said well if you been there two years, we'll give you $5000 a year you know. Whatever the majority of us out here is still struggling. I'm not struggling to--I'm existing, I'm not rich you know, but I'm living. But it's a lot of em is not well off as I am because they didn't work. Take like [HM Ted] Radcliffe down there, he ain't never had a job in his life, "Double Duty," never worked. So he's struggling, yeah. So now what's gonna happen now, I don't know, but Jim--the commissioner before Selig.$$[A. Bartlett] Bart Giamatti, yeah?$$He is writing a book and two months ago, I'll bet it's two months about now, he sent everybody a check from the royal(ph) of this book. And he says he contribute the whole amount to the old Negro players.

Minnie Minoso

Baseball legend Minnie Minoso was born Saturnino Orestes Arrieta Armas Minoso in Havana, Cuba on November 29, 1925. The outfielder and third baseman played for 17 seasons on four different teams and ended his Major League playing career in 1980.

Known as the "Cuban Comet," Minoso was the first Chicago White Sox player to break the color barrier in 1951. In his first time at bat in his White Sox debut May 1, 1951, Minoso hit a home run in a game against the New York Yankees. He finished his rookie year as the American League leader in stolen bases and triples, and led the American League in stolen bases each year from 1951 to 1953.

While with the Chicago club, Minoso ushered in the era of the "Go-Go Sox." Although he was not present for the Sox' 1959 pennant win, they gave him an honorary championship ring.

Following stints with the Indians and Senators, Minoso batted .302 in 1958 and 1959 before the Sox reacquired him in 1960, when he led the American League in hits. While he retired from baseball in 1964, the Sox brought him out of retirement in 1976. He coached for the Sox in 1976-78 and retired in 1980. The club's president named him "Mr. White Sox" before his number "9" was retired in 1983.

Minoso was a seven-time American League All Star and a three-time Gold Glove outfielder. He was elected to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and the World Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. Since his retirement from the game, he served as an ambassador for baseball and a Sox community relations representative. In 2002, he was inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals.

Minnie Minoso passed away on March 1, 2015 at the age of 89.

Accession Number

A2002.084

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2002

Last Name

Minoso

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Minnie

Birth City, State, Country

Havana

HM ID

MIN01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/29/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

Cuba

Favorite Food

Steak, Fish, Spanish Food

Death Date

3/1/2015

Short Description

Baseball player Minnie Minoso (1925 - 2015 ) was an all-star player with the Chicago White Sox known as "Mr. White Sox."

Employment

Chicago White Sox

Favorite Color

Brown, Green, White

Timing Pairs
0,0:5214,76:8840,409:57325,1062:84540,1339:113181,1664:150919,2075:191590,2455$0,0:976,44:4092,120:32120,483:80940,1047:98888,1314:108538,1429:137326,1745:137758,1786:138046,1791:154110,1924
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Minnie Minoso's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso talks about his birthdate and how he deals with critics

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso talks about his father and his birthplace, Perico, Cuba

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Minnie Minoso talks about playing baseball as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Minnie Minoso talks about his grade school years

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Minnie Minoso describes his mother and his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Minnie Minoso talks about racial discrimination in Cuba and in the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso talks about Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso talks about Cuba's baseball teams

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso talks about realizing his dream of playing professional baseball

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Minnie Minoso describes how he was signed by the Cleveland Indians

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Minnie Minoso remembers batting a .525 at Hudson Field with the Dayton Indians

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Minnie Minoso describes a misunderstanding at bat

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Minnie Minoso shares stories of racial discrimination on the road

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Minnie Minoso talks about mentoring youth

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Minnie Minoso talks about joining the Cleveland Indians after they won the World Series in 1949

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Minnie Minoso describes joining the Chicago White Sox and becoming Chicago's first black player

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Minnie Minoso talks about his first time at bat with the Chicago White Sox in 1951

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso talks about his friendship with Chico Carrasquel

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso describes his first season with the Chicago White Sox

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso talks about the role of baseball players as entertainers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Minnie Minoso talks about how he dealt with beanballs at the bat

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Minnie Minoso describes defending himself against brushback pitches and beanballs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Minnie Minoso talks about the increase of home runs in baseballs

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Minnie Minoso talks about his baseball injuries

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso talks about his all-star years and ongoing rapport with fans

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso names Ted Williams and Willie Mays as the best baseball players in history

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso talks about the openness of baseball today

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Minnie Minoso explains why he was with the Cleveland Indians when the White Sox won the pennant in 1959

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Minnie Minoso talks about his return to the Chicago White Sox in 1960

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Minnie Minoso talks about his coma

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Minnie Minoso reflects on his six decades long career

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Minnie Minoso talks about his career in Mexico and his induction to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Minnie Minoso talks about his return to the Chicago White Sox in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Minnie Minoso talks about his reception in his homeland Cuba and his American citizenship

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso talks about his relationship with Cuban ballplayers and his friendship with Joe DiMaggio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso talks about his relationship his father

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Minnie Minoso talks about his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Minnie Minoso shares his advices for today's youth, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Minnie Minoso shares his advices for today's youth, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Minnie Minoso narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Minnie Minoso narrates his photographs, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Minnie Minoso narrates his photographs, pt.3

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Minnie Minoso narrates his photographs, pt.4

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Minnie Minoso narrates his photographs, pt.5

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Minnie Minoso talks about playing baseball as a youth
Minnie Minoso describes his first season with the Chicago White Sox
Transcript
And, yeah, you were talking about helping out on the ranch.$$Right, so, and after that I used to help a few guy to have a obligation with (unclear) a father and to working. So I used to go over there and help to anyone, to needed to be free, like a Saturday and Sunday that we play. So if he--they do the duty, they'd be able to go over there and play. And I was the manager of the team, and I was the guy that built the team. And I used to be the pitching manager and they all listened to me. We was young, maybe about twelve, thirteen years old. And this is what, thirteen to fourteen. So I used to be the leader. And so then I would say, wait a minute, everything that you try and for your interests, you make it. You never listen to make it to the time you find it out your own self. And those guys used to follow me. They said, we have started to play the game, to the time, I remembered the one guy told me, look, Minnie, (unclear), I think if I was you, you giving up being, pitching. I said, why? Said, because you see you have a good arm. You're a good hitter, you're a good runner, you're a good fielder, and you intelligent. You're the best young kid playing the whole country here. And I said, gee, what is--you know why? I said, no, because, you know, you can go high. But if you stay pitching, and you hurt your arm, and if--to come back, it's gonna be tough. In [on] the other hand, if you play a different position, you can be a (unclear) (loaner?), and you can be, play as long as you want to. And you strong, and you're a good hitter. That's okay, I'm gonna pitch those two games. Then I have to face those guys. And after that, I give it up. So those teams, they used to beat my team when I went to Havana because my mother would pass, and I went to Havana, and I stayed there one month or two. And my team play against those two teams, and they beat (unclear) ('em?). And they started making fun out of it, they say, oh, we (unclear) come back. So when I come back, I say what happened. They said, they beat us. I said, well, great, we (unclear). So I went over there the first thing, I beat it, thirteen to one. And the second team we beat it, five to three. And I said, that's it. I retire like a pitcher, and I used to come out and play third base. And that's what I used to come out later on, third base to the time I come to the big leagues. And they changed me to play, Cleveland to left field.$So, your first season, you're rookie of the year. Now, what did--how did--was it a hard season? Was it a tough, tough that first season for you?$$No, the toughest season was for the second one. The first one, seemed like everything I do, everything I do. If I want to hit it behind the runner, (unclear), Paul Ritchie (ph.) used to look at me, point with his finger, hit behind the runner, he (unclear) first base (unclear). Man at third, and me to go for double and the man is scored. They give me a bunt, with two men on base, and I want, going to third because most of the time with two men on base, you're going to third because the first base can't judge too close. Foul, two strikes, run the play back. So I just keep the bunt, you know, but I used (unclear) now, like run past the ball, the pitcher. If you past the pitcher, you safe. Both the bases loaded, a ball with two strikes. Oh, those pitchers used to cuss me. Oh, they say so many thing to me, but I always laugh. I no say anything. So really, everything I would do, come like it's God protect me, everything I do. So I had a good year. I'm helping the ball club a lot. Sometime I make a mistake. I was a green light to steal and seemed like I get in everybody heart. The people fall in love with me, and I fall in love with the people till now. And I still in love with the people. They seem like they love me. So where else can I go? And what else can I do? If (unclear) said, God bless, God bless America like everybody said, and we were here. And God bless the people here, and God bless the baseball game. I enjoy very much to be the first guy who would play black, who played for the city [Chicago], and I love it very much to be dealing with the people for so many years and seem like I have some more years, seem like I'm gonna be--where God take me, so they gonna be taking me, talking to the people and be with the people.

Alvin Spearman

Al Spearman was born on August 26, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. Spearman was a member of an amateur baseball team when some friends asked him to join Chicago's Negro League team, the Chicago American Giants. He was a pitcher for the American Giants from 1949-51 in addition to serving as an outfielder in a few games for the Kansas City Monarchs. After leaving the Negro Leagues, Spearman played baseball in Mexico, Canada, and Japan- where he was one of four Americans in the Pacific League. Spearman retired from baseball in 1959 to become a salesperson for the 7-Up Bottling Company. Spearman lived in Chicago. Spearman passed away on January 14, 2016.

Accession Number

A2003.008

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/16/2003

Last Name

Spearman

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Kennedy–King College

Willard Elementary School

Du Sable Leadership Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvin

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

SPE01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

If I Knew Better, I’d Do Better

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/26/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

1/14/2016

Short Description

Baseball player Alvin Spearman (1926 - 2016 ) was a pitcher for the Negro Leagues and has played for international teams as well.

Employment

Chicago American Giants

Kansas City Monarchs

7-Up Bottling Company

Idexx Laboratories

Favorite Color

Black and Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4756,83:6150,114:7872,192:10742,233:14734,253:24510,372:32381,412:42047,478:50825,549:78696,792:83041,849:87781,915:94320,951:101440,1008:102214,1019:132762,1390:133815,1405:134544,1415:140680,1458:159134,1674:159687,1685:170990,1844:172466,1863:175664,1910:178206,1944:179026,1958:179682,1966:180010,1971:180584,1979:195836,2113:203852,2177:204188,2182:204524,2187:214080,2269:221636,2334:241262,2541:251714,2709:264080,2857$0,0:6640,167:9040,173:27812,450:28242,458:29102,470:29446,475:29790,480:30134,485:30478,490:30822,495:32628,530:34520,568:40626,692:41142,699:41830,710:54066,834:55036,843:57364,877:57752,882:86625,1149:90259,1223:90575,1228:93577,1284:94209,1294:94920,1301:99080,1328
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alvin Spearman's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman remembers meeting his maternal grandfather, Cornelius Smith

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman describes his mother, Connie Summage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman talks about how his parents met and their hometown Kiblah, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman describes his father, Benjamin Franklin Spearman

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alvin Spearman talks about education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman describes his childhood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman describes his memories of Chicago's Washington Park

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman describes his memories of childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman talks about his grade school years at Willard Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman talks about sports heroes from his childhood including Joe Louis, Jessie Owens, and the Harlem Globetrotters

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman talks about high schools in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman describes working at the post office as a high school student

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing sports at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman talks about the Negro history program at DuSable High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman describes his memory of Pearl Harbor and the economic boom of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman talks about his football career at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman talks about Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman remembers outstanding athletes at DuSable High School and Phillips High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman talks about the evolution of safety equipment in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman recalls sports stars who also grew up in Chicago including Freddie Dawson, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton, Joe Louis, and Ted Strong

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alvin Spearman talks about the importance of staying active and why he learned to box

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing baseball in his teenaged years in a Sunday school league and in Chicago's industrial league with the likes of Buddy Young, Freddie Dawson, Bob Satterfield, and Willie Mays

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing with Satchel Paige

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman talks about outstanding players in the Negro leagues like Smokey Joe Williams, HistoryMaker Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, Buck Leonard, Hilton Smith

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman details his transition from Chicago's industrial baseball leagues to the Negro Leagues

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman talks about his brief stint with the Janesville Cubs as the only black on the team

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing for the Kansas City Monarchs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman describes his experience of racial discrimination while playing for the Houston Buffaloes

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing for the Chicago American Giants

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman talks about Negro league players kept out of the Major Leagues

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman talks about gentlemen's contracts and improving contracts in baseball

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman describes the Stockton Ports in Stockton, California

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman describes the difference in treatment abroad and at home

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman talks about playing baseball in Japan after playing with the Harlem Globetrotters baseball team

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman talks about his experience playing baseball abroad

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Alvin Spearman talks about his career highlights and his last game

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Alvin Spearman describes why he quit baseball

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman talks about his career after professional baseball

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alvin Spearman describes his pitching strategy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alvin Spearman describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alvin Spearman talks about the relationship between sports and entertainment

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alvin Spearman talks about the importance of making a living

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alvin Spearman reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alvin Spearman talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alvin Spearman narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alvin Spearman narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Alvin Spearman describes his memories of Chicago's Washington Park
Alvin Spearman talks about Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton
Transcript
Can you describe Washington Park for us in terms of the size. 'Cause I think that people, anybody who's not from Chicago [Illinois] would think of just a park, a public park. But Washington Park was a lot of--$$Washington Park was huge and I--from my understanding, it was originally a race track, but this is much before I knew it. I've heard this afterwards. It's a huge park and basically, it's from 51st Street to about 60th Street south, and basically Cottage Grove to King Drive. That's--Cottage Grove is about 800 East and King Drive is about 400 East. And so it's a huge place that basically, I was in, as a kid growing up. I had went out there to play baseball or going out there to do a number of things I didn't care to--they had a swimming pool out there, I didn't care too much about swimming I never did. But I became a amateur boxer about in 1939 and used to go out in Washington Park and run around. They have a bridle path, a track that they used to run horses around and lot of the boxers and fighters would go out there and do what they called road work. So I started going out in Washington Park about in 1939 a lot as far as becoming an athlete. But before then I used to go out there more or less for maybe picnics or recreation, going out and watch (unclear). It was a beautiful time. In the neighborhood growing up during depression in the '30s (1930s), everybody knew everybody just about in that area. When I say area, maybe I'm talking about maybe a two-block radius, everybody knew everybody. And as long as you was in that radius, you felt comfortable. I never felt too comfortable even though I--we basically lived south of 47th Street. I never felt too comfortable going north of 47th Street, and I didn't feel too comfortable other than Washington Park going south. So what I'm saying is we had enough friends and recreation when we played basketball in vacant lots and may play football in the streets. And when we were playing baseball or softball, we'd go to Washington Park or maybe a vacant lot. But it was a fun time in Chicago for me and I really enjoyed some of the friends I had weren't too promising, but then I got away from them and so the guys that I really felt comfortable with were athletes, people in baseball or boxing or basketball. And it was a way of relieving tension because we were poor and really didn't know we were poor. And so we ate. My mother would--she'd get off and my mother worked, my mother always worked and--to support us. And when she got off from work she would come home and cook sometimes you put a pot on the stove and we'd be out playing, I can remember burning up a pot of whatever, you know, cause instead of looking after it we figured you know we out playing and time just fly by you know. But that was a fun time for me growing up in Chicago [Illinois].$I think Phillips [High School] had a--we [DuSable High School] did have an outstanding basketball team. We had a fellow they called Sweetwater Clifton was one of the first blacks in the NBA, played with the [Harlem] Globetrotters, a hell of an athlete.$$Can you spell his name for us? I've heard of him and everything, but just for the record?$$Well, Nathaniel Clifton was his name. They called him Sweetwater.$$Why did they call him Sweetwater?$$Well, I understand, from what I've been told that he used to drink, now whether this is true or not I don't know, but because we were poor and he couldn't have pop, he just to put sugar in water to drink and they called that sweet water. So that's what I was told that's the way he got his nickname. He was a little older than me and a hell of an athlete and he was in that statute that was awesome and outstanding because I have another friend, they played basketball with him on the team and on that team they won the championship at DuSable, a fellow name Rufus Randolph, and I talked with him quite often about Sweetwater and he tell me some things, but I learned that Nathaniel Clifton was a tremendous athlete. I knew him to be, but he was big. But there were so many outstanding athletes it's unbelievable. I can name any number of people that I admire tremendously.

Bobby Robinson

Legendary third baseman Bobby Robinson was born on October 25, 1903. He grew up in Whistler, a town outside of Mobile, Alabama, with fellow Negro League baseball player, Satchel Paige and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe.

Robinson was scouted for the Negro League while playing baseball with the semi-professional Pensacola Giants. The Giants made a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, when a scout who had been watching him for several weeks approached Robinson. The scout offered Robinson a contract to play professionally with the Indianapolis ABC's. Robinson accepted the offer, but instead of joining the team mid-season, waited until the next season's spring training to start.

Robinson made his Negro League debut in 1925. Over the course of his eighteen-year career, Robinson played with eleven Negro League teams including the Birmingham Black Barons, the Chicago American Giants, and the Memphis Red Sox. During those years Robinson also played against many of the best Major League players. Robinson is particularly well known for his stellar defensive play, earning him the nickname "The Human Vacuum Cleaner". He is considered by many to be one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game. Robinson retired from baseball in 1942.

Robinson lived in Chicago, Illinois, until his death on May 17, 2002.

Accession Number

A2001.066

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/22/2001

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Bobby

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

ROB01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Miami, Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/25/1903

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ham, Eggs

Death Date

5/17/2002

Short Description

Baseball player Bobby Robinson (1903 - 2002 ) played in the Negro Leagues for eighteen years and is considered to be one of the game's greatest third basemen. Robinson grew up in Whistler, a town outside of Mobile, Alabama, with fellow Negro League baseball player, Satchel Paige and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe. Robinson is particularly well known for his stellar defensive play, earning him the nickname "The Human Vacuum Cleaner".

Employment

Negro League Baseball

City of Chicago Bureau of Sewers

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bobby Robinson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bobby Robinson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bobby Robinson shares memories from his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bobby Robinson recalls playing baseball as a youth

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bobby Robinson remembers his extracurricular activities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bobby Robinson recounts being picked for his first professional team

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bobby Robinson describes traveling with the Pensacola Giants

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bobby Robinson reflects on playing for the Pensacola Giants

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bobby Robinson recalls being picked for the Indianapolis ABCs

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bobby Robinson describes life as a baseball prodigy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bobby Robinson remembers playing infield with the Indianapolis ABCs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bobby Robinson shares stories about fellow Negro League baseball players

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bobby Robinson recalls his famous barehanded triple play

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bobby Robinson describes the difficulties of hitting a curveball

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bobby Robinson recalls the personalities of Negro League baseball players

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bobby Robinson describes his living situations while playing for different teams

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bobby Robinson recounts racial discrimination on the road

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bobby Robinson remembers living with a surrogate family while playing in Memphis

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bobby Robinson recalls making baseballs out of cord

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bobby Robinson remembers all-black teams playing all-white teams

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bobby Robinson discusses disputes over salaries and contracts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bobby Robinson recounts trips to Cuba and Mexico to play baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bobby Robinson reflects on people who taught him different skills

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bobby Robinson recalls his salary on his first teams

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bobby Robinson remembers John McGraw

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bobby Robinson remembers when major league baseball began to integrate

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bobby Robinson reflects on the family who raised him

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bobby Robinson remembers famous Negro League baseball players of his era

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bobby Robinson recalls suffering various injuries playing baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Bobby Robinson reflects on his career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bobby Robinson recalls African American baseball team owners

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bobby Robinson discusses his retirement from baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bobby Robinson describes his post-baseball career as a bricklayer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bobby Robinson reflects on his life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bobby Robinson discusses his biological family

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bobby Robinson ponders his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bobby Robinson remembers other talented Negro League players

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, one of Negro League Baseball's most popular players, was born on July 7, 1902, in Mobile, Alabama. He hails from the same community as fellow Negro League players Leroy "Satchel" Paige and Bobby "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" Robinson, all of whom grew up playing ball together. Because of the limited educational and economic opportunities available to African Americans at the time, baseball became a means for Radcliffe and his brother, Alex, a top Negro League third baseman, to leave Mobile and the segregated South.

Radcliffe excelled at both pitching and catching. He pitched in five and caught in nine all-star games. He was nicknamed "Double Duty" by Damon Runyon, who saw Radcliffe play in a 1932 Negro League World Series double header. Radcliffe caught for legendary pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige in a victorious first game and then pitched a shutout in the second.

The Negro League Baseball player began playing professional baseball in 1928 with the Detroit Stars. Over the course of his career, Radcliffe played with over fifteen Negro League teams, including three of Negro League Baseball's greatest teams: the 1930 St. Louis Stars, 1931 Homestead Grays, and 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords.

In addition to pitching and catching, Radcliffe began managing teams in the late 1930s. He managed the Memphis Red Sox in 1937 and 1938 and took charge of the Chicago American Giants in 1943.

Radcliffe was the oldest living Negro League player in the United States at the time of his death on August 11, 2005, in Chicago.

Accession Number

A2001.062

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

6/16/2001

Last Name

Radcliffe

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Organizations
Search Occupation Category
Archival Photo 2
First Name

Ted

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

RAD01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

I like women.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/7/1902

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Ham

Death Date

8/11/2005

Short Description

Baseball player Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (1902 - 2005 ) was the oldest living Negro League player in the United States as the time of his death on August 11, 2005. He was nicknamed "Double Duty" by Damon Runyon, who saw Radcliffe play in a 1932 Negro League World Series double header. Radcliffe caught for legendary pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige in a victorious first game and then pitched a shutout in the second.

Employment

St. Louis Stars

Homestead Grays

Pittsburgh Crawfords

Memphis Red Sox

Chicago American Giants

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ted Radcliffe interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ted Radcliffe's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ted Radcliffe talks briefly about George Ectin

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ted Radcliffe recalls his parents and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ted Radcliffe discusses the origin of his nickname, 'Double Duty'

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ted Radcliffe recalls his earliest memory as a child and his first job in baseball

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ted Radcliffe talks about learning baseball and growing up with Satchel Paige

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ted Radcliffe details his move from Mobile, Alabama to Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ted Radcliffe talks about the job he held as a young man

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ted Radcliffe recalls his early baseball career

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ted Radcliffe talks about his wife Alberta

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ted Radcliffe talks about his barnstorming days playing baseball around the U.S. and Canada

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ted Radcliffe recalls players from the Negro Baseball Leagues who played with him

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ted Radcliffe remembers memorable baseball games in which he played

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ted Radcliffe talks about his favorite games

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ted Radcliffe recalls playing baseball against Ty Cobb

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ted Radcliffe talks about his baseball pitching skills

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ted Radcliffe recalls his career in the 1920s and his brief encounter with Babe Ruth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ted Radcliffe details his baseball salary in the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ted Radcliffe talks about his return from Cuba to play baseball and details his broken hands

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ted Radcliffe talks briefly about his managing career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ted Radcliffe talks about financial disappointments during his baseball career

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ted Radcliffe discusses his baseball career in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ted Radcliffe discusses his relationship with Jackie Robinson

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Ted Radcliffe talks about the salaries of Negro league players integrating major league baseball in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Ted Radcliffe recalls the demise of the Negro Baseball Leagues and talks about Ernie Banks

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ted Radcliffe talks about women and skin color

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ted Radcliffe gives his opinion on several baseball players

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ted Radcliffe talks about Hank Aaron and his own baseball philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ted Radcliffe talks about love of the game and discusses today's baseball salaries

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ted Radcliffe recalls what he's most proud of in his baseball career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ted Radcliffe lists all the the U.S. Presidents he has met

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ted Radcliffe discusses his legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ted Radcliffe recalls his parents' pride in his success

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ted Radcliffe talks about what it means to be black

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ted Radcliffe displays how he holds a baseball

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - Publicity photo of Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe in his Birmingham Black Barons uniform, Birmingham, Alabama, 1941

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - Detail from publicity photo of Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe in his Birmingham Black Barons uniform, Birmingham, Alabama, 1941

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Photo - Detail from publicity photo of Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe as player-manager of the Memphis Red Sox, 1937

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Photo - Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe tagging out Josh Gibson in a Negro League East-West All-Star game at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois, 1941

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Photo - Julieanna Richardson, Founder and Director of the HistoryMakers and Ted 'Double Duty' Radcliffe after his interview, 2001