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.