In 1887, 28-years after the publication of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,The San Francisco Chronicle declared:

“The modern game of baseball is one of the most convincing proofs of the doctrine of evolution. All the leading features of that theory — natural selection, differentiation of species and the survival of the fittest — are admirably illustrated in the game of baseball as played at present. …


Mike Donlin had, arguably, his best season in 1905. The next season did not go so well. Donlin was suspended on March 15 by John McGraw while the team trained in Memphis.

The New York Times said Donlin was forced to move from the team hotel while he served the indefinite suspension:

Mike Donlin

“McGraw gives out a statement in which he says he warned the entire team at a formal conference against unnecessary violations of training methods. He says this conference was called at a time when Donlin was thought to be the one in need of advice. …


Will Grimsley was a New York based sportswriter for The Associated Press for nearly forty years; he covered 35 World Series and at least that many spring trainings.

Before teams opened their camps in 1961, he reported on segregated living arrangement.

Grimsley introduced readers to the woman who housed the Milwaukee Braves.

“Mrs. K. W. Gibson’s boarding house at 211 Ninth Avenue is a modest, spotlessly clean two-story dwelling which stands out in the dilapidated Negro section of Bradenton.

“Mrs. Gibson prides herself on “setting the best table in town.”

“The tiny, gray-haired matron for years has been house mother…


Schoolboy Johnny Taylor, like many Negro Leaguers, spent several seasons playing in Mexico. The Hartford, Connecticut native told his hometown paper, The Courant, about the game south of the border, in a 1941 interview with the paper’s sports editor W.J. “Bill” Lee:

“Taylor was telling us about baseball in Mexico, a subject on which he speaks with authority.”

Taylor

Taylor, who pitched in Vera Cruz in 1940, was asked how baseball competed with Mexico’s “big sport:”

‘”Well,’ Johnny laughed, “bull fighting is still the major sport down there but baseball is rapidly catching up. We play our games in the mornings…


In 1912, Arthur Irwin told William A. Phelon of The Cincinnati Times-Star:

“Rube Waddell was even a richer card than was usually supposed and nobody unless he were to put it all down in a large, thick book will ever have an actual summary of the things G. Edward said and did during his long career in the fast company.”

Irwin

Irwin said Waddell, despite his reputation for erratic behavior “had a kindly heart, always open to the cries of the unhappy, and especially gentle towards the ladies.”

He told Phelon a story about a dance they both attended in Philadelphia:


Named after the nation’s first black governor, Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback of Louisiana, the Pinchbacks were the best black baseball team in New Orleans–and the entire South– during the 1880s.

In August of 1888 The Chicago Tribune said the Pinchbacks were coming to town:

“This is the first time a colored club from the South has visited Chicago.”

The team scheduled games with the Chicago Unions for August 21 and 22, then were traveling to St. Louis.

The paper said:

“The Pinchbacks are composed of the best colored players and will certainly give the Chicago and St. …


Samuel H. “Sam” Apperious (incorrectly identified as William Apperious on Baseball Reference and other sources) led two separate boycotts that contributed to keeping William Clarence Matthews out of organized baseball — four decades before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

Apperious was born in Montgomery, Alabama; fellow Alabamian Matthews was born in Selma (some contemporaneous accounts wrongly claimed both were born in Selma).

The wealthy Apperious attended Georgetown University. Matthews, after studying, and playing baseball and football, at Tuskegee Institute and Phillips Andover, enrolled at Harvard University.

Matthews

Apperious was part of Georgetown teams (1900–1904) that sent several players to the…


William DeHart Hubbard was the first African American Olympic gold medal winner in an individual event — running long jump,1924 — and owned the Cincinnati Tigers, who played as an independent team from 1934–36, and were members of the Negro American League in their final season, 1937.

In 1944, Hubbard authored a plan to capitalize on black baseball’s, “opportunity of becoming firmly entrenched as an outstanding and progressive enterprise, reflecting credit in Negro people.”

Hubbard

He warned that promoters and “booking agencies” controlled Negro League baseball and said the owners held no power.

Wendell Smith, sports editor of The Pittsburgh Courier


In March of 1920, Hal Chase provided a short, sometimes self-serving, eulogy for his major league career to a United Press reporter “while attending a dinner at the Ritz Carlton” in New York:

“I wanted to quit big league baseball before it quit me, I realize that I would lose out in two or three years, and I’d rather quit while I’m top of my baseball career than wait for the career to leave me flat. That is the principal reason why I am not with the Giants on their training trip.”

Chase told the reporter he was heading West:


After more than two decades covering baseball, Hugh Fullerton told fathers “Don’t send your boy into professional baseball.” In response to a letter he said he received seeking his advice from a father who said his 19-year-old son wanted to play pro ball, Fullerton said in The Chicago Herald-Examiner in 1915:

Fullerton

“The life of a baseball player is extremely unsatisfactory. I have lived with them for more than 20 years and have found few good men in the profession who would not have been better off in any other.

“Your boy is at the age when the majority come into…

Thom Karmik

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