Saturday, June 26, 2010

7-4 Win Over Grays In Pittsburgh

Having demolished Homestead Grays pitching in his first few appearances against them, Jackie may have been due for an off-day. It came on June 26 in Pittsburgh with an 0-for-5 night. His teammates picked up the slack, and the Monarchs triumphed 7-4 over the mighty Grays. Herb Souell led the way with four hits and three runs. His hot hitting on the eastern trip raised his average to .442, leapfrogging Lee Moody for second on the team to Jackie's .509. On the hill, Booker McDaniels went the distance, and according to the Pittsburgh Courier, his "blazing fast ball was too much for the usually heavy-hitting Grays. He struck out seven over the course of the evening and pounded out three hits himself," two of which were doubles. Buck Leonard managed "a mighty home run clout" to give the Grays a three run lead in the third inning, but KC completed the comeback with runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth. McDaniels doesn't have the name recognition of Satchel Paige or Hilton Smith, but he was the best KC pitcher to this point in the season. In games I've found to this point, his record stood at 5-2 with a 1.92 TRA (total runs allowed per nine innings, whether earned or unearned).

June 30 Pittsburgh Courier

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stars Hand Satchel Second Loss In As Many Days

One day after getting roughed up by the Grays in the District of Columbia, Satchel took the mound against the Philadelphia Stars in Philadelphia's Shibe Park on June 25. Paige got lit up again, this time for five runs in four innings. The National League wasn't agreeing with Satch; in the four American League games I have stats for before the eastern trip, Satchel had allowed just three runs in 20 innings. Between June 24 against the Grays and the 25th against the Stars, he gave up 14 runs in ten innings.

June 30 African-American

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jackie Goes 7-for-7 in Double Header With Grays

A double header against the Homestead Grays in Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium on June 24 was the setting for what was probably Jackie Robinson's greatest day at the plate during his short tenure as a Kansas City Monarch. He came to the dish eight times that day, and reached base safely eight times. In the first game, Jackie walked, hit two singles, and two doubles. In the second, he had three hits of unknown variety. It seems likely the Brooklyn Dodgers would have had their scouts' eyes on Jackie on this eastern trip. If a scout was there this day, he surely came away impressed. The incredible display raised Jackie's average in games I've unearthed to a preposterous .558. Monarchs third baseman Herb Souell joined Jackie in having a monster day at the plate, going a combined 7-for-9.

It wasn't a perfect day in the field for Jackie however; in the sixth inning of the first game, with the score tied 2-2 and the bases drunk, Josh Gibson hit a "slash" to Jackie at short. Jackie snagged the ball, but badly mis-threw to Monarchs catcher Double Duty Radcliffe, allowing Jud Wilson and Cool Papa Bell to score. Things just got worse for KC after that, and they fell 12-3 in game one.

No fewer than seven future hall-of-famers took the field: Jackie, Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith, Jud Wilson, Cool Papa Bell, Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson. The Grays were an incredible powerhouse; they were eight-time defending Negro National League pennant winners. In other words, 1936 was the last year a team other than the Grays took the National League. Talk about a murderer's row: the Grays' two through six hitters were Dan Bankhead, Wilson, Bell, Leonard and Gibson. All those five hitters could muster in game one was nine hits and seven runs.

Game two brought another offensive onslaught by the Grays. They rang up ten runs in the second inning against a combination of Lefty LaMarque and Booker McDaniels to win the game 10-6. 

June 30 Pittsburgh Courier summary and box

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Monarchs Feature Paige, Robinson in Double-Header"

Preview of the next day's double-header from the June 23 Washington Post. (Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McDaniels Starts Strong, But Loses Game To Bushwicks On Wild Pitch

Booker McDaniels cruised through the semi-pro Brooklyn Bushwicks line-up for the first seven innings. The Bushwicks were all white, one of the top semi-pro teams in the nation, and frequently hosted Negro leagues teams in exhibitions. The Long Island Daily Press reported McDaniels was "probably the fastest hurler the (Bushwicks) have faced this season" and that he "blazed his knee-high pitches past the batters with monotonous regularity." But things "went sour" in the eighth and ninth. The Monarchs yielded two in the eighth to create a tie, and in the ninth, McDaniels made a throw to first base while it was unmanned, and then allowed the winning run on a wild pitch.

Jackie had a fine day at the plate, but took a ball off the chin while playing the field. It must not have rattled him--He was the only batter with an extra base hit, chalking up two doubles to go with a single in four at-bats. He also knocked in two runs and scored one.

The game is also notable for being one of the very few that Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe ever played with the Monarchs.

(McDaniels and the Monarchs got another shot at the Bushwicks in August.)

June 23 Long Island Daily Press

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monarchs Invade Yankee Stadium, Take On Philly Stars

The Monarchs first eastern swing of '45 started in Yankee Stadium on June 17th with an inter-league contest versus the Negro National League Philadelphia Stars. The game was part of a three team doubleheader; game one featured the Stars besting the New York Black Yankees 7-1. The Monarchs appearance in the Big Apple warranted plenty of media attention, including from the New York Times. On the 17th, the paper ran an item with the headline "Satchel Paige To Pitch," and pointed out the Monarchs and Stars "will show Jack Robinson and Frank Austin, who rate as baseball's leading shortstops." The June 16 New York Amsterdam News took their advance praise of Jackie further: "The colorful Monarchs, rated one of baseball's great clubs, are bringing besides Paige, the game's No. 1 attraction, one of the sport's most valuable additions in years, in the person of Jackie Robinson, stellar shortstop...On his showing to date with the Monarchs, he appears headed for stardom, and at the rate he is developing, may become one of the all-time great Race shortstops." The Amsterdam News also claimed the Monarchs had "one of the greatest catching staffs in the game headed by Manager Frank Duncan, ably supported by Sam Haynes and 'Double Duty' Radcliffe." (Chico Renfroe actually ended up as the catcher for the game.)

Game accounts claim between 14,000 to 16,000 fans were on hand to witness Satchel face off against 21-year old rookie Wilmer Harris. Harris gave up just two hits and no runs through the first six innings. Satchel got off to a rocky start, allowing the first three Stars batters to reach on singles, but escaped the inning without yielding a run. He had his stuff back from there, retiring the next 11 Stars batters, and allowed just one more hit and no runs in five innings of work. In the top of the seventh, with no score in the game, the Monarchs finally got to Harris. Jackie started the rally with a single, "(Lee) Moody doubled Robinson to third. (John) Scott scored both runners with his second hit of the game, a double to center; (Walter) Thomas cut a sharp single to right to score Scott" (June 22 Kansas City Call). The three runs were all KC managed on the day, but three was enough after Lefty LaMarque relieved Satchel and hurled four no-hit innings (though he did allow the Stars lone run on two walks and two Stars sacrifices).

The eastern trip was off to a good start. Negro leagues historian Wayne Stivers reports that the Monarchs and Stars played on the 18th in Philadelphia, resulting in a 5-1 Stars victory. Over the next two weeks, the Monarchs would travel through the northeast squaring off with the Stars and Josh Gibson's Homestead Grays.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"The Greatest Pitching Battle Yet Seen" In Cincinnati

Crosley Field, Cincinnati (source)

After playing games in Kansas City on the 10th and 11th, and then in Belleville, IL on the 12th, the Monarchs and Clowns made their way to Cincinnati's Crosley Field for a night game on Wednesday, June 13th. It turned into a classic pitcher's duel between the Monarchs' Satchel Paige and Booker McDaniels and the Clowns' Angel Garcia. The pitchers combined for a 1-1 draw that was only put to a halt by Cincinnati's midnight curfew law. From the June 23 Chicago Defender:
...Fans witnessed the greatest pitching battle yet seen at the City of Seven Hills, as the Kansas City Monarchs' hurling aces, Satchel Paige and Booker McDaniels, battled to a 13-inning 1-to-1 deadlock against the curves of the Clowns' newest Cuban arrival, Lefty Angel Garcia, before the midnight curfew law stopped activities.
The Clowns scored their only run in the very first inning off Satchel Paige, when Henry Smith singled with one down and Reece "Goose" Tatum tripled to deep centre. Paige then struckout Fred Wilson and Sam Hairston to end the frame, holding the Clowns scoreless for five innings, after which McDaniels took over, and held the Clowns scoreles.
The Monarchs secured their first hit off Garcia in the fifth, when (Lee) Moody singled to center, was nailed at second by Garcia on (John) Scott's attempted sacrifice, the latter scoring when (Walter) Thomas doubled to right center, and the relay to the plate took a bad hop and bounded past Catcher (Buster) Haywood, permitting Scott to score and deadlock the ballgame.
Eight scoreless innings followed as McDaniels and Garcia refused to yield a run before midnight fell.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Meeting With the Clowns in KC After a Month On the Road

The Monarchs headed home to meet the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns on June 10 for a Sunday double header. The Monarchs hadn't been in Kansas City in four weeks. ("Home" might be a misnomer for KC; the bus was really home for the ballplayers.) 8,168 fans filed into the stadium to welcome the road-weary Monarchs. Satchel started the first game versus Lazarus Medina. Satch was on, allowing just one hit and no runs in his four innings. He struck out six Clowns. Medina didn't fare as well, and the Monarchs jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Satchel, usually not much of a hitter, helped himself out with a double, single and run scored in two at-bats. Booker McDaniels took over the mound for KC for the final five frames, allowing seven hits but just one run while striking out six. Jackie continued terrorizing pitchers with a 2-for-3 day that featured a triple, two RBI and two runs. Monarchs center fielder John Scott went hitless at the plate, but had "a mighty catch in the first inning which drew the applause of the crowd," and the home team prevailed 7-1.

In the second game, the Clowns evened things up with a 5-2 victory. Pitching for KC was Eddie Locke, making his first '45 appearance that I'm aware of. He got off to a rocky start, giving up five in the first three innings before keeping the Clowns off the scoreboard in the final four frames. The damage was done however, and the Monarchs only managed two runs in a losing effort.

June 10 Kansas City Call
The Monarchs record in regular season games that I've found to this point was 12-5 (.706). They outscored their opponents 86-61 in those 17 games, which is an average of 5.06 runs for and 3.59 runs against. Jackie's 2-for-3 day brought his average up to a mean .486, far and away best on the team.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monarchs Manage Just One Hit In Loss To Buckeyes

June 15 St. Louis Argus

Thanks to Dwayne Isgrig for finding this game report.

'45 Buckeyes manager/catcher Quincy Trouppe wrote this about the game in his memoir, 20 Years Too Soon:

We played the Kansas City Monarchs in Belleville, Illinois, when they were carrying a shortstop by the name of Jackie Robinson.
Jackie was a real fireball. He loved to win. We won the game in Belleville, and afterward, when both teams were dressing in the locker room, Jackie got into it with my outfielders, Sam Jethroe and Buddy Armour. He really had a sharp tongue, and I wondered who this young cat was to be raising all that sand.
Interesting that Jackie got into it with Jethroe--they had spent some time together in April trying out for the Boston Red Sox.
June 8 Kansas City Call

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Barons And Monarchs Go 10 Scoreless Frames; Game Called In The 11th After Melee

Huge thanks to John Holway for funding research that led to the following game summary being found in the June 7 Birmingham News:
The Black Barons and Kansas City Monarchs "battled" for 10 scoreless innings in their all-important series at Rickwood last night, and the game was called near midnight after numerous protested decisions and near fist fights between the players.
The Monarchs reached Schoolboy Newberry for seven hits last night. (Herb) Souell and (John) Scott got two each. Piper Davis got two of the Barons five hits off (Hilton) Smith, Monarchs hurler.
The protests last night came on the ball and strike decisions of Umpire Moore. The Monarchs scored one run in the first of the 11th on two hits. The Barons were threatening in their half when another protested decision led to a clash between Piper Davis and (Chico) Renfroe, Monarch catcher. Players flocked to join the melee and the game reverted to the 10th and was called with no decision.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Monarchs Sweep Double Header In Birmingham

Rickwood Field, date unknown (source)

Rickwood Field, 2004 (source)

After a 660 mile trip from Chicago, the Monarchs climbed off the bus in Birmingham to meet the Black Barons for a double header on June 3 at Rickwood Field. (Rickwood is the oldest surviving park in the country, built in 1910.) The Monarchs took both ends. From the June 8 Kansas City Call:
Coming from behind with a five-run rally in their half of the sixth inning, the Kansas City Monarchs overcame the Birmingham Black Barons early lead of four runs and went on to win the opening game of a doubleheader here Sunday, June 3 by a 9-7 score. The Kansas Citians made a clean sweep of the twin bill by taking the second game, a seven inning affair, by a 4-3 score. First baseman (Lee) Moody of the Monarchs, with two triples and a single drove in all of the Monarchs second game runs.
First baseman Lee Moody's bat was hot as could be early in '45 (source)

Lefty LaMarque started the first and was relieved by Booker McDaniels. Steve Wylie and Jack Matchett hurled in the second game. Jackie went 2-for-5 with two runs in the first game.

From here the Monarchs were to tour with the Barons through Montgomery, New Orleans, back to Birmingham, and Nashville during the work week. I unfortunately have no report for those games.