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

1 comment:

  1. Now I wish the Washington Nationals had been named the Washington Grays. What an amazing team.