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Bloops: The Greatest Pitcher You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted by Neil Paine on March 29, 2011

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 2:14 pm and is filed under Bloops, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Bloops: The Greatest Pitcher You’ve Never Heard Of”

  1. andy kerestesy Says:

    John Donaldson

  2. There was a similar player named Will Jackman, whose career is probably even less well-documented than Donaldsons.

    It is not inconceivable that there were others like them (great black players who spent most of their careers outside the Negro Leages) but I don't know of any others...

  3. Great piece. Thanks for including it here.

  4. Not to be confused with the other John Donaldson of my youth. .238/.313/.295 over 405 games for the KC/Oakland A's. He was best left unheard of.

  5. Marvelous piece! I'd never heard of Donaldson, and yet the least of his accomplishments was naming the mighty Monarchs. Truly remarkable that someone who honestly didn't live that long ago could require such a thorough digging job.

  6. Thanks for posting this, as that is indeed a terrific article and history lesson.

  7. Great article!

    Amazing that if the White SOx had listened to him in 1950, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron AND Ernie Banks might have all been White Sox through the 50's and 60's. Think about that for a second. . . .

  8. Justin Bailey Says:

    Very nice article, thank you for the link.

    The racism on display in some of the comments to the article is just astounding too.

  9. This was an interesting piece, but it's flawed. I've done some research on ballplayers who served in various wars and Donaldson was a World War I veteran. The article claims that the Negro Leagues wasn't firmly established until 1920, which is inaccurate. There were many star Negro League players before the war in the New York area while Donaldson pitched for Wilkinson's All-Nations team--a squad that hardly ever played anyone of even low minor league caliber.

    Of course, we'll never know just how great of a pitcher Donaldson was since he stood amateurs on their heads and didn't play much against the black stars of his time. Negro League executives, when discussing star pitchers of the World War I era, never mention Donaldson because the All-Nations team was looked upon as of far inferior quality. Cum Posey, the legendary Negro League executive, lauded the merits of Smokey Joe Williams and Cannonball Dick Redding (who I feel should be in the Hall of Fame), two picthers who pitched against talent.

    This was a fun piece to read, but the merits of Donaldson are exaggerated. However, hero worship is fine and dandy. Cannonball Redding is credited with 30 no-hitters against all levels of competition and I firmly believe, since he played against teams of higher quality, that he should get a Hall of Fame nod before Donaldson. That committee which elected close to 20 former Negro Leaguers surely left Donaldson off their list because of the stigma the All-Nations squad had for playing sawmill and mining league teams. How would Christy Mathewson have performed had he pitched against nothing but amateurs?