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1942 in the Negro Leagues

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1942 in the Negro Leagues


Contents

[edit] Standings

BOLD indicates League Champion

Newspapers reported unofficial NNL standings throughout the season, and the accepted standings come from such reports. The NAL did not publish standings regularly beyond the first few weeks of the season. Standings were extrapolated from scattered news reports. More accurate standings have been calculated from further research.

Three (actually four) different sets of standings are reported here. The originally accepted standings (in African-American newspapers and Robert Peterson's Only the Ball Was White) is represented in the first group; standings as reported by John Holway in his Complete Book of Baeball's Negro Leagues is the middle group; and newly researched standings by SABR's Negro Leagues Committee, split by league and overall standings (as an ongoing part of their Negro League Hall of Fame project) are the third group.

[edit] Negro National League

Standings
per Peterson
Standings
per Holway
Standings per SABR
Negro Leagues Committee
League standings Overall Standings
Rank Team Manager W L PCT W L PCT W L PCT GB W L PCT
1 Washington Homestead Grays Vic Harris 21 11 .656 21 11 .690 41 16 .719 -- 62 28 .689
2 Baltimore Elite Giants Felton Snow 21 12 .636 38 22 .633 39 19 .671 2.5 46 25 .648
3 Philadelphia Stars Goose Curry 16 18 .471 16 18 .471 25 32 .439 16.0 30 35 .462
4 Newark Eagles Willie Wells 18 16 .529 18 16 .529 21 30 .412 17.0 32 34 .485
5 New York Cubans Jose Fernandez 8 14 .364 8 14 .364 10 24 .294 19.5 17 33 .340
6 New York Black Yankees Tex Burnett 7 20 .259 8 18 .308 8 23 .258 20.0 11 25 .306

[edit] Negro American League

Standings
per Peterson
Standings
per Holway
Standings per SABR
Negro Leagues Committee
League standings Overall Standings
Rank Team Manager W L PCT W L PCT W L PCT GB W L PCT
1 Kansas City Monarchs Dizzy Dismukes/
Frank Duncan
NAL had
no official
28 10 .737 31 13 .705 -- 45 22 .672
2 Cincinnati-Cleveland Buckeyes Walter Burch/
Parnell Woods
published
standings
12 8 .600 26 12 .684 2.0 38 26 .594
3 Birmingham Black Barons Winfield Welch 14 10 .583 24 21 .533 7.5 32 33 .492
4 Memphis Red Sox Larry Brown 16 18 .471 26 27 .491 9.5 35 36 .493
5 Jacksonville Red Caps Herman Andrews 2 6 .250 7 19 .269 15.0 7 30 .189
6 Chicago American Giants Candy Jim Taylor 2 16 .111 5 27 .156 20.0 12 40 .231

[edit] Postseason

For the first time since 1927, the Negro World Series was resumed. The Negro National League and Negro American League had co-existed since 1937, but this was the first postseason series between their champions. The Kansas City Monarchs (NAL) defeated the Washington Homestead Grays (NNL), 4 games to none.

[edit] East-West Games

Two East-West games were played. In the regular game at Comiskey Park on August 16, with an attendance of 45,179. The East squad won the game, 5-2.

A second East-West game was arranged at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, with the proceeds going to the Army-Navy Relief Fund. Attendance was only 10,791, and the East won again, this time by a score of 9-2.

[edit] Notes

Many teams were hit hard by the military draft, with players being called into service mid-season. The Negro leagues were hit much harder than their white counterparts, given their smaller rosters (generally 16 men per team) and lack of organized farm systems. There was serious discussion throughout the season whether or not to suspend operations in 1943.

Hard pressed for cash, the Jacksonville Red Caps had sold or traded most of their best players by June, and paid their players on a semi-pro basis, though they continued to play games against the other NAL teams.

The Buckeyes played in both Cincinnati and Cleveland, though Cleveland hosted the plurality of their home games. They made Cleveland their only home beginning with the 1943 season. Cincinnati was already home host to the Clowns of the Negro Major League, and would remain so when the Clowns joined the NAL in 1943.

There were a number of "unofficial" games played in the NNL (scheduled but not counted in the standings, and a large number of interleague games that did not count in either league's standings. The Monarchs and Grays played three games against each other during the summer, with Satchel Paige starting in each for the Monarchs. All three games went extra innings, all were decided by one run, and all were won by the Grays, Paige taking the loss in two.

[edit] Leading Players

Statistics compiled by SABR's Negro Leagues Committee

[edit] Negro American League

[edit] Batters

  • BA: Willard Brown, KCM, .370
  • SLG: Willard Brown, KCM, .575
  • OBP: Ted Strong, KCM, .400
  • OPS: Willard Brown, KCM, .973
  • H: Willard Brown, KCM, 47
  • 2B: Willard Brown, KCM, 7
  • 3B: Bonnie Serrell, KCM, 4
  • HR: 3 tied (Willard Brown, KCM, Joe Greene, KCM, Ted Strong, KCM), 5
  • R: Ted Strong, KCM, 30
  • SB: Jesse Williams, KCM, 7

[edit] Pitchers

[edit] Negro National League

[edit] Batters

[edit] Pitchers

[edit] Negro Major Baseball League

Contrary to its name, this was a Negro minor league. Few box scores were published, team standings were never listed, and no player statistics were generated. The Cincinnati Ethiopian Clowns were reported to have had the league's best record, with the Chicago Brown Bombers second-best. Teams were:

[edit] Notable Events

  • February 28: The NNL released its first-half schedule (through the July 4 weekend) at their regular meeting, and rejected Gus Greenlee's application to have his Pittsburgh Crawfords readmitted into the league. Greenlee himself did not show up, claiming illness, but also failed to send any other representative for the team. Besides his failure to appear or have a representative at the meeting (in order to discuss dates, home grounds, etc.), the league's main reason for rejection was that the player reserve list that had earlier been submitted by Greenlee consisted almost entirely of players currently under contract to other NNL clubs.
  • March 19: Jackie Robinson, four-sport star UCLA athlete, and Nate Moreland, veteran of both the Negro National League and Mexican League arrived unannounced and asked for tryouts with the Chicago White Sox at their training camp in Pasadena, but White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes turned them down, explaining that it was not up to him, but to the owners of the club. According to Dykes, "There is no clause in the National Baseball Federation's constitution, nor is there one in the bylaws of the major leagues which prevents Negro ball players from participation in Organized Baseball. Rather it is an unwritten law. The matter is out of the hands of us managers. We are powerless to act and it's strictly up to the club owners and Judge Landis to start the ball rolling. Go after them!" Dykes went on to say that he would hire Negro players if he were allowed, and that he believed that all 15 other major league managers would do as well if not prevented by owners. A few years before, seeing him play in California's semi-pro circuit, Dykes had declared Robinson to be "worth $50,000 of anybody's money."
  • May 31: One week the Monarchs faced Dean's squad, the Homestead Grays beat them 8-1, with Paige pitching the first three innings, in Griffith Stadium. This game drew approximately 22,00 spectators. More exhibitions were planned, but Commissioner Landis ordered an end to them shortly after the second game, citing the fact that they are not officially sanctioned as Army-Navy Relief Fund games. A planned contest scheduled in Indianapolis was summarily cancelled.
  • July 5: The Jacksonville Red Caps failed to show for a game in Memphis with the Red Sox. Having sold or traded its best players to other teams, the Red Caps continued to play NAL teams when they could afford the transporation, operating as a semi-pro team. They still finished with a better record than the Chicago American Giants.
  • July 17: Following a closed-door discussion with Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher, in which Durocher reportedly denied responsibility for a quote in the New York Daily Worker blaming the owners of big league clubs for segregation, Commissioner Landis issued an official statement saying "Negroes are not barred Organized Baseball by the Commissioner and never have in my 21 years I have served as Commissioner. There is no rule in Organized baseball prohibiting their participation and never has been to my knowledge. If Durocher or any other manager, or all of them want to sign one or 25 Negro players, it's all right with me."
When asked for comment later that day, James Gallagher, GM of the Cubs, shifted blame, claiming that "our scouts have never recommended a Negro player." Gallagher than shifted the focus, saying "Personally, I think everybody in this country should be doing something of more value to the nation as a whole than stirring up racial hatred."
Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Benswanger also went on record that same day, saying, "I agree with Judge Landis' statement. There is not and never has been, to my knowledge, anything to ban Negroes from baseball. I know nothing of any agreement in the major leagues to ban Negroes. I have gone on record before on this matter and I hope I still have a free mind and a free conscience." Benswager was soon called on his statement by newspapers, and found himself promising tryouts for worthy Negro players.
  • July 24: Leon Day of the Newark Eagles struck out 18 Baltimore batters, breaking Satchel Paige's previous NNL record of 17. Day pitched a 1-hitter and walked only one, winning 8-1. The Elites' only run scored on two errors in the 9th.
  • July 27: Brooklyn Dodgers president Larry MacPhail disputes Landis' statement, saying "any statement that there is no agreement, formal or informal, barring Negroes from playing in Organized Baseball is 100% pure hypocrisy."
MacPhail himself was opposed to integration, offering the disingenuous logic of concern for Negro leagues owners, claiming "there aren't too many players in the Negro National and American Leagues, so if they should lose their best players to the majors, their own clubs would be hurt at the gate."
  • August 6: The Sporting News published an editorial titled "No Good From Raising the Race Issue", arguing that "mixed" teams were not in the best interest of baseball or of baseball fans. Further, it stated that "there are agitators, ever ready to seize an issue that will redound to their profit or self aggrandizement, who have sought to force Negro players on the big leagues." The editorial further argued that segregation was a beneficial concept, and that both races were happy with the situation as it currently stands.
  • August 6: Having promised tryouts earlier to Roy Campanella, Sammy T. Hughes, and Dave Barnhill and set this day as the date, Pirates owner Benswanger postponed indefinitely, citing unnamed pressures. General opinion in the press, both black and white, was that other owners had brought pressure on him to not hold the tryouts. Tryouts for the three will never be offered again.
  • August 27: The Chicago American Giants were forced to cancel a game with the Birmingham Black Barons scheduled for the next evening in Belleville, IL, after having lost several starters over the previous week to draft board call-ups. The Giants returned to Chicago where they signed replacements to fill out their roster for the remaining weeks. The Black Barons rescheduled the planned game with a local semi-pro team.
  • September 7: At about 3 AM, two Buckeye players, Ulysses "Buster" Brown and Raymond "Smokey" Owens, were killed instantly in a two-car crash just west of Geneva, Ohio on westbound US Highway 20. Two other players, Gene Bremer and Herman Watts, were seriously injured. Bremer suffered a concussion and Watts dislocated his pelvis. Team business manager Wilbur Hayes and pitcher Alonzo Boone were slightly injured as well, suffering cuts and bruises.
The players were in one of four automobiles on a post-season barnstorming tour, the team's bus being sidelined for repairs. The team was on its way from Buffalo, New York, where they had played a Sunday double-header with the New York Black Yankees, to Akron, OH, where a single game was scheduled against the same team. The other three cars were further enroute to Akron, further ahead of the fourth, which had been delayed by a flat tire.
Having just finished changing the flat tire at the side of Highway 20, the Buckeyes were hit at a high speed by a truck when they attempted to re-enter the highway. The force of the crash threw Hayes and Boone out of the car, and pushed both vehicles across the highway and into a tree, where Brown and Owens were crushed to death. The car overturned and pinned Watts' leg beneath it.
Despite the deaths of two starting players and severe injuries to two others, the Buckeyes still completed their scheduled barnstorming tour. When they appeared in Cincinnati's Crosley Field on the 9th, they were greeted with a standing ovation from fans.
  • December 3: At a regular meeting of the NL and AL with Commissioner Landis in Chicago, a committee of the Chicago CIO attempted to present a petition to the Commissioner and leagues to actively consider racial integration. Citing procedural rules, Landis refused to see them or consider their petition.

[edit] Sources

Negro League Seasons

Early Era
1800s · 1900s
1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919
Middle Era
1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929
1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939
1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945
Late Era
1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950
1950s · 1960s

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