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1953 East-West Game (Negro League)

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The 1953 East-West Game, played August 16, was the 26th East-West Game, and marked the game's 21st year. It marked the real decline of the game, with its estimated attendance of 10,000 being its lowest ever, a 40% decline from the previous game. The Negro American League was down to only four teams by this time. The West team was made up of players from the Kansas City Monarchs and Memphis Red Sox, while the players from the Birmingham Black Barons and Indianapolis Clowns comprised the East team. The West team won, 5-1, giving it a 14-12 edge in the series. Buddy Woods (Memphis) was credited with the win for the West team, and Willie Gaines (Indianapolis) took the loss for the East.

Evidence of the decline was the fact that nine of the 18 starters had never participated in an East-West game before this one, and that another five had played in only one or two games before. Only two participants eventually made it to the majors, Pancho Herrera and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, who would join the Cubs a month later. Baseball researcher and author Larry Lester places the end of the Negro Leagues here. It still had many major league-quality players, but its overall quality was dropping. Others place the end of the Negro Leagues earlier - John Holway stops in 1948, where reliable statistical reporting ends, in his The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues while James Riley seems to treat 1950 as the cut-off of the Negro Leagues as quality circuits in his The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Robert Peterson cut off his data at 1950 as well in his book Only The Ball Was White, though he admitted that his cut-off was artificially created by his deadline.

The East scored in the first inning on three singles by Ray Neil, Doc Dennis, and Henry Kimbro. This was all the scoring the East would do, gaining only three more hits in the remaining eight innings, two of them by Neil, who proved the top hitter of the game.

The West team tied the count in the second with a double by Willie Patterson to left and a single to center by Hank Baylis sent him home. The West then put over two runs in the third, all they would need to win. Dennis and Neil, who had contributed to the East's only score, each made costly errors, sandwiched in with Eddie Reed's single and a third error by pitcher Gaines to allow the two scores. West scored two more to make the score 5-1 in the seventh on a bases-loaded single by Monarchs reserve outfielder Ernie Johnson.

Red Sox pitcher Manny Cartledge and John "Stony" Jackson of Monarchs each pitched three hitless innings, each allowing a single walk.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
East 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 5
West 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 - 5 6 1

[edit] Players used

East Starting Lineup

Backups Used

Manager

West Starting Lineup

Backups Used

Manager

Source: Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester

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