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Bill Gatewood

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William Gatewood (Big Bill)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6'7"

"Big Bill" Gatewood was a Negro League pitcher and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League, and in its first few seasons. He pitched for the Leland Giants, Chicago Giants, Chicago American Giants, New York Lincoln Giants, Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, St. Louis Giants, Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars, St. Louis Stars, Toledo Tigers, Milwaukee Bears, Memphis Red Sox, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, and Birmingham Black Barons.

An exceptionally tall spitball pitcher, Gatewood was a first line pitcher in Blackball's pre-league days, and pitched the first no-hitter in NNL league play, beating the Cincinnati Cuban Stars on June 6 1921. As his pitching skills deteriorated, he remained in the game as a manager and mop-up pitcher.

He managed the St. Louis Stars and Birmingham Black Barons. He is credited with giving Negro Leagues great Cool Papa Bell his nickname and for converting him from left-handed pitcher to switch-hitting outfielder. He is also credited with teaching Satchel Paige his "hesitation pitch" while managing him in Birmingham.

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