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Brooklyn Royal Giants

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The Brooklyn Royal Giants were a top east-coast Negro League team of the deadball era. Brooklyn Royal Cafe owner John Connor formed the team, which lost both matches that year against other top black teams in 1905. They were 1-4 in 1906 and boasted star infielders Home Run Johnson and Bill Monroe. They beat the Philadelphia A's in two exhibition match-ups. Johnson became player-manager in 1907, when they lost Monroe but added pitcher Billy Holland. Monroe returned in 1908 when the club beat the Cincinnati Reds 9 to 1 in a November match-up. 1909 saw them face other top black teams for the first time in a while and they split two contests. Holland was gone. Brooklyn went 3-2 in 1910 and lost Johnson as well, with Monroe performing poorly (.171) in the few major games. A 1-4 season followed as Monroe was no longer with the club. Johnson returned as player-manager in 1912 and helped the team to a 5-7 record; also joining on were Hurley McNair and pitchers Frank Wickware and Dizzy Dismukes. They were 2-2 in '13 as Johnson and Wickware left. Around this time Connor sold the team to Nat Strong.

In 1914 Brooklyn went 8-16 with Dismukes going 6-11. After a mediocre '15, they went 3-0 in 1916 despite no star presence, 2-2 in '17 (with Louis Santop behind the plate), 5-3 in '18 (with Pop Lloyd at short, Oliver Marcelle at third, Dick Redding and John Donaldson pitching and Santop catching), 2-13 in '19 (Marcelle and Redding remained) and 5-4 in '20 (Lloyd was player-manager). In 1920 they took two of three from the Washington Senators, who lacked Walter Johnson and used catcher Val Picinich as a pitcher one game. They were 1-2 in 1921 and 1-1 the next year.

1923 saw the Royal Giants join the new Eastern Colored League, going 18-18. Redding was player-manager of the club that year. The club fell to 12-23 in '24 despite the addition of Smokey Joe Williams before bouncing back the next season to 16-16. Brooklyn was a miserable 3-15 in 1926 and 14-26 in '27, though Chino Smith was emerging as a superstar. They were 3-6 in '28 when the ECL folded. A club with the same name was formed in the 1930s but the glory days were well past.

Sources: The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley, The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway

Eastern Colored League (1923 - 1928)
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