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Chief Yellow Horse

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Chief Yellowhorse.jpg

Moses J. Yellow Horse

also called Yellowhorse

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[edit] Biographical Information

Chief Yellow Horse, from Pawnee, OK, pitched in the major leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1921 and 1922. His given first name was "Moses". He is believed to have been the first full-blooded Native American to play in the major leagues, as others were apparently not full-blooded.

Chief yellow horse.jpg

With a lifetime record of 8-4, he was pretty successful, although his ERA was a bit below average in the second year.

He was a year older than youngsters Pie Traynor and Kiki Cuyler, who were both trying to make the team in 1921.

He had started pitching at Chilocco Indian School, and then began his professional career in 1920. Kid Elberfeld managed him in 1920 and claimed he was as fast as Walter Johnson.

He hurt his arm in both 1921 and in 1922. He was sent back to the minors in 1923, and spent 1923-26 in the minors. He went 22-13 with a 3.68 ERA for the 1923 Sacramento Senators, tying Harry Gardner for fourth in the Pacific Coast League in ERA. He hurt his arm again in 1924 and was just 1-4 with a 6.07 ERA for Sacramento in his last season of regular action.

He developed a drinking problem when he was in the majors. After his playing days, he spent years drifting and drinking until in 1945 he quit drinking. He became a tribal elder, worked for the Ponca City ballclub, and for the Oklahoma State Highway Department.

  • There is a story that Ty Cobb was taunting him with racist remarks in an exhibition game until Yellow Horse happened to hit Cobb between the eyes with a pitch.
  • He was used as the model for a character in the "Dick Tracy" comic strip by artist Chester Gould, also born on the Pawnee reservation.

See also SABR Biography of Chief Yellowhorse, a main source for this article, and Wikipedia.

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