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Cuban Giants

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In 1885 the Argyle Hotel Athletics became the first professional all-black baseball team. Photo of 1885 team. The same year they changed their name to the Cuban Giants and spoke pidgin English on the field, as fans would be more willing to see a team they thought to be Cuban than an African-American team. Managed by Cos Govern, they were considered the top black team in 1885, 1886, 1887 and 1888. In 1887 they played at least one exhibition game against a major league team, losing the contest. George Stovey was added in 1888. In 1889 they competed in the Middle States League and Frank Grant joined the team - as with Stovey, opportunities were drying up for Grant in the formerly integrated minors. The Giants represented Trenton, NJ and went 57-16 but league officials threw out a couple games and the title went to the team from Harrisburg, PA instead. In 1890 the Giants moved to York, PA and won the Middle States League title with a 40-16 record. 3B George Williams (.391) led the MSL in average, followed by 2B Sol White (.356). Grant and Stovey played for other teams that year. C Arthur Thomas (.345) led the league in doubles and triples and Bill Selden (16-5) won the most games.

In 1891 Grant manned second that year, with White at third and Stovey on the mound. The team folded but was rebuilt in 1893 with Grant, White and Stovey. Stovey left to join the Cuban X-Giants in 1895; the Giants beat their new rivals in 1896 but lost a year later as White left the club as well. The club had vanished by 1903.

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

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