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Dick Redding

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Richard Redding (Cannonball Dick Redding, Smiling Dick Redding)

One of the greatest African-American pitchers of the Deadball Era, Cannonball Dick Redding was known (as his name implies) for his fastball. An illiterate southerner, Redding broke in with the 1911 Philadelphia Giants, then joined the New York Lincoln Giants, where he was 5-1 against top black teams, making him the best pitcher in the east at the age of 21. Not faring as well overseas, he was just 4-8 in the Cuban Winter League.

In a semipro game in 1912, Redding struck out 24 batters. He was 2-2 against top black teams that year and much better this time in Cuba, going 7-2. He slipped a bit in the next couple seasons, going 4-4 for New York and 2-6 in the winter league. Joining the Lincoln Giants off-shoot [[New York Lincoln Stars[[ in 1915, Dick went 6-2 with a 2.55 RA and is rated by John Holway as the top pitcher in the east that year. He went 7-7 in Cuba.

In 1916, Cannonball was back with the Lincoln Giants and went 4-1 with one save but a 5.59 RA. He then moved to the more organized midwest in 1917 with the Chicago American Giants. He went 14-5 with a 1.57 RA and began the 1918 year 2-0 with the Brooklyn Royal Giants; in his prime, the 28-year-old hurler was called into service in the army and saw combat duty in France in World War I.

Returning to baseball halfway into the 1919 season, now as a player-manager, Redding had a 1.67 RA but was just 3-5 for the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and Brooklyn. He was 8-7, 3.87 for Atlantic City the next season. A highlight of the season was a shutout victory of Smokey Joe Williams, 5-0, in Ebbets Field, the first eastern stadium used for a match-up of black teams. Redding beat Williams 6-0 in a later rematch. He beat Carl Mays and Babe Ruth 9-4 in an exhibition match-up, but continued to struggle in Cuba (4-7).

Redding went 16-10 in 1921 with a 2.96 ERA and led the eastern teams in both wins and losses for the second straight season. A workhorse, Dick often pitched games two or three days in a row. He lost two exhibiton matchups to a bad Philadelphia A's team, 3-1 and 5-1. In 1922, Redding went 2-8 with a 3.49 RA. His team lost a post-season match-up with the Chicago American Giants 3 games to 2. He also pitched in Cuba that year and went 3-1 at age 33.

In 1923 Redding moved back to the Brooklyn Royal Giants and remained as a player-manager. He was 3-1 as he began to see reduced time; a year later he fell to 2-4 and then he went 3-4 in 1925; his teams were generally around .500 at this time. He continued to decline as a player, falling to 1-4 in 1926 and 1-3 in 1927, while his teams were also slipping, reaching the cellar of the Eastern Colored League at 14-26 in '27. Redding, known as a friendly and popular manager, stayed on and would still pitch on occasion. In official league games he went 1-0 in 1928 and 1930, 0-1 in 1931 and 1932. Brooklyn faded away and Redding did not get another managerial job. He would pitch in an old-timers' game in 1938, beating Williams 5-0.

Overall Redding was 89-63 in his career against top black teams.

In 1948 he was hospitalized with a "strange malady" and died in a mental hospital that year.

Brother of Sam Redding

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


[edit] Negro Leagues Career Statistics

Year Team League W L SV Pct G GS CG ShO IP H R ER BB SO ERA
.
1920 Bacharach Giants independent 5 5 1 .500 12 10 9 3 86.3 75 38 29 12 25 3.02
1921 Bacharach Giants independent 16 10 0 .615 27 23 20 4 209.7 210 85 69 41 70 2.96
1922 Bacharach Giants independent 2 8 0 .200 12 10 9 0 85 115 51 33 18 32 3.49
1923 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 3 1 0 .750 8 5 3 0 53.3 68 34 24 8 14 4.05
1924 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 2 4 0 .333 7 7 6 0 59 71 36 33 19 30 5.03
1925 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 3 4 0 .429 8 5 4 0 43.3 58 25 22 9 25 4.57
1926 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 1 4 0 .200 6 4 3 0 34 35 17 14 11 10 3.71
1927 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 1 3 0 .250 4 4 3 0 26.7 26 22 14 12 5 4.72
1928 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 1 0 0 1.000 1 1 1 0 9 15 4 3 3 6 3.00
1930 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 1 0 0 1.000 1 1 1 0 9 5 2 2 0 0 2.00
1931 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 0 1 0 .000 1 1 0 0 4 7 7 5 1 0 11.25
1932 Brooklyn Royal Giants ECL 0 1 0 .000 1 1 1 0 9 17 8 6 0 0 6.00
.
Totals 12 seasons 35 41 1 .461 88 72 60 7 628.3 702 329 254 134 217 3.64
seasonal notation '1.96 18 21 1 45 37 31 4 320.7 358 168 130 68 111 3.64

Source: Committee on African-American Baseball

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