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Nip Winters

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Winters at the 1924 Negro League World Series.

Jesse Winters
(Nip, Jim, Nipper)

  • Height 6' 5", Weight 225 lb.
  • Bats Left, Throws Left

[edit] Biographical Information

Nip Winters is widely considered among the great pitchers in Negro Leagues history. On the field, he was known for his fastball, curveball and poor control, while off the field he was known for alcoholism. After several years with minor times, he broke in with the Baltimore Black Sox at age 21 in 1920 but saw limited time. In 1921 he joined the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and went 3-3 against top black teams. He went 6-10 the next year, with a no-hitter against the Indianapolis ABCs on July 26.

The southpaw joined Hilldale in 1923 and became a star there. He went 10-3 with a 3.03 RA, leading the Eastern Colored League in both categories (Rats Henderson also won 10). He beat the Philadelphia A's 3-2 in one exhibition game and also picked up a loss and another win in relief against the A's. Nip went 27-4 with 3 saves in all games 1924, and led the ECL in wins again. He threw another no-hitter, this one against the Harrisburg Giants, and only an error by Jake Stephens cost him a perfect game. In the first Negro World Series, he won game 2 over the Kansas City Monarchs with an 11-0, 4-hitter. He then beat Bullet Rogan 5-2 in game 5, lost game 7 on two days' rest, won game 9 to tie the series at 4-4-1 (and also scored a key run), but was unavailable for the finale. He had 3 of Hilldale's 4 wins in the series, and posted a 1.16 ERA.

The 26-year-old continued to headline the Hilldale staff in 1925, when he led the ECL in wins for a third straight season (21-13, 3.88 RA); he led the league in strikeouts (96) and was fourth in RA. Playing first base at times, he hit .327 and was tied for third in the ECL with 6 triples. He was only used in one game of the Negro World Series and beat Kansas City 7-3 to go to 4-1 in the postseason. Winters went 23-4 in 1926 but lost the ECL win title to Red Grier (25-12); he had the best winning percentage, though, and was second in RA (2.23). Winters fell to 18-16 the next year; he still tied for second in the league in victories and was second once again in RA (2.96).

Winters joined the New York Lincoln Giants in 1928 and went 10-11, tied for third in the ECL in wins. Overall he had gone 86-47 in the league's history, making him the top pitcher in the annals of that circuit.

Fading at age 30, Nip was just 6-9 for the Lincoln Giants and Baltimore Black Sox in 1929; he was 1-2 with the 1931 Philadelphia Stars, then was 1-2 for the Washington Pilots the next year. Overall Winters was 126-74 against top black teams during his career, placing him 8th all-time in the Negro Leagues in wins and among the top 20 in winning percentage. He was 2-1 against white major league teams and 4-12 in the Cuban Winter League as well.

After he retired, he became a handyman and continued to suffer from alcoholism.

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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