Roy Partlow (Silent Roy)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6', Weight 180 lb.
Roy Partlow pitched for the Homestead Grays during their dynasty period between 1938 and 1943, with shorter stints for the Memphis Red Sox, Cincinnati Tigers, and Philadelphia Stars, plus time in the minor leagues, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. He had a good fastball and curve, though he was a temperamental pitcher, and could easily lose his poise when things went wrong, but managed a .618 won-lost percentage for the Grays, while batting .295 between 1941 and 1943 while playing part-time in the outfield. He started two games in each of the 1942 and 1943 Colored World Series with a record of 0-1 each series.
Partlow's career found stability when he moved to Homestead in 1938; he was 4-4 that year. He lost both of his decisions when Homestead toured Cuba that winter. The 28-year-old left-hander went 2-5 with a 4.40 RA in 1939. Partlow made the East-West Game for the only time. Pitching for the East in the first 1939 East-West Game, he relieved Leon Day with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 7th after Bill Byrd and Day had blanked the West through six. In the 7th, he gave up a Neal Robinson homer to close it to 2-1. Things got worse in the 8th. Double Duty Radcliffe led off with a single and was bunted over by Parnell Woods. Dan Wilson then homered to put the West ahead for good, 3-2.
The Georgia native was 7-4 for Santa Clara in the 1939-1940 Cuban Winter League, leading a staff which included Hall of Famer Hilton Smith and future major leaguer Rene Monteagudo. Roy struggled in the 1940 Mexican League, going 0-1 with a 8.71 ERA for the Veracruz Eagle with 29 hits and 20 walks in 20 2/3 IP.
He was 2-1 in 1941 but was 7-1 in 1942 as their #2 hurler after Raymond Brown. Partlow tied Day for 4th in the league in wins and led in winning percentage. His 1.29 RA led the circuit, well ahead of Day. On August 30, he threw a 7-inning no-hitter against the Chicago American Giants. He lost game two of the 1942 Colored World Series to the Kansas City Monarchs and had a no-decision in a game five loss; the Grays were beaten 4 games to 1.
Back in Mexico for most of 1943, Partlow again fared poorly south of the border, going 6-9 with a 5.85 ERA for Veracruz with 128 hits and 56 walks to 50 strikeouts in 95 1/3 IP.
Roy fell to 1-2 for the Grays in 1943 then was 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in the 1943 Negro World Series. He started game 3 against the Birmingham Barons, a game Homestead won in extra innings, but lost a 11-10 decision in relief in game 5 and a 1-0 11-inning pitching duel with Johnny Markham in game 7.
Partlow had a 1-0 record in 1944. Moving to the Philadelphia Stars in 1945, the veteran became the club ace, going 7-5. He tied Pullman Porter and Bytd for 4th in the Negro National League in victories. The southpaw was 6-3 in the Puerto Rican League that winter.
He was selected by the Brooklyn Dodgers to replace Johnny Wright as Jackie Robinson's roommate in Montréal in 1946, but Partlow left Montreal after posting a 2-0, 5.59 record for the Montreal Royals. He then went 10-1 with a 3.22 ERA for the Trois-Rivières Royals in the Can-Am League, hitting .404/~.462/.511 there as well. His demotion from Montreal appears to be unrelated to his performance but more to his incompatibility with Robinson. Had he qualified, he would have beaten Frenchy Bordagaray for the Can-Am batting title by 41 points. He was named the All-Star Left-Handed Pitcher and Playoffs MVP. From 1936-1951, he had the best single-season winning percentage in Canadian-American League annals.
Partlow came to the Dodgers' spring training camp late in 1947. He then did not play well and was released while Brooklyn was touring Panama. According to Gene Benson, Roy quit the team because he did not feel he was being used right. Don Newcombe said "[Partlow's] attitude was he'd pitch like he wanted to pitch, not like he had to pitch."
He returned to the Negro Leagues in 1947 but was only 4-7 for Philadelphia. He improved to 8-4 in 1948 then returned to Homestead in 1949.
In 1950, he was 1-3 with a 6.54 ERA for two Mexican League clubs. Overall, he had gone 7-13 with a 6.40 ERA and 1.97 WHIP in his three stints in Mexico, probably the low points of his career.
He spent the rest of 1950 with the Provincial League's Granby Red Sox, going 7-2 with a 1.97 ERA and hitting .278. He was second in the league in ERA behind Melvin Nee. He wound down in 1951, going 8-3 with a 3.41 ERA for Granby to finish his career in Organized Baseball with an impressive 27-6 record.
Partlow was plagued by problems with alcohol throughout his career and after his baseball days ended. One source called him a wino.
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester
- Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History by Jorge Figueredo
- 1947 and 1951 Baseball Guides
- Baseball's Canadian-American League by David Pietrusza
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros