Samuel Howard Bankhead
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 175 lb.
Sammy Bankhead played from 1930 through 1950 in the Negro Leagues, primarily for the Homestead Grays. He was a speedy, versatile, good-hitting infielder-outfielder. During the winters, Sam also starred in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
A hardnosed leader on the field, Sam became a manager late in his career. While still playing shortstop, he was skipper of the Vargas Sabios (Wise Men), champion of the Venezuelan winter league in 1946-47. Sam then led the Grays during their last two years as an independent club (1949-1950).
In 1951, Bankhead signed with the Farnham Pirates in the Provincial League as player-manager. He is recognized as the first African-American skipper of a predominantly white team. The team went 52-71, finishing 7th in the eight-team league.
Sam was the oldest of the five ballplaying Bankhead brothers. He worked in the coal mines of Alabama as a young man. Brother #3, Dan Bankhead, was the first African-American pitcher in the major leagues. His other brothers Fred, Joe, and Garnett also played in the Negro Leagues.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1951||Farnham Pirates||Provincial League||52-71||7th||none|