Robert Lee Trice, Sr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190 lb.
- High School Dunbar High School
- Debut September 13, 1953
- Final Game May 2, 1955
- Born August 28, 1926 in Newton, GA USA
- Died September 16, 1988 in Weirton, WV USA
Bob Trice was a pitcher ten years (1949-1958), three in the Negro Leagues (1949-1951); three in the Majors (1953-1955); and eight in the minors (1951-1958). Trice was born on August 28, 1926, in Newton, GA. He graduated from Dunbar High School in Weirton, WV in 1945 at age 18 and joined the U.S. Navy during World War II (BN). He worked one day in a steel mill where his father was employed and then joined the Homestead Grays of the Negro National League where he roomed with Luke Easter.
He pitched for the Homestead Grays from 1949 to 1951. He broke into Organized Baseball in 1950 at age 24 with the Farnham Pirates in the Provincial League. His first two seasons with Farnham produced results of 5-3 and 7-12. Before the 1952 season, he was signed from Farnham by the Philadelphia Athletics. Optioned in 1952 to the St. Hyacinthe A's in the same Provincial League, he posted a 16-3 record with an ERA of 3.49. The next stop was the Ottawa Athletics in the International League in 1953 where his success earned him his first shot at the parent Athletics as he went 21-10 with a 3.10 ERA and was named the circuit's Pitcher of the Year.
Trice was 27 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 13, 1953, with Philadelphia, and in three games, he won two with a lone defeat. He was the first American of African ancestry to play with the A's. 1954 was also split between Philadelphia and Ottawa; in his best year in the majors, he was 7-8 with 8 complete games in 16 games started, 22 strikeouts, 48 walks and 1 shutout in 119 innings pitched with an ERA of 5.60 and a WHIP of 1.639 in 19 games. In 1955 the Athletics moved to Kansas City, MO and he had one last try in the major leagues, but pitched poorly without a decision in only four outings where he played his final big league game on May 2nd at age 28.
He returned to the minors and was not impressive at either of his other two stops that season with the Columbus Senators of the International League and the Savannah A's in the South Atlantic League. The last three years (1956-1958) were spent with the Mexico City Red Devils in the Mexican League, and he had an aggregate 14-15 ledger, ending his baseball career at age 32.
Throughout his career, he showed some abilities with his bat, leaving a .288 MLB average behind and a pattern of good averages in even seasons (.297 in 1952, .298 in 1954 and .289 in 1956). His hitting also showed good power, with seven home runs in each of his three seasons in Mexico and four home runs in each of his two seasons with Ottawa.
Overall in the majors, he was 9-9 with 9 complete games in 21 games started, 28 strikeouts, 60 walks and 1 shutout in 152 innings pitched with an ERA of 5.80 and a WHIP of 1.612 in 26 games Overall in the minors, he was 72-60 with 341 strikeouts and 399 walks in 1,059 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.98 and a WHIP of 1.408 in 185 games.
He retired from the Weirton Steel Corporation where he worked in the Strip Seed's Department's 54-inch skin mill. He had black hair and brown eyes, his ancestry was African American and his principal hobby was sports. He died at age 62 at Weirton Medical Center in Weirton, WV on September 16, 1988 and is buried at the St. Paul Catholic Church Cemetery in Weirton. Surviving him was his son Bob Trice Jr.
- Led Provincial League in wins (16) and won-lost percentage (.842), 1952
- Led International League in wins (21), 1953
Principal sources for Bob Trice include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1954) (WW), old Baseball Registers (1954) (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) ; The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James A. Riley; The Negro Leagues Book by Dick Clark and Larry Lester; The International League: Year-by-year Statistics, 1884-1953 by Marshall D. Wright; and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.