Eddie Locke

From BR Bullpen

Edward T. Locke

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 178 lb.

Eddie Locke was a two-way star in the minor leagues, winning 20 games or more four times in the minors. He did not debut in the minors until he was 27 years old due to his skin color. Locke broke in with the 1943 Cincinnati Clowns and moved to the Kansas City Monarchs a year later. For Kansas City, he went 3-3 with a 3.80 ERA and hit .297. The next year, he jumped to the Mexican League, going 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA for the Tampico Lightermen. He showed poor control, walking 35 and striking out 10 in 38 innings. He was out of baseball in 1946-47. In '48, Eddie returned to Kansas City. He split 1949 between Kansas City and the New York Black Yankees and remained with New York early in 1950.

Eddie moved to Organized Baseball during that 1950 season. He played for the Springfield (IL) Giants and was 10-8 with a 3.17 ERA and 96 walks in 139 innings as the staff ace. He hit .291/~.348/.432 with 8 triples in 148 AB. Locke returned to both the Kansas City Monarchs and Mexico in '51 with the Mexico City Red Devils but was 0-5 with a 4.76 ERA and 44 walks in 64 1/3 innings. He was with the Vancouver Capilanos in 1952 as a pitcher-outfielder. On the hill, he was 11-13 with a 3.44 ERA but his control was getting better (85 BB in 209 IP); he allowed three homers all year while hitting two - he batted .265/~.289/.401 with nine triples.

In 1953, Locke had his first big year. He went 1-5 for the Yakima Bears but spent most of the year in the south, where he met with more success. He was 21-7 for the Amarillo Gold Sox and had a 4.22 ERA in the high-offense West Texas-New Mexico League. He was 8th in the league in ERA, tied for fifth in wins and led the loop with five shutouts. With his control continuing to improve, he walked 51, hit one batter and threw two wild pitches in 226 innings, making him one of the league's sharper hurlers. He was error-free as a pitcher and had one miscue only in 41 games in the outfield. He batted .368/~.400/.632 and clubbed 17 homers, producing 116 runs in 280 AB. He was 10th in the league in average among players with 250+ AB. In a throwback to Joe McGinnity of a half-century earlier, Eddie worked both ends of a double header four times, pitching complete games and winning all eight contests. As in other minor leagues, the second game was 7 innings but this still represented four days of 16 innings of work. Three times, he threw shutouts in the second games of the doubleheaders. On June 10, he beat the Lubbock Hubbers 7-4 and 7-0 (a three-hit shutout). On July 18, he one-hit the Albuquerque Dukes in a 7-0 win, then followed with a three-hitter in a 2-0 victory. He beat the Dukes twice on August 1, by 22-6 and 5-2 scores. Finally, he trumped Lubbock again on September 3 with a 9-1, 4-hitter in the opener and a 5-hit, 2-0 shutout win in the second outing. Overall, he completed 24 of 26 starts that season.

The 1954 season was another great year in Amarillo. He batted .311 with 12 homers and went 24-15 with a 4.79 ERA. He finished second in the WT-NM in wins. He was 3-4 with a 7.04 ERA for the Gold Sox in '55 but had a fine year with the Artesia Numexers (20-7, 3.75; .355 with 11 HR) and tied for third in the Longhorn League in victories.

In 1956, Eddie was 6-2 with a 4.50 ERA for the Victoria Eagles and batted .293 with one homer. He then made his third trip to Mexico and would spend the rest of his career there. That season, he was 6-11 with a 2.59 ERA for the Sultanes de Monterrey. The next year, Locke had his first good year in Mexico in record, going 18-12 with a 3.20 ERA and completing 21 of 29 starts. He walked 56 in 256 innings. He led the LMB in wins, innings pitched, ERA, homers allowed (27) and tied Bobby Herrera for the shutout lead (4). Though he was not playing much in the field anymore, he still swung a fair stick, producing at a .266/~.316/.339 rate. No Mexican League pitcher had ever allowed 20 homers in a season before. That winter, Eddie was the pitching star of the Veracruz League (19-7, 2.77) for 37 victories in the course of a year; he was 18-6 in his other winterball season for Cordoba.

Locke remained Monterrey's ace in '58 with a 19-16, 3.37 line, completing 25 of 33 starts. He led the Liga in starts, complete games (two shy of Ramón Bragaña's 14-year-old record) and innings pitched (267) while shattering his own record for home runs allowed, issuing 33 gopher balls; in the next 42 years, only two LMB pitchers would allow more. He led the league in wins again and was 5th in ERA.

The Monterrey moundsman had a 21-16, 3.56 year in 1959 and tied Diomedes Olivo for the Liga win lead, his third straight year with the most wins. He hit .327 as well and led again in home runs given up (26) and was second in innings (278) and complete games (22, one behind Olivo) at age 36.

Locke made a comeback 8 years later, returning to Monterrey and going 10-13 with a 3.55 ERA. Overall, he was 75-73 with a 3.41 ERA in 7 years in Mexico and 86-61 in other minor leagues for a 161-134 record outside of the Negro Leagues.

Sources: 1951, 1953-54 and 1958 Baseball Guides, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley, The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database