Henry Merchant

From BR Bullpen

Henry Lewis Merchant (Speed)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 170 lb.

Henry Merchant was a Negro League outfielder of the 1940s and 1950s.

Merchant was a four-sport letter man in school. He debuted in 1940 with the Chicago American Giants, backing up Donald Reeves, Bill Simms and Frog Redus. In 1941, he remained a sub and he held the same role in 1942, when Jabbo Andrews, Cool Papa Bell and Jimmie Crutchfield filled the Chicago outfield. Moving to the Cincinnati Clowns, he was still unable to crack the lineup in either 1943 or 1944.

Speed Merchant hit .255 as a starter in 1945 and stole 13 bases, fifth in the Negro American League behind Sam Jethroe, Art Pennington, Parnell Woods and Herb Souell. He was a backup for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1946, then started alongside Verdes Drake and James Abernathy in 1947. He was a backup for Indianapolis in 1948.

With the Negro Leagues depleted, Merchant made his first East-West Game at age 32 in 1950. Hitting leadoff and playing center field for the East, he went 0 for 5 in a 5-3 loss. He batted second and manned right in the 1952 East-West Game, going 0 for 2 with an error in a 7-3 loss by the East. Merchant remained active with the Clowns through 1954.