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Rats Henderson

From BR Bullpen

Arthur Chauncey Henderson

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 180 lb.

Rats Henderson was a top Negro League pitcher of the 1920s.

Henderson's interesting nickname has a couple different explanations. James Riley writes that the young Henderson was working in a glass factory. Someone hid a rat in his lunchbox - when he opened it and the rat got out, Henderson got the moniker. Another explanation, offered by John Holway, involves a similar story but states that the incident happened with Henderson's schoolmates.

The little right-hander debuted in 1923 with the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, going 10-13. He tied Nip Winters for the Eastern Colored League lead in wins. He was 6-3 in 1924. In the winter of 1924-1925, he was 8-5 for Habana in the Cuban Winter League. He was one win behind co-leaders Oscar Levis and Bullet Rogan and his three shutouts led the league, beating out at least three future Hall of Famers (Rogan, José Méndez and Martin Dihigo) and several major leaguers such as Jesse Petty and Ben Tincup.

The curveball specialist was a true workhorse in 1925, going 18-16. He was second in the ECL in wins, trailing Winters. That year, his $375 per month salary was the highest of any pitcher in the eastern world of black baseball. In 1926, the diminutive moundsman started off 2-5 but wound up 15-8 at year's end, trailing Red Grier and Winters for the ECL lead in wins. He was 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA in the 1926 Negro World Series. He won game eight, but with a chance to put it away in game ten, he lost to Wee Willie Powell; the Bacharach Giants wound up falling in 11 to the Chicago American Giants.

The sidearmer was 15-6 in 1927, placing fifth in the ECL in wins, leading in winning percentage and finishing 5th in RA (3.60). He missed the 1927 Negro World Series due to injury. He was 10-4 in 1928, tying Winters for third in wins and leading in RA (3.13). He had his last big year in 1929, when the veteran turned in a 6-0 mark.

Overall, Henderson had gone 80-50 in the ECL. In 1931, he tried a comeback with the Detroit Stars but went only 1-2 to end his career.

Henderson later sold rugs in Atlantic City then worked 18 years for the Continental Can Company.

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