1942 in the Negro Leagues
|1942 in baseball|
|<< 1941 1943 >>|
- BOLD indicates League Champion
Newspapers reported unofficial NNL standings throughout the season, and the accepted standings come from such reports. The NAL did not publish standings regularly beyond the first few weeks of the season. Standings were extrapolated from scattered news reports. More accurate standings have been calculated from further research.
Robert Peterson, in his acclaimed work Only the Ball Was White, listed standings for the Negro National League as reported in African-American newspapers of the day; the National American League did not publish its final standings that season. John Holway, in his Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues listed the standings of both leagues for the first time. Since that time, SABR's Negro Leagues Committee (NLC) has published their estimated standings as an ongoing part of their Negro League Hall of Fame project, and the duty is now in the hands of Seamheads, and it remains an ongoing project to find reports of all games. Standings as currently known for 1942 are as follows:
|2||Baltimore Elite Giants||62||36||26||0||.581||9.0|
|5||New York Black Yankees||36||10||25||1||.286||21.5|
|6||New York Cubans||37||9||27||1||.250||23.0|
|2||Kansas City Monarchs||39||27||12||0||.692||1.5|
|3||Birmingham Black Barons||49||27||22||0||.551||6.5|
|4||Memphis Red Sox||44||21||22||1||.488||9.5|
|5||Jacksonville Red Caps||29||7||22||0||.241||16.5|
|6||Chicago American Giants||36||7||29||0||.194||20.0|
Overall standings include intraleague exhibition and postseason games not counted in the regular season, and interleague games during the regular season. It did not include games against teams of the Negro Southern League or Negro Major League, the Negro World Series, nor games by or against "All-Star" teams. Much of the advantage the NNL held over the NAL was because of the Buckeyes' poor showing against Homestead and Newark.
Many teams were hit hard by the military draft, with players being called into service mid-season. The Negro leagues were hit much harder than their white counterparts, given their smaller rosters (generally 16-17 men per team) and the lack of organized farm systems. There was serious discussion throughout the season whether or not to suspend operations in 1943.
Hard pressed for cash, the Jacksonville Red Caps sold or traded most of their best players by June, and reverted to paying their players on a semi-pro basis (sharing of the gate receipts), though they continued to play games against the other NAL teams.
The Buckeyes officially represented both Cincinnati and Cleveland. They scheduled seven home dates (13 games) at Crosley Field in Cincinnati; eight home dates (14 games) at League Park in Cleveland, and also scheduled eight dates and as many games in Athletic Park, a small amateur park in Meadville, PA, where one of the team officials resided. Due to rainouts, they played 12 home games in Cleveland, eight in Cincinnati, and seven in Meadville.
There were a number of "unofficial" games played in the NNL (scheduled mostly in neutral parks and not counted in the standings), and a large number of interleague games that did not count in either league's standings. The Monarchs and Grays played three games against each other during the summer, with Satchel Paige starting in each for the Monarchs. All three games went extra innings, all were decided by one run, and all were won by the Grays, Paige taking the loss in two. The "League" standings as reported above include all games (including neutral-site games) between teams of the same league played during the regular season (May 9-September 7).
For the first time since 1927, the Negro World Series was resumed. The Negro National League and Negro American League had co-existed since 1937, but this was the first postseason series between their champions. The Kansas City Monarchs (NAL) defeated the Washington Homestead Grays (NNL), 4 games to none.
A second East-West game was arranged at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, with the proceeds going to the Army-Navy Relief Fund. Attendance was only 10,791, and the East won again, this time by a score of 9-2.
Original statistics compiled by SABR's Negro Leagues Committee / Updated and published by Seamheads.com
Negro National League
- BA: Willie Wells, NWE, .378 / Lennie Pearson, NWE, .347
- SLG: Johnny Davis, NWE, .540 / Lennie Pearson, NWE, .601
- OBP: Willie Wells, NWE, .423 / Josh Gibson, HOM, .429
- OPS: Willie Wells, NWE, .951 / Lennie Pearson, NWE, 1.015
- H: Bus Clarkson, PHS, 49 / Lennie Pearson, NWE, 67
- 2B: Lennie Pearson, NWE, 13 / Bus Clarkson, PHS, 18
- 3B: 2 tied (Felton Snow, BEG and Vic Harris , HOM), 4 / Felton Snow, BEG, 7
- HR: Josh Gibson, HOM, 7 / Lennie Pearson, NWE, 11
- R: Josh Gibson, HOM, 37 / Bus Clarkson, PHS, 48
- SB: Matthew Carlisle, HOM, 10 / Matt Carlisle, HOM, 11
- W: Ray Brown, HOM, 11 / 2 tied Ray Brown, HOM and Bill Byrd, BEG, 10
- L: Barney Brown, PHS, 10 / Barney Brown, PHS, 9
- WL Pct: Leniel Hooker, PHS, 1.000 (5-0) / Leniel Hooker, PHS, .857 (6-1)
- IP: Barney Brown, PHS, 159 / Barney Brown, PHS, 153.33
- SO: Dave Barnhill, NYC, 61 / Leon Day, NWE, 86
- CG: Barney Brown, PHS, 14 / Barney Brown, PHS, 13
Negro American League
- BA: Willard Brown, KCM, .370 / Bonnie Serrell, KCM, .366
- SLG: Willard Brown, KCM, .575 / Neil Robinson, MRS, .584
- OBP: Ted Strong, KCM, .400 / Lloyd Davenport, BBB, .431
- OPS: Willard Brown, KCM, .973 / Ted Strong, KCM, .982
- H: Willard Brown, KCM, 47 / Willard Brown, KCM, 55
- 2B: Willard Brown, KCM, 7 / Sam Jethroe, CCB, 10
- 3B: Bonnie Serrell, KCM, 4 / Bonnie Serrell, 6
- HR: 3 tied (Willard Brown, KCM, Joe Greene, KCM, Ted Strong, KCM), 5 / Ted Strong, KCM, 7
- R: Ted Strong, KCM, 30 / Ted Strong, KCM, 37
- SB: Bill Williams, KCM, 7 / Cowan Hyde, MRS, 8
- W: Jack Matchett, KCM, 9 / Diamond Pipkins, BBB, 7
- L: Verdell Mathis, MRS, 6 / 4 tied Paige, KCM, Ferrell, CAG, McKinnis, BBB, and Mathis, MRS, 5
- WL Pct: Connie Johnson, KCM, 1.000 (5-0) / Connie Johnson, KCM, 1.000 (4-0)
- IP: Satchel Paige, KCM, 94.33 / Satchel Paige, KCM, 88.67
- SO: Satchel Paige, KCM, 74 / Satchel Paige, KCM, 74
- CG: 2 tied (Verdell Mathis, MRS and Eugene Bremer, CCB), 6 / Verdell Mathis, MRS, 7
It was generally known simply as the Negro Major League; contrary to that name, this was a Negro minor league, frequently serving as a minor league to the two established leagues. Few box scores were published, team standings were never listed, and no player statistics were generated. Most games were played at neutral sites, though most teams had (at least part-time) home ballparks. The Cincinnati Ethiopian Clowns were reported to have had the league's best record, with the Chicago Brown Bombers second-best. Teams were:
- Baltimore Grays, managed by Mickey Casey
- Boston Royal Giants, managed by Burlin White
- Chicago Brown Bombers, managed by Bingo DeMoss
- Cincinnati Ethiopian Clowns, managed by Bunny Downs
- Detroit Black Sox, managed by Charlie Henry
- Minneapolis-St. Paul Gophers, managed by Jim Brown
Two semi-pro Philadelphia-area teams, the Daisies and Meteors, were affiliated with the NML, and hosted games with
- January 6: Hall of Famer Louis Santop died, aged 53, at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia. A World War I veteran, Santop was buried with military honors. His active pallbearers were former teammates Judy Johnson, Chaney White, Jake Stephens, Joe Williams, Clifford Carter, and Fats Jenkins, and he had 20 honorary pallbearers, including Philadelphia Athletics coach Earle Mack and a number of prominent local politicians.
- February 14: Allen Johnson, owner of the St. Louis-New Orleans Stars, announced at a NAL meeting that his team would be quitting the league and that it would merge with the New York Black Yankees of the NNL. He further requested that the league waive nine of its players to join the Yankees; weeks earlier, the NNL had passed a resolution that declared that any of its teams could quit its league and take up to 10 players. The other NAL owners voted against Johnson and Mitchell, declaring the players NAL property. Johnson ignored the NAL vote, and transferred his players to New York anyway. In retaliation, the NAL approved a resolution that prohibited its members from accepting any games against the Black Yankees. The boycott would be only partially successful, cancelling a number of preseason games, but the Yankees would still play a few interleague games, most of them during a late-season barnstorming tour with the Buckeyes and against a cobbled-together NAL "All-Star" team in the postseason in Memphis.
- February 28: The NNL released its first-half schedule (through the July 4 weekend) at their regular meeting, and rejected Gus Greenlee's application to have his Pittsburgh Crawfords readmitted into the league. Greenlee himself did not show up, claiming illness, but also failed to send any other representative for the team. Besides his failure to appear or have a representative at the meeting (in order to discuss dates, home grounds, etc.), the league's main reason for rejection was that the player reserve list that had earlier been submitted by Greenlee consisted almost entirely of players currently under contract to other NNL clubs.
- March 19: Jackie Robinson, four-sport star UCLA athlete, and Nate Moreland, veteran of both the Negro National League and Mexican League arrived unannounced and asked for tryouts with the Chicago White Sox at their training camp in Pasadena, but White Sox manager Jimmy Dykes turned them down, explaining that it was not up to him, but to the owners of the club. According to Dykes, "There is no clause in the National Baseball Federation's constitution, nor is there one in the bylaws of the major leagues which prevents Negro ball players from participation in Organized Baseball. Rather it is an unwritten law. The matter is out of the hands of us managers. We are powerless to act and it's strictly up to the club owners and Judge Landis to start the ball rolling. Go after them!" Dykes went on to say that he would hire Negro players if he were allowed, and that he believed that all 15 other major league managers would do as well if not prevented by owners. A few years before, seeing him play in California's semi-pro circuit, Dykes had declared Robinson to be "worth $50,000 of anybody's money."
- May 3: The NNL begins the 1942 regular season with a single game, as Homestead defeats the Newark Eagles 3-2 before a Ruppert Stadium crowd of approximately 18,000 in Newark. Other NNL teams and all NAL teams will wait until May 9 to open the season.
- mid-May: After having played in the first three regular-season games for the Newark Eagles, Monte Irvin leaves the team and jumps to the Veracruz Azules of the Mexican League, where he would hit a reported .397 in 63 games. Other Negro leagues players were already playing there, including Theolic Smith, Leroy Matlock, Henry McHenry, and Quincy Trouppe (playing for the Mexico City Red Devils; Nate Hunter (pitching for the Puebla Angeles; and Martin Dihigo (playing for the Torreon Algodoneros). Irwin will later be joined in Vera Cruz in July by Eagles teammate Ray Dandridge. Irwin's defection, as well as those of other players, highlighted another difference between the white and black majors, as the Negro leagues more frequently lost talented players to the Mexican League owing to their lower payrolls.
- May 24: Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Monarchs defeated Dizzy Dean's All-Stars, a team comprising mostly major and high-minor league players currently serving in the military, by a 3-1 score in Chicago's Wrigley Field. Attendance was 29,775.
- May 31: One week after having faced the Monarchs squad, Dean's All-Stars lost to the Homestead Grays 8-1 in Griffith Stadium, with Satchel Paige, on temporary loan from the Monarchs, pitching the first three innings for the Grays. This game drew approximately 22,000 spectators.
- June 4: Without mentioning Dean or Paige by name, Commissioner Landis ordered an end to all such games, citing the fact that they are not officially sanctioned as Army-Navy Relief Fund games, were for commercial profit, and were possibly drawing fans away from the official "relief" games. A planned contest scheduled in Indianapolis was summarily cancelled.
- July 5: The Jacksonville Red Caps lost by forfeit to the Red Sox when they failed to show for the game in Memphis. Having sold or traded its best players to other teams, the Red Caps continued to play NAL teams when they could afford the transportation and other expenses, operating as a semi-pro team. They would still finish with a better won-lost record than the Chicago American Giants.
- July 17: Following a closed-door discussion with Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher, in which Durocher reportedly denied responsibility for a quote in the New York Daily Worker blaming the owners of big league clubs for segregation, Commissioner Landis issued an official statement saying "Negroes are not barred Organized Baseball by the Commissioner and never have in my 21 years I have served as Commissioner. There is no rule in Organized baseball prohibiting their participation and never has been to my knowledge. If Durocher or any other manager, or all of them want to sign one or 25 Negro players, it's all right with me."
- When asked for comment later that same day, James Gallagher, GM of the Cubs, shifted blame, claiming that "our scouts have never recommended a Negro player." Gallagher then shifted the focus, saying "Personally, I think everybody in this country should be doing something of more value to the nation as a whole than stirring up racial hatred."
- Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Benswanger also went on record that same day, saying, "I agree with Judge Landis' statement. There is not and never has been, to my knowledge, anything to ban Negroes from baseball. I know nothing of any agreement in the major leagues to ban Negroes. I have gone on record before on this matter and I hope I still have a free mind and a free conscience." Benswager was soon called on his statement by newspapers, and found himself promising tryouts for worthy Negro players.
- July 24: Leon Day of the Newark Eagles struck out 18 Baltimore batters, breaking Satchel Paige's previous NNL record of 17. Day pitched a 1-hitter and walked only one, winning 8-1. The Elites' only run scored on two errors in the 9th.
- July 27: Brooklyn Dodgers president Larry MacPhail disputed Landis' earlier statement, saying "any statement that there is no agreement, formal or informal, barring Negroes from playing in Organized Baseball is 100% pure hypocrisy."
- MacPhail himself was opposed to integration, offering the disingenuous logic of concern for Negro leagues owners, claiming "there aren't too many players in the Negro National and American Leagues, so if they should lose their best players to the majors, their own clubs would be hurt at the gate."
- August 6: The Sporting News published an editorial titled "No Good From Raising the Race Issue", arguing that "mixed" teams were not in the best interest of baseball or of baseball fans. Further, it stated that "there are agitators, ever ready to seize an issue that will redound to their profit or self aggrandizement, who have sought to force Negro players on the big leagues." The editorial further argued that segregation was a beneficial concept, and that both races were happy with the situation as it currently stands.
- August 6: Having promised tryouts earlier to Roy Campanella, Sammy T. Hughes, and Dave Barnhill and set this day as the date, Pirates owner Benswanger postponed indefinitely, citing unnamed pressures. General opinion in the press, both black and white, was that other owners had brought pressure on him to not hold the tryouts. Tryouts for the three would not be offered again.
- August 9: Roy Campanella and Sammy T. Hughes played in an exhibition fund-raising game with the Cincinnati-Cleveland Buckeyes against a white semi-pro all-star team, having left the Baltimore Elite Giants to do so without permission. Missing two of their top players, the Elites lost a critical game to the Washington-Homestead Grays, and surrendered the lead in the NNL pennant race. Both players were fined and suspended for the rest of the season, the latter move a curious one with the NNL championship still in doubt. Campanella was also barred from playing in the East-West Game. In response, Campanella jumped the team and signed on for the remainder of the season with the Monterrey Industriales of the independent Mexican League.
- August 27: The Chicago American Giants were forced to cancel a game with the Birmingham Black Barons scheduled for the next evening in Belleville, IL, after having lost several starters over the previous week to draft board call-ups. The Giants returned to Chicago where they signed replacements to fill out their roster for the remaining weeks. The Black Barons rescheduled the planned game with a local semi-pro team.
- August 30: Roy Partlow of the Washington-Homestead Grays pitched a 7-inning no-hitter against the Chicago American Giants, winning 3-0. An interleague game shortened by agreement as the second game of a double-header, it was the only no-hitter during the regular season.
- September 2: In Meadville, PA's Athletic Park, the Cleveland Buckeyes, using Meadville as a third home park, beat the Jacksonville Red Caps 6-4. Pitching for the visitors, Charles "Lefty" Boone struck out 18 Buckeye batters in eight innings; with the hometown Buckeyes winning, Boone lost the opportunity to pitch the ninth and add to his total. Buckeyes pitcher Alonzo Boone, no relation to Lefty, got the victory.
- September 4: After having earlier promised the Cleveland Call and Post Sports editor that the Cleveland Indians would offer tryouts to Parnell Woods, Sam Jethroe, and Gene Bremer of the Cleveland Buckeyes, Indians president Alva Bradley reneged in a letter to the paper, stating that his scouts had seen the three players play in the second East-West Game on August 18 in Cleveland, and based upon that one viewing had decided that the three "did not stack up as material for the Indians".
- September 7: At about 3 AM, two Buckeye players, catcher Ulysses "Buster" Brown and pitcher Raymond "Smokey" Owens, were killed instantly in a two-car crash just west of Geneva, Ohio on westbound US Highway 20. Two other players, pitchers Gene Bremmer and Herman Watts, were seriously injured. Bremer suffered a concussion and Watts dislocated his pelvis. Team business manager Wilbur Hayes and pitcher Alonzo Boone were slightly injured as well, suffering cuts and bruises.
- The players were in one of four automobiles on a post-season barnstorming tour, the team's bus being sidelined for repairs. The team was on its way from Buffalo, NY, where they had played a Sunday doubleheader with the New York Black Yankees, to Akron, OH, where a single game was scheduled against the same team. The other three cars were also en route to Akron, further ahead of the fourth, which had been delayed by a flat tire.
- Having just finished changing the flat tire at the side of Highway 20, the Buckeyes were hit at a high speed by a truck when they attempted to re-enter the highway. The force of the crash threw Hayes and Boone out of the car, and pushed both vehicles across the highway and into a tree, where Brown and Owens were crushed to death. The car overturned and pinned Watts' leg beneath it.
- Despite the deaths of two starting players and severe injuries to two others, the Buckeyes still completed their scheduled barnstorming tour. When they appeared in Cincinnati's Crosley Field on the 9th, they were greeted with a standing ovation from fans.
- September 20: The Homestead Grays beat the Kansas City Monarchs 4-1 in what was designated Game Four of the 1942 Negro World Series, but the game was thrown out after the Monarchs protested the use of "ringers". The Grays had several injuries, and had received permission to sign substitutes, but surprised the Monarchs when they brought in All-Stars Bus Clarkson, Lenny Pearson, and Leon Day. The game was disallowed, and the Monarchs maintained their three-games-to-none lead.
- September 29: The Kansas City Monarchs beat the Homestead Grays 9-5, in the fourth game of the World Series, sweeping the series four games to none. Counting a second game of a double-header (after Game 3) that was treated as an exhibition and the game that was disallowed, the series actually went six games, the Monarchs winning five.
- December 3: At a regular meeting of the NL and AL with Commissioner Landis in Chicago, a committee of the Chicago CIO attempted to present a petition to the Commissioner and leagues to actively consider racial integration. Citing procedural rules, Landis refused to see them or consider their petition, passing the word through an assistant.
- Only The Ball Was White by Robert Peterson
- The Negro Leagues Book by Dick Clark and Larry Lester
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues, John Holway
- Atlanta Daily World, 1942
- Baltimore Afro-American, 1942
- Chicago Defender, 1942
- Cleveland Call and Post, 1942
- Indianapolis Recorder, 1942
- Kansas City Call, 1942
- New York Age, 1942
- New York Amsterdam News, 1942
- Pittsburgh Courier, 1942
|Negro League Seasons