1944 Negro World Series
Birmingham Black Barons
Birmingham was managed by Wingfield Welch, a very successful Negro League skipper. They had several talented offensive threats - 2B Tommy Sampson hit only .227 but led the Negro American League with 7 home runs and stole 16 bases. SS Artie Wilson hit .346, second in the circuit, and tied for second with 17 steals. 3B Johnny Britton was 5th with a .324 average and tied for 4th with 11 doubles. OF Ed Steele was among the leaders in doubles (12, tied for 2nd) and triples (8, tied for 2nd). Having off-years were 1B Piper Davis (.143), C Double Duty Radcliffe (.215) and C Pepper Bassett (.222). Alfred Saylor (14-5, 2.74, 63 K) tied for the NAL lead in wins and was 5th in ERA, while Al Gipson was 10-6. They had easily edged the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns for the pennant.
Homesteadhad taken the Negro National League title by 5 1/2 games over the Baltimore Elite Giants. They were guided by Candy Jim Taylor, who won more games than any manager in Negro League history. Taylor had replaced Vic Harris, who was working in a military plant during the War. The offense included three Hall-of-Famers - C Josh Gibson (.365, a league-leading 17 HR and a league-leading 12 triples), 1B Buck Leonard (.350, a league-leading 23 2B, 9 HR and 7 triples, both second to Gibson) and veteran OF Cool Papa Bell (.274). SS Sammy Bankhead (.345), 3B Rev Cannady (.356), OF Jerry Benjamin (.342) and OF Dave Hoskins all topped .300. The staff was led by Ray Brown, who went 9-3.
|Winning pitcher: Roy Welmaker (1-0)|
|Losing pitcher: Johnny Markham(0-1)|
|Homeruns: Washington-Homestead: Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, and Dave Hoskins; Birmingham: none|
On Sunday in Birmingham, Johnny Markham and Roy Welmaker squared off and were even at 1-1 after 3. Gibson got Homestead going with a long homer off of Markham in the 4th and they began piling on the offense from there in a 8-3 rout. Leonard and Hoskins also went deep off of the ineffective Markham.
|Winning pitcher: Edsel Walker (1-0)|
|Losing pitcher: Al Saylor(0-1)|
On Tuesday, the Series moved to New Orleans, LA. Saylor did not pitch nearly as well as he had in the regular season as the Grays scored six times on eight hits. Birmingham connected only one run on five hits.
|Winning pitcher: Ray Brown (1-0)|
|Losing pitcher: Earl Bumpus (0-1)|
In Birmingham on Thursday, Brown shut out the Barons on one hit, Radcliffe single in the second). The Grays kept up their offensive fireworks with 9 runs.
|Winning pitcher: John Huber (1-0)|
|Losing pitcher: Spoon Carter(0-1)|
Action moved to the Grays' home terriory Saturday, and Birmingham finally won a game in Pittsburgh. John Huber, a former Gray, shut them out with a 3-hitter, winning 6-0.
|Winning pitcher: Roy Welmaker (2-0)|
|Losing pitcher: Al Saylor (0-2)|
The Series ended on Sunday in Washington, DC, as the Grays win at home, scoring 3 off of Saylor in the first en route to a 4-2 victory for Welmaker.
Homestead scored 27 runs in 5 games as Gibson (8 for 16), Bankhead (.388) and Leonard (.388) continued their excellent hitting from the regular season. Welmaker (2-0, 2.50 RA) and Brown (1-0, 0.00) did good jobs on the hill.
Birmingham scored just 12 runs in 5 games, half of those coming in game four, as their injury-depleted offense was weak. Only Steele (.369) topped .275 and Leroy Morney went 1 for 19. Huber (1-0, 0.00) was their only good pitcher as Markham (0-1, 8.00 RA) and Saylor (0-2, 6.00 RA) were knocked around easily and Earl Bumpus (0-1, 9.00 RA) was worse.