Baltimore Black Sox

From BR Bullpen


The first Negro League team from Baltimore, MD, the Baltimore Black Sox were founded in 1916 but did not become competitive with top black teams until 1920, when they were still just 3-8. By 1922 they were 7-5 and had future Hall-of-Famer Jud Wilson at first base. The Black Sox were charter members of the Eastern Colored League in 1923 but were only 19-30 that first year, finishing last. Wilson hit .369, second in the league. They improved to second place (51-39) in '24 under manager Pete Hill. John Beckwith won the batting title (.382) while playing short and Wilson (.381) was runner-up. Bob McClure was 15-4 on the hill. They lost two exhibition games to the Philadelphia A's, neither by more than two runs.

Baltimore remained second in 1925 though their record improved to 61-29. Both Wilson and Beckwith hit over .400 for Hill's team, while McClure went 17-7 and Heavy Johnson hit .352. Wilson led the ECL in average while Beckwith led in homers. The bottom fell out in 1926 when the club slipped to 23-36 under new manager Ben Taylor. Taylor hit .181 while manning first, with Wilson (.351) moving to third. Johnson hit .364, but Beckwith was gone.

In 1927 Baltimore returned to their familiar second place (36-30) as Wilson again was second in average (.416) and McClure (11-5, 2.47) led the ECL in RA. '28 saw the Black Sox finish 20-22, with Wilson hitting .423.

The ECL disbanded in 1928 and Baltimore joined the new American Negro League the next year, where they won the title with a 53-29 record. Dick Lundy now managed the team and played short, hitting .336. Wilson had another .400 season, Rap Dixon swatted .432 and Oliver Marcelle held down third base. Laymon Yokely (19-11) was the ace hurler for the titlists.

Baltimore returned to being a leagueless team in 1930 and featured an infield of Mule Suttles (.389) at first, Frank Warfield (.177) at second, Lundy (.344) at short and Wilson (.415) at third, while Dixon hit .375 as an outfielder. Satchel Paige went 3-1 for the club. In '31 Paige, Wilson, Suttles and Dixon were gone but Beckwith returned and hit .350 at third.

In 1932 the Black Sox joined the East-West League and finished third with a 41-41 record. Lundy remained the manager and became the top performer with the other stars gone. In 1933 Baltimore got a new owner, Joe Cambria, and went just 13-18 in the new Negro National League. The team was suffering financially and folded. They returned late in 1934 and went just 2-10 before folding once more.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bernard McKenna: The Baltimore Black Sox: A Negro Leagues History, 1913–1936, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2020. ISBN 978-1-4766-7771-2

Related Sites[edit]