Cos Govern

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Cos Govern

Stanislas Kostka Govern
(S.K., Cos)

Biographical Information[edit]

Stanislas Kostka (S.K.) Govern -- also known as "Cos" or "Siki" -- was a very intriguing figure from the early days of black baseball. A labor organizer, journalist, and Shakespearean actor, Govern also managed the first professional black team, the Cuban Giants. His roots in the game lay in the U.S. rather than his birthplace, St. Croix in the Virgin Islands (which were still a Danish possession when he was born in 1854). Judging by his appearance, it is fair to guess that he was half-European.

This "smart fellow and shrewd baseball man" (as Sol White later described him) occupies a unique role in baseball history. According to author Michael Lomax, Govern was without question one of the two most successful early black baseball entrepreneurs. He not only established the business model for the Negro Leagues but also just might deserve credit as the father of Latin American winter ball.

Govern came to the U.S. at age 13. He probably became involved with baseball first in the late 1870s. The record first shows him as manager of the Washington Manhattans from 1881-84. He then helped found the Cuban Giants in August 1885, remaining there as manager through the 1889 season. He was out of baseball in 1890 but returned to manage the New York Gorhams in 1891. It appears that Cos left the game for good in 1892. James A. Riley's The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues states that Govern managed the Cuban X-Giants in 1896, which is supported by authors Lawrence Hogan and Jules Tygiel, though supporting evidence from the press in 1896 has not yet surfaced.

S.K. Govern's life was cut short at the age of 70 when he was struck by a train in Hot Springs, Virginia, on November 3, 1924.

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