Dave Hoskins

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David Will Hoskins

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Biographical Information[edit]

Dave Hoskins was originally an outfielder with the Cincinnati Clowns and Homestead Grays in the Negro Leagues. Hoskins was recommended to the Cleveland Indians by none other than the great Satchel Paige, who told general manager Hank Greenberg: "You better sign this fella. He can hit. I know because I could never get him out." So the Indians signed Dave in 1950 and he changed his mind about playing the outfield and became a pitcher. Hoskins is quoted about his switch to the mound after being hospitalized by a beanball: "I was tired of pitchers throwing at me and made up my mind to throw at other guys." Dave warmed up in the Eastern League with the Wilkes-Barre Indians in 1951 where he went 5-1 with a 3.60 ERA and also hit for a .286 average. Having already been the first African-American in the Central League in 1948 [1], he also integrated the Texas League in 1952 and drew big crowds when he was on the mound. His 22 victories led the league, plus he hit .328 for the pennant-winning Dallas Eagles. His listed year of birth at the time was 1925, but it is likely that he was three years older.

He joined the Cleveland Indians in 1953 and in an early-season game came on in relief for Bob Feller with the Indians trailing 3-0. He hurled shutout ball the rest of the way while hitting a home run and a double and driving in four runs in his first big league victory. Hoskins finished the year with a 9-3 record with a 3.99 ERA but he was used sparingly for the 1954 pennant winners, losing his only decision in 14 games. It was easy to see why Dave's time on the mound diminished when you look at the staff the Indians fielded that year. Three of the members of the Indians' rotation finished in the top five in the league in ERA - Mike Garcia and Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. Along with yet another Hall of Famer, Bob Feller, which didn't leave much room for Hoskins. The Indians were overwhelmed by the New York Giants 4-0 in the 1954 World Series and Dave did not play. This was Hoskins' last appearance in a big league uniform and he signed off his two-year stay with a 9-4 record and a 3.81 ERA.

Dave spent the next six seasons in the minors (1955-1960). He was with Indianapolis Indians in 1955, the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League in 1956 and the Louisville Colonels in 1957, where he had below average years. However, in 1958, the right-hander went back to his favorite ball club in Dallas where he had done so well before and lit up the league with a 17-8 record and a 3.18 ERA and pitched a whopping 246 innings. This was to be his last hurrah as his next two seasons didn't go to well and he wound up his eleven-year minor league career in 1960 with a lifetime 78-69 record and a 3.83 ERA.

After baseball Dave was employed with General Motors in Flint, MI, where he died of a heart attack on April 2, 1970. During his playing career, his date of birth was listed as August 3, 1925, but he had generously shaved a number of years off his true age: research conducted in the 2020s confirmed that he was in fact born in 1917, making him a full eight years older than originally thought. His true middle name was also uncovered at that time; he had previously given "Taylor" as his middle name when it was in fact "Will", which was also his father's name.

Notable Achievements[edit]


Baseball Players of the 1950s

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Dave Hoskins Name and Birth Corrected", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, September-October 2021, p. 1.

Related Sites[edit]