A.S. Young

From BR Bullpen

(Redirected from Doc Young)

Andrew Spurgeon Nash Young

Biographical Information[edit]

A.S. Young was one of the most prominent black sportswriters of his generation and covered the integration of Major League Baseball.

He grew up in Bowling Green, VA, where his father was a high school teacher and pastor. His mother was also a high school teacher, and his sister earned a graduate degree in music from Columbia University. Doc, as he was nicknamed from a very early age, learned to play the piano, clarinet and saxophone. He was also a lifelong fan of baseball but a serious football injury sustained in high school ended any hopes of a sporting career for him. He attended the Hampton Institute to study business, but became involved with the school newspaper, leading to a lifelong career in sportswriting after he graduated in 1941. His byline was always A.S. "Doc" Young.

He moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1943 and began writing for the Los Angeles Sentinel, while supporting himself by managing a grocery store. In 1946, Young found a full-time job with the Cleveland Call and Post and started a column called "Sportivanting". In it, he defended his core belief that sports helped advance the civil rights of blacks, as prominent black athletes exerted more influence on the image of blacks among the population than prominent writers and thinkers such as W.E.B. Du Bois or others. It was an important time to write about black sports, as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier at the beginning of the 1947 season, and the Cleveland Indians became the first American League team to feature a black player in Larry Doby. In his writings, Young profiled these black baseball players for a wider audience, leading to a book published in 1953 entitled Great Negro Baseball Stars.

Young also followed the Negro Leagues. He covered the Cleveland Buckeyes when they won the Negro American League pennant in 1947. It was from a position of insider knowledge that he ghost wrote Jackie Robinson's controversial article "What's Wrong with Negro Baseball" which appeared in Ebony Magazine in June 1948. In this article, Robinson denounced some of the business practices of the Negro Leagues, including the lack of written contracts, the poor level of umpiring and the bad accommodations that players had to put up with.

He returned to Los Angeles in 1949 and found another position with the Sentinel, then became associate editor of Ebony in 1951. He continued to write about baseball, including features of prominent black players in national publications, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Sepia and The Sporting News. He authored a second book in 1963, Negro Firsts in Sports, which profiled more black baseball players of the day and extended to other sports. In another influential article, "Is Baseball Ready for a Black Manager?", which appeared in Sepia in 1971, he not only argued in favor of black managers, but correctly identified Frank Robinson and Maury Wills as two contemporary players who had all it took to become managers.

Young was known for his incredible ability to type up to 125 words a minute using only two fingers, a skill that always impressed his colleagues in the press box. He received numerous awards towards the end of his career and died of pneumonia in 1996.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Marsh: "A.S. Young: Writing 'Wise Words' about 'Gripping and Moving Effects'", in Brad Sullivan, ed.: Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve, SABR, Cleveland, OH, 2008, pp. 81-83.

Related Sites[edit]