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George Leo Jefferson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
- Debut 1944
- Final Game 1948
- Born August 8, 1922 in Boley, OK USA
- Died September 21, 1985 in Erie, PA USA
Pitcher George Jefferson was 19 years younger than brother Willie Jefferson but would become a teammate of Willie's for a few years. Known for his fastball and good pick-off move and also employing a curveball, drop ball and change-up, George first was noticed pitching in the Denver Post Tournament. At the age of 14, he was with the Oklahoma City Black Indians, then in 1939 joined the Stillwater Tigers. After high school, he joined the prime time in 1942 with the Jacksonville Red Caps - his brother, on the other hand, had not made the Negro Leagues until age 32. George was 21-11 with Jacksonville but did not face other top black teams during his time with the club.
In 1944 Jefferson joined his brother's team, the Cleveland Buckeyes, and became an instant star. He went 9-6 with a 1.99 ERA, leading the Negro American League in ERA. The next season Cleveland won the title behind the Jefferson brothers and Gene Bremmer. George was 10-3 with a 2.67 RA; he was third in the NAL in wins and fifth in ERA and played second fiddle to his brother, who had one of his greatest seasons. Additionally he hit .349 as a backup OF-1B. Surprisingly, neither Jefferson appeared in the East-West Game either year. In the World Series of that year, George shut out the Homestead Grays with a 3-hitter; Homestead included Hall-of-Fame hitters Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and Jud Wilson.
In a tour of Venezuela that winter, Jefferson got into fight with a promoter over money and began to choke him before others intervened. It fit Jefferson's nasty reputation - he was rumored to have killed a man in his youth.
Like his elder brother, George declined after 1945 and never again was a prominent player. He spent the 1946-1950 seasons with the Buckeyes, including their year in Louisville, KY in 1949. He also supposedly spent time with Olean and Youngstown in the minors but Pat Doyle's database includes no record of this.
After retiring from baseball, he worked for a paper company.
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley