James Hardin LaMarque
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 173 lb.
- Debut 1942
- Final Game 1948
- Born July 29, 1921 in Potosi, MO USA
- Died January 15, 2000 in Kansas City, MO USA
LaMarque was discovered by Dizzy Dismukes and broke in with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1941 but saw little usage in his first two seasons. He broke his arm in the off-season between 1942 and 1943, causing him to miss most of '43 as well. In 1944, Jim went 2-3 for Kansas City. Lefty made it big in 1945 by going 8-2 with a 2.00 RA. He led the Negro American League in RA, .17 over Willie Jefferson, and ranked 5th in wins behind Gentry Jessup, Willie Jefferson, George Jefferson and Chet Brewer.
The Missouri native was 6-3 in 1946. In the 1946 Colored World Series, he was 1-0 with a 7.00 ERA, beating the Newark Eagles in a game three slugfest and getting an early hook his next time out. He was also 3 for 6 at the plate in the Series. Kansas City lost the Series to Newark. He pitched for the Satchel Paige All-Stars against the Bob Feller All-Stars. On October 8, he relieved Paige with a 6-1 deficit in the 4th and did much better than his fellow Monarch star, tossing no-hit ball until the 9th but he gave up a run then and took the decision in a 7-6 loss to Bob Lemon. The Feller All-Stars batters that fall were Stan Musial, Mickey Vernon, Ken Keltner, Jeff Heath, Phil Rizzuto, Johnny Berardino, Sam Chapman, Jim Hegan, Charlie Keller and Frankie Hayes. LaMarque showed that at least for one day he could not only do much better than Paige, but shut down a team that could easily have won a MLB pennant.
In the winter of 1946-1947, the 25-year-old went 7-6 for Habana. LaMarque was 12-2 for Kansas City in 1947, tying Brewer for the NAL lead in wins. His 99 strikeouts were second to Dan Bankhead. In 1947-1948, he was 11-7 with a 3.93 ERA for Habana to help them take the Cuban Winter League title. He was the #3 starter after Alex Patterson and Rufus Lewis. He was one win behind co-leaders Patterson and Connie Marrero.
Lefty was 15-5 in 1948, leading the NAL in wins and ERA (1.96, .22 ahead of Jimmy Newberry). He pitched in both East-West Games of '48. In game one, he was the middle of three West pitchers in a combined 3-0 shutout win. He did their "worst job", giving up two of the three East hits, a Buck Leonard double and Minnie Minoso single. He struck out one, walked none and was 0 for 1 at the plate. He relieved Bill Powell in the 4th and was replaced by Gentry Jessup in the 7th. In game two, Jim pitched the 7th and 8th innings of a 6-1 loss, giving up two unearned runs, three hits and two walks in two innings. He relieved Roberto Vargas in that contest. That winter, he pitched in the Puerto Rican League.
The veteran hurler relieved Willie Hutchinson in the 1949 East-West Game and tossed a scoreless 9th for the West, giving up one hit in a 4-0 loss. He jumped to the Mexican League in 1950 and went 19-6 with a 4.17 ERA for the Mexico City Red Devils. He led the circuit in victories. LaMarque also pitched for the 1950 Fort Wayne Capeharts, helping them to the National Baseball Congress World Series title (another pitcher was fellow Negro Leaguer and future big leaguer Pat Scantlebury). The team toured Japan after winning the NBC.
LaMarque ended his pro career with the Monarchs in 1951. He would remain active with the Capeharts through 1958, helping them to another National Baseball Congress World Series title in 1956.
- NAL All-Star (1948)
- 2-time NAL Wins Leader (1947 & 1948)
- NAL Games Pitched Leader (1948)
- NAL Saves Leader (1946)
- 3-time NAL Innings Pitched Leader (1946-1948)
- 2-time NAL Strikeouts Leader (1947 & 1948)
- 3-time NAL Complete Games Leader (1946-1948)
- NAL Shutouts Leader (1948)
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History by Jorge Figueredo
- Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros