John Henry Russell

From BR Bullpen

John Henry Russell

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 148 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

A fair hitter and good baserunner, John Henry Russell was a Negro League infielder known primarily for his superb defense, combining a good arm, excellent double-play pivot ability and great range. John Henry began his career at age 25 with the 1923 Memphis Red Sox, hitting .333/.382/.449 to lead the team while being the starting second baseman; he drove in a club-high 11 in their 19 games and hit in the heart of the order.

In 1924, Pistol Johnny batted .290 for Memphis (at SS) and he followed with a .300 mark (mostly playing third). Russell joined the St. Louis Stars in 1926 and was third in the Negro National League with 15 steals; he hit .313 as the second baseman on a double play combination featuring Hall-of-Famers Willie Wells and Mule Suttles at the other positions. In '27, Russell hit .282 and tied for fourth in the NNL with 10 homers. Johnny slipped to .253 in 1928 and an identical mark in '29. In 1930, the 32-year-old veteran second baseman chipped in a .309 average for a champion St. Louis club.

Russell moved to the Indianapolis ABCs (.218) and Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1931. In '32, Russell hit .243 for the Crawfords, but he was just 3 for 19 against a MLB exhibition team featuring Roy Parmelee, Larry French, Bill Swift and Fred Frankhouse and only hit .172 with the Detroit Wolves. Russell moved back to short in 1933, returning to Pittsburgh, and batted .257 at age 35. He was second to Newt Allen in voting for the 1933 East-West Game but got the start for the West in that first All-Star outing, batting 8th and going 0 for 2 with an RBI, a sacrifice bunt and a squeeze bunt. He wrapped up his career in 1934 with the Cleveland Red Sox.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NNL All-Star (1933)


Related Sites[edit]