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Leland Giants

From BR Bullpen

The top black baseball team in the midwest or west in the first decade of the 20th century changed its name in 1905 from the Chicago Union Giants to the Leland Giants after manager and owner Frank Leland. Bruce Petway took over catching duties in 1906 and the talent improved dramatically in 1907 as Rube Foster, Big Bill Gatewood and five other players came from east-coast teams. They improved further with the addition of Pete Hill in 1908 and went 64-21 against semipro teams that season while tying a cross-region match-up with the Philadelphia Giants at 3 games apiece. The team was managed by Foster in 1909 and was just 13-12 against other top black teams. The team faced off against the Chicago Cubs in mid-October; Johnny Evers and Frank Chance sat out. In game one the Cubs' 3-Finger Brown beat Walter Ball 4 to 1. The Leland Giants led 5-2 in the bottom of the 9th the next day as Foster faced Ed Reulbach but Rube allowed four runs in that frame, losing on a controversial steal of home while the Lelands argued with an umprire. In game 3, Brown beat Pat Dougherty 1-0. The Leland Giants had lost two one-run decisions and another fairly close game against a team that had won 104 games in the National League, showing they could compete with the top white teams in the country.

In 1910 Beauregard Moseley and Frank Leland split, and Moseley won the rights to the Leland Giants name, as well as many of its best players, including Foster as pitcher/manager; Frank Leland's new team was called the Chicago Giants. The Leland Giants went 11-0 against top black teams that year and said they went 123-6 overall. The club was the most talented to date as Home Run Johnson and Pop Lloyd joined to play the middle infield, Petway, Hill and Foster returned and Frank Wickware joined the staff. In 1911 the club was renamed the Chicago American Giants.