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Pepper Bassett

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Lloyd Bassett

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pepper Bassett was a 7-time All-Star in the Negro Leagues.

Bassett began his career in 1934 at age 15 with the minor New Orleans Crescent Stars. The team was drawing poorly, so Pepper suggested that he catch some games in a rocking chair as a way to increase fan interest. The owner agreed and the act drew lots of attention. Bassett would continue to catch in a rocking chair on occasion as a crowd-drawing stunt at points throughout his career, usually if the game had been decided already.

Bassett made it to the Homestead Grays by 1936 in a backup role. The next year, he started for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and batted .296. He led all catchers in voting for the 1937 East-West Game, with 41,463. Starting at catcher and hitting 8th for the East, he was 0 for 3 with a walk.

He was back on the bench by 1938. He was 3 for 8 with a homer in the California Winter League that off-season. He hit .246 for the Chicago American Giants in the 1939 but the crowd favorite got 502,394 votes for the East-West Games, second among all players to Ted Strong. Bassett hit 8th and caught for the West in both games that year, going 0 for 1 in the first East-West Game and 0 for 2 with an error in the second. He hit .308 in the California Winter League.

Bassett jumped to the Mexican League in 1940 as did many black players. he hit .230/~.266/.373 with 14 walks to 71 strikeouts.

Lloyd fell to .176 by 1941 after returning to Chicago. He again drew lots of votes for the East-West Game, though, 198,305 of them, second to Biz Mackey among catchers. Starting and hitting 8th for the West, he was 0 for 1.

Bassett moved to an appropriate team, the Ethiopian Clowns, in 1942. He hit .400 in limited action for the Cincinnati Clowns in 1943 and remained with the Clowns in 1944; during the year though, he moved to the Birmingham Black Barons, for whom he battedf .222. Birmingham won a spot in the 1944 Negro World Series but Bassett was injured (along with some teammates) in a car accident shortly before the Series opened.

In the 1944-1945 California Winter League, Bassett was 1 for 4 with a double and threw two shutout innings against a team billed as the Service All-Stars.

Pepper hit .235 for Birmingham in 1945. He was 10 for 61 in the 1946-1947 Cuban Winter League with 3 doubles and a RBI for Marianao and Almendares. Early in the season, Almendares had traded him to Marianao for Max Lanier, who would go 7-2 for the Almendares club to help them to a title while Bassett struggled for Marianao in a lopsided deal.

In the second East-West Game of 1947, Bassett was 1 for 2 as the starting catcher and #8 hitter for the West. Bassett hit .350 for the '48 Black Barons as a teammate of Willie Mays. In the second 1948 East-West Game, he again hit 8th for the West and was 0 for 2.

Bassett batted .298 in 1949 and .271 in 1950; while he was aging, the Negro Leagues were losing talent to Organized Baseball, allowing him to have some of his better years. He was a backup catcher in the 1950 East-West Game, doubling in his lone at-bat. In the 1953 East-West Game, the veteran went 0 for 3 as the starter at catcher and #8 hitter for the West, a familiar role.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time All-Star (1937/NNL, 1939/NAL, 1941/NAL, 1947/NAL & 1948/NAL)


Related Sites[edit]