Hilldale Club

From BR Bullpen

The Hilldale Club, owned for most of its lifespan by Ed Bolden, was a Negro League powerhouse in the 1920s. The club won the first three pennants in the Eastern Colored League; in 1924 they lost a close match-up with the Kansas City Monarchs in the first Negro World Series. The next year, 1925, they beat the Monarchs 5 games to 1, the only ECL team to topple a Negro National League champ in the Series. Franchise players included Judy Johnson, Phil Cockrell, Biz Mackey and Louis Santop. The most prominent player to appear in a Hilldale uniform was Oscar Charleston.

The team is often called the Hilldale Daisies in various sources, but that name was never official or in widespread use at the time the team was active.

Before joining the Negro Leagues, the team existed as a powerful independent colored team. On September 14, 1918, they played a game against a team billed as the "Boston Red Sox", who had won the World Series only a few days earlier. The team included only three actual Red Sox players - Joe Bush, Amos Strunk and Wally Schang - but the balance was made up of other current or recent major leaguers, so it was still a good club. Hilldale won the game by forfeit when the Red Sox refused to play the bottom of the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead. What makes this game particularly interesting is that it is the only time that a Boston Red Sox team played a colored team in an exhibition game, something that was relatively common for other franchises.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Larry Lester: Baseball's First Colored World Series: The 1924 Meeting of the Hilldale Giants and the Kansas City Monarchs, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.
  • Neil Lanctot: Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale Club and the Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910–1932, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY, 2007 (originally published in 1994)
  • Bill Nowlin: "The One Time the 'Boston Red Sox' Played a Black Team: September 14, 1918: Hilldale Club 9, 'Boston Red Sox' 0, at Hilldale Park in Darby, Pennsylvania", in Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 50, Nr. 1 (Spring 2021), pp. 80-84.

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