Roy Welmaker

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Roy Horace Welmaker
(Snook, Lefty)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Roy Welmaker pitched in the Negro Leagues, Puerto Rican League, Mexican League, Venezuelan League and minor leagues.

Welmaker played football and baseball at Clark College while playing for the minor Atlanta Black Crackers and Macon Black Peaches. His time with those two clubs spanned 1930-1935. The Homestead Grays came to Atlanta to train in the off-season and discovered Roy, signing him to a deal.

Welmaker was 1-3 in 1936 but improved to 7-0 in 1937. He tied for 5th in the Negro National League in wins and led in RA (1.67, .52 ahead of Sad Sam Thompson). In one game that year, he relieved in the 15th and promptly picked off two batters. He got the winning hit in the bottom of the inning and picked up the victory without throwing a pitch.

Roy fell to 0-2 in 1938. He was 4-1 for the Philadelphia Stars in 1939 and 3-2 in 1940. In between, he was 8-2 for Ponce of the Puerto Rican League.

After starting 1940 with Philadelphia, Welmaker followed the stream of Negro Leaguers pursuing more money in Mexico. He was 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA for the 1940 Torreon Cotton Dealers. He fell to 11-16, 5.27 in 1941 but hit .292. He struck out 131, second in the league, two behind Pullman Porter, but also walked 111, also second, five behind Porter. He worked 225 1/3 innings that year.

Welmaker lost game one of the 1942 Negro World Series for Homestead, getting lit up for eight runs after battling Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Monarchs scorelessly for the first four innings. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He returned to Homestead in August of 1944 and went 4-0, then won games one and five (the finale) of the 1944 Negro World Series to give his club the title.

In 1945, Lefty had a big year in his last season in the Negro Leagues, going 10-2 with a 2.85 RA. He also hit .321. He paced the Negro National League in wins and was third in RA behind Bill Ricks and Pullman Porter. He made his lone East-West Game appearance. In the 1945 East-West Game, he tossed two hitless, scoreless innings for the East (walking one), their top pitcher in a 9-6 loss to the West. In the 1945 Negro World Series, he reversed his 1944 fate, going 0-2 with a 4.23 RA. He tossed shutout ball for six innings to duel Willie Jefferson of the Cleveland Buckeyes evenly before allowing runs in the 7th and 8th to lose. Two games later, he dropped a 4-0 decision to Willie's brother, George Jefferson.

Welmaker moved to the new Venezuelan League in 1946, where he would play for Equipo Vargas and Maracaibo. On January 20, 1946, he lost a 3-2, 17-inning duel with Alex Carrasquel. He would go 12-8 with a league-leading 2.80 ERA in Venezuela in 1946-1947.

In 1949, after not pitching in the USA for four years, the 35-year-old hurler walked on to the Cleveland Indians training camp and proceeded to allow one hit in four innings. That impressed manager Lou Boudreau, who signed the veteran to a deal. He would not make it to the majors but would do very well in the high minors.

Welmaker had a 22-12, 2.49 season for the 1949 Wilkes-Barre Indians. He was third in the Eastern League in ERA behind Whitey Ford and Sid Schacht and was second to Orie Arntzen in wins.

In 1950, Roy moved up to AAA with the San Diego Padres, posting a 16-10, 4.27 season. He split '51 between San Diego (1-1, 4.67, 18 BB in 27 IP) and the Hollywood Stars (2-3, 4.80). He played for two teams in 1952 as well with Hollywood (0-2, 10 R in 12 IP) and the Portland Beavers (4-6, 3.03).

Welmaker concluded his career in 1953 with Portland (1-2, 4.66) and Hollywood (3-0, 2.73).

Overall, Roy had gone 49-36 with a 3.55 ERA in the high minors, 20-24 with a 4.75 ERA in Mexico and 29-10 in the Negro Leagues.

Welmaker ran a service station in Los Angeles, CA after he finished in baseball.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NNL All-Star (1945)
  • NNL ERA Leader (1937)
  • NNL Wins Leader (1945)
  • 2-time NNL Winning Percentage Leader (1937 & 1944)
  • NNL Innings Pitched Leader (1945)
  • NNL Complete Games Leader (1945)
  • NNL Shutouts Leader (1937)
  • Won one Negro World Series with the Homestead Grays in 1944


Related Sites[edit]