Sol White

From BR Bullpen

Sol White nypl.jpg

King Solomon White

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2006

Biographical Information[edit]

Sol White was a Negro League infielder, manager, and executive. His 1907 book, Sol White's History of Colored Baseball was the first history of black baseball.

White began his career in 1887 with the Pittsburgh Keystones of the National Colored League. After the National Colored League folded, White moved to Wheeling in the Tri-State League, where he hit .381 and played with teammate Jake Stenzel. He later played for the New York Big Gorhams (1891), the Cuban Giants (1892-1894), the Page Fence Giants (1895), the Cuban X-Giants (1896-1900, 1901), the Chicago Columbia Giants (1901).

In 1902, White and white sportswriter H. Walter Schlichter founded the Philadelphia Giants. For the next eight years White co-owned, managed and played for his team, one of the era's best. After leaving the Giants, White managed the Brooklyn Royal Giants (1910) and the New York Lincoln Giants (1911-1912), before a long period of semi-retirement, punctuated by stints with the Columbus Buckeyes (1920), the Cleveland Browns (1924), and the Newark Stars (1926).

In 1905, at age 36, Sol White, the illustrious Ohioan, was entering his fourth season as captain of the Philadelphia Giants and his eighteenth as a professional ball player. White piloted the 1905 Philadelphia Giants to an unprecedented record of 134 wins. Along the way, his Giants could boast of victories over teams managed by Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, James O’Rourke and Billy Hamilton.

White relied on his gentlemen quality to such an extent that he was never thrown out of a ballgame. Having graduated from Ohio’s well-known Wilberforce College only reinforced his pursuit of excellence. Under his astute guidance, the 1905 Philadelphia Giants defeated nine minor league opponents from five different leagues. Against rival African-American teams White’s Philadelphia Giants went undefeated. In the eight state region surrounding Philadelphia, his team won well over 100 games against the most influential semi-professional teams in the east.

White knew full well of how to utilize his players and rarely was he out managed. Acknowledging and utilizing his men to their full potential resulted in many Philadelphia Giants’ victories during his first five years as manager.

The Philadelphia Giants were victorious 229 times in two years (1904-1905), and won 318 games over three years (1903-1905). The 108 games won by the Philadelphia Giants in 1906 gave them a grand total of 426 games won over a four-year span (1903-1906), which is equivalent to the major league record set by the Chicago Cubs (1906-1909). What makes the Philadelphia Giants’ record of total victories all the more interesting is that they were the first to achieve this feat. Add in the additional 81 games won by the Philadelphia Giants in 1902 and White’s teams easily exceeded the 500 plateau in games won during his first five seasons as manager of the Philadelphia Giants.

White's individual performance in 1905 was not among his best. Over-consumed with the intricate details of managing his championship team, he was often missing from the line-up. In one extended period he missed twenty consecutive days of play. On another, when he was hit in the head with a pitched ball, White’s injury resulted in several more missed games. In spite of these prolonged absences, White surpassed his Philadelphia Giants teammates in putouts, total chances and fielding percentage.

Sources: Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles, Great Teams, The 1905 Philadelphia Giants, Volume Three." By Phil S. Dixon

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sol White: Sol White’s Official Base Ball Guide, Summer Game Books, South Orange, NJ, 2014. (originally published in 1906) ISBN 978-1-938545-21-4

Related Sites[edit]