Here’s kind of a little follow up to my article on philly.com and my previous posts about Cyclone/Smokey Joe Williams. Bill Staples Jr., whom I quote in the Philly story, sent me an interesting article from the San Antonio Light newspaper in 1907, Williams’ first year in paid baseball when he played for the San Antonio Black Bronchos.
The article is from the Aug. 6 issue of the Light, in which the paper previews an upcoming series of games between the Bronchos and the Birmingham Giants, the “colored champions of the south.” Here’s one of the paragraphs from the story:
“The opening game will probably be pitched by Giraffe Williams, the human Gatling gun, and Black Cat and the Austin Demon will be seen in the affray. …”
Giraffe! So before being Smokey Joe, before being Cyclone Joe, the future Hall of Fame pitcher was … Giraffe? It appears so. 🙂
Another note about Williams’ time with the Black Bronchos, one that is especially pertinent to me, Mr. N’Awlins … According to the Indianapolis Freeman, which was pretty much a national African-American newspaper at the time, in June 1909, the Bronchos hosted the New Orleans Black Eagles and thumped the Big Easy visitors in two games, 5-0 and 9-1. From the Freeman’s article:
“Unable to get any kind of action against the locals, the Pelican crowd was outclassed all the way. Their pitchers were slaughtered, and they were unable to get at either Cyclone Joe or Spider Moonie in the two battles.
“Cyclone was the big breeze on the strip in the first game. he allowed one little skinny hit and fanned fourteen batters. …”
The poor Eagles never knew what hit ’em. They certainly weren’t the first aggregation to be humbled by the Cyclone, and as we well know, they weren’t the last …