A very warm welcoming … and a pop quiz

sabr

I’m cooking up another something about Ed Stone that I’ll try very hard to post on Monday. My article for Delaware Today magazine is do a week later, so I better get moving on this stuff anyway.

But tonight I want to report on the incredible meeting today of the Pelican-Schott chapter of SABR on National SABR Day. This was my second chapter since joining SABR, and it couldn’t have gone better. I and my Negro Leagues rabble-rousing have been roundly met with open arms, intrigued visages and lively discussions. I even gave a Negro Leagues quiz, which I’ll attach to the end of this post for anyone interested in trying their luck. Today most of the other chapter members, well, bombed the quiz, but then again, I bombed Brother Neal’s quiz as well.

I also told the group about the efforts to put a marker on Wesley Barrow’s grave, and everyone was thrilled and impressed that that was happening. After the meeting, one member offered additional financial help, and chapter President Derby Gisclair — who, despite being a Yankees fan, was sporting a Cubbies hat in honor of Ernie — said to keep chapter members updated so the group can take part in the dedication ceremony.

I was also playfully yet forcefully challenged to put my money where my mouth is and bring in concrete stats for Negro Leaguers so they can be compared to those of MLB players. I then, in a group email, later admitted that stats, as Austin Powers might say, aren’t my bag, baby. I’m more fascinated by the social conditions that have always swirled around and influenced Negro Leagues history greatly. My focus on this, I think, is well represented by this recent post I did about the county in Mississippi that was home to recently deceased Negro Leaguer Henry Presswood and how it had a well known reputation for lynchings, so much so that it was dubbed “Bloody Kemper.”

I should quickly note that the chapter members who, as one later perfectly termed in an email, “threw down the gauntlet” and challenged me about stats were the same ones who also went out of their way to thank me for my refreshing contributions to a group that they admitted had previously been painfully devoid of any talk about the Negro Leagues.

That’s probably what I liked the most about today’s meeting — it was both welcoming and challenging. I’m also unbelievably amazed by how much these guys know the game of baseball. It blows me away and impresses me incredibly. At times during the meeting today it was hard for me not to feel a little intimated by their knowledge and understanding of the sport. In short, and to use francais, these guys know their s***, and it’s already challenged me to up my game and bring it like they do every meeting. And I love it, because being around them will, quite simply, make me a better historian and journalist, and for that, I am already deeply grateful and indebted to them. Thanks, my new friends. 🙂

Finally, after the meeting Derby and I discussed how the Zephyrs definitely want to make a concerted effort to get more Negro League figures in the Zephyrs-sponsored New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, and they want to work with me closely on coming up with a list of first-year Negro Leaguers nominees. My initial thoughts … Allen Page, Oliver Marcell, Johnny Wright, Dave Malarcher, J.B. Spencer, Winfield Welch and, of course, Wesley Barrow. We’ll see what happens in the near future.

OK, enough self-indulgent rambling — here’s that quiz I gave the group this morning. The first six questions are ones about the nationwide Negro Leagues scene, and the second half-dozen are about NOLA and Louisiana Negro Leaguers. So … how well will you do? Answers next week …

1. What team won 10 Negro National League titles between 1937 and 1948?
a. Pittsburgh Crawfords
b. Birmingham Black Barons
c. Homestead Grays
d. Chicago American Giants

2. What notorious racketeer and numbers runner built the Pittsburgh Crawfords into a pennant-winner?
a. Gus Greenlee
b. Rube Foster
c. Ed Bolden
d. Cum Posey

3. What late Negro Leagues great was the very first “beneficiary” of the now nationally known Negro League Baseball Grave Marker Project?
a. Jimmie Crutchfield
b. Sol White
c. Mule Suttles
d. Spottswood Poles

4. What was Hall of Famer Willie Wells’ best-known nickname?
a. Ese Hombre
b. Cool Papa
c. The Black Ty Cobb
d. El Diablo

5. What Hall of Fame great did Buck O’Neil name as the greatest player he ever saw, regardless of color, league or time period?
a. Josh Gibson
b. Dick Redding
c. Pete Hill
d. Oscar Charleston

6. In which city was the first Negro National League launched in 1920?
a. Chicago
b. Kansas City
c. Philadelphia
d. Pittsburgh

1. What NOLA-based team claimed the “national colored championship” in 1888?
a. Pinchbacks
b. Dumonts
c. Cohens
d. Crescents

2. Who was the hotel owner who became NOLA’s greatest 20th century African-American baseball promoter, team owner and executive?
a. Wesley Barrow
b. Allen Page
c. Fred Norris
d. Walter Cohen

3. What Napoleonville, La., native managed the Birmingham Black Barons to two Negro American League pennants in the 1940s?
a. Winfield Welch
b. Wesley Barrow
c. Pete Robertson
d. Willard Brown

4. Which New Orleans University alum succeeded the great Rube Foster as manager of the Chicago American Giants?
a. Oliver Marcell
b. Allen Page
c. Winfield Welch
d. Dave Malarcher

5. Which team won the 1933 Negro Southern League title?
a. New Orleans Creoles
b. New Orleans Black Pelicans
c. New Orleans Crescent Stars
d. Algiers Giants

IN MEMORIAM
With what team did Algiers native Herb Simpson integrate the Single-A Western International League in 1952?
a. Spokane Indians
b. Seattle Rainiers
c. Portland Rosebuds
d. Victoria Athletics

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