A Hornets’ nest in Montgomery

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Advertisement from the July 15, 1905, Montgomery Advertiser

In one final post (at least for now) on the short-lived 1905 Southern Colored Baseball Association, I found a some bits of interesting stuff about another one of the league’s members, the Montgomery Hornets. I didn’t uncover much, mind you, but enough to pique my interest.

The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper provided a bit of scant coverage of the Hornet’s 1905 campaign. Like many newspapers of the day, articles about sporting events, especially African-American confabs, the Advertiser didn’t include the first names of the players on the team that year, which frustratingly makes it difficult to find out much background about those players, at least not immediately.

The Hornets played several of the other members teams of the SCBA, with apparently decent results. In late June, the Stingers squared off against the Nashville Giants and came away with a “W.” According to the Advertiser:

“The Montgomery Hornets of the Colored Southern Association played again yesterday at Washington Park, defeating the Nashville Giants by a score of 7 to 4. Both teams played good ball.

“Batteries for Montgomery, Terry and Brown, for Nashville, Church and Watkins. Time of game 1:55.

“The next visiting club will be Beaumont, Texas, playing here Monday and Tuesday.”

The result of the Beaumont clash was a 9-0 thrashing of the Texans by the Hornets at Washington Park in a game that was called in the middle of the eight inning. Despite that lopsided score, the Advertiser reported, “Both teams played fast ball.” On the mound for the Hornets was a twirler named Baugh, with Brown doing the receiving.

On July 11, 1905, the Stingers clobbered the Pensacola Klondykes, 9-0, at Athletic Park, with Lamar doing the hurling for the Montgomery squad. Stated the Advertiser:

“Announcement was made yesterday that hereafter the negro league teams will play at Athletic Park when the southern league team is on the road.”

Such an arrangement was extremely commonplace through segregation-era black baseball; African-American teams often picked up the scraps left by the local white pro teams, including scheduling their contests around those of the white squads and even, at times, wearing used, hand-me-down game uniforms from the “organized baseball” club. (In this case, Montgomery’s representatives in the Southern Association were the Senators.

The last mention I could find of an actual Hornets game in 1905 was in the July 15 Advertiser, which included an ad for an upcoming game at Athletic Park against the Nashville Giants, as well as a couple paragraphs on the Hornets’ loss the night before to the said Nashville aggregation. Reported the paper:

“Again the Hornets, or the Montgomery team of the Southern Negro League were defeated yesterday by the Nashville Giants. The score was 2 to 1. Lamar, the Hornet pitcher, struck out fourteen men and walked none. Still he lost through poor support.”

So it seems like this “Lamar” was the ace of the Stingers’ staff, but I couldn’t find any information about the ‘Nets’ prowess at the plate of any references to the fielders behind the team’s hurlers.

In late July, the Hornets, like so many other teams in the Deep South, were negatively affected by New Orleans’ massive yellow fever epidemic and the resulting quarantine around the Crescent City. Noted the July 27, 1905, New Orleans Item:

“Owing to the quarantine the Hornets of Montgomery have cancelled their dates here. They are very sorry to disappoint the colored baseball fans, but are afraid they would have to remain here the same as Birmingham did and not be able to fulfill their other dates.”

So that was the unfortunately brief and rather undocumented tale of the Montgomery entry in the 1905 SCBA, and I didn’t really uncover any references to the team in any years before or after 1905.. If anyone out there has any further info on the Hornets and/or the SCBA, float it might way!


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