Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mays was 'Jackie Robinson' of Inter-State

     I learned something I never knew about Willie Mays when I found a notice about his debut in Organized Baseball in the July 5, 1950, edition of The Sporting News. I had not known that Mays was something of a “Jackie Robinson” in that he integrated a minor league.

The lead item in the “Class B Minor League Highlights” roundup column in that issue was headlined “Giants Outbid Five Clubs for Mays, Negro Prospect”.

The unbylined article, datelined Birmingham, Ala., read . . .

     With an outlay of $15,000, of which the Birmingham Black Barons will receive $9,000 and the player $6,000, the New York Giants outbid five major league clubs for the services of Willie Mays, 19-year-old Baron center fielder, He has reported to the Giants’ Trenton Inter-State farm club.
     In his first nine home games with the Black Barons, Willie was hitting .394, including six doubles, one triple and one homer in his 13 hits in 34 times at bat. He also had two assists from center field.
     Eddie Glennon, general manager of the Birmingham Southern Association club, believes Mays could be converted into a pitcher because of his powerful right arm, but Willie’s manager, Vic Harris, kept him in the outfield because he wanted to use him every day.
     Mays was the first Negro to play in the Inter-State League, making his bow in the outfield for Trenton, June 24. He went hitless the first night, but beat out a couple of infield hits the next day.

The Inter-State League in 1950 was comprised of Wilmington in Delaware, Hagerstown and Sunbury in Maryland, Trenton in New Jersey, and, in Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster and Allentown.

In 81 games with Trenton in 1950, Mays batted .353 (second in the league) with four home runs. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments, criticism, additional information, questions, etc., are welcome . . . as long as they are germane to the original topic. All comments are moderated before they are allowed to appear and spam comments are deleted before they ever appear. No "Anonymous User" comments are allowed.