To receive your 50% off please use code dc50 in the coupon code section of checkout for discount package.
Doby reports, Washington fans wait
Fans in the majors finally get the chance to watch Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Larry Doby perform in the major leagues. Washington fans could only sit and wonder. A year prior, 26 July 1947, Washington fans got to see Larry Doby play for the first time in Washington. The last time fans had seen an African American play in a major league game in Washington was on 7 June 1884 when Fleetwood Walker played behind the bat.
Assessment of the 1948 Club by Harris
“For one thing, I believe we have the making of a big league shortstop in Carl Ibanez recently obtained from Tampico in the Mexican League. Aside from that, I believe we have a couple of heavy hitters in Luis Marquez, who led the NNL in batting, and Ramon Sosa, formerly of the Marianno team in Cuba, and now playing without team.”
Vic also stated that he has better infield and outfield material than he had last year, and with “Grade A” pitching the Grays might be a championship team. “We have also been fortified behind the bat with Sosa to help Eudie Napier, who is one of those durable gents who can catch 100 games, but there are times when even he gets tired and requires rest,” Harris declared.
A youngster who will be given plenty of consideration at spring training is Jose Cabrera, last year’s leading pitcher in the Puerto Rica Winter League, who, after a top season in Puerto Rica, will be tossing them across the plate for the Grays.
Summing up the prospects, the Homestead Grays shape up as a greatly improved team and a strong contender for the NNL championships. Harris is in Puerto Rica this month as manager of one of the local clubs.
1948 would be the final years for the storied franchise. The team under the leadership of Vic Harris and the on-field leadership of Buck Lenard would win the Negro League Championship. On 4 September the team held a day for Buck. The attendance was a disappointment only 6,000 fans showing up.
There were several players not mentioned by Harris. Harris was just covering the new arrivals. The others were quite well known.
The pitching staff;
Thirty-five year old veteran Ted Alexander. Alexander had been pitching since 1940. The previous year he played with the Kansas City Monarchs. He was considered just an average pitcher.
Wilmer “Red” Fields. Fields, long time Gray was the ace of the staff. He was also a very good hitter.
John Wright was the second Negro League player signed by Branch Rickey, an indication of his great talent. But Wright could not deal with the great stress placed upon him and returned to the Grays.
Frank “Groundhog” Thompson was just 5-02 but don’t let his lack of height fool you. He was tough and belligerent. Wright and Thompson both jumped during the season and headed south to Mexico.
Tom Parker had been acquired after the Grays traded outfielder Jerry Benjamin. Parker was a veteran pitcher, having pitched since 1929. He was nicknamed, “The Big Train.”
Buck Leonard, the power hitting first sacker was back and at the age of 40 could still hit. He was the link to the team’s past and commanded is own share of the gate.
The power hitting Luke Easter would go on to make his make in the majors.
Negro League legend Sam Bankhead, at 37 years old, he would be too old to make the transition to the majors. Bankhead first played for the 1931 Birmingham Black Barons. A great all round player
Bob Thurman pitched but was primarily a position player because of his bat. He too would make the transition to the majors.
If you desire to learn more about the Grays suggest you read the book by Brad Snyder, “Beyond the Shadow of the Senators.”