Negro League baseball statistics are hard to verify. They were not consistently recorded by the teams. African American newspapers did not have the resources to report on every Negro League game and white newspapers blatantly ignored them. However, based on what researched has discovered at least 29 no-hitters were thrown in Negro League baseball. Most notably there were two by Satchel Paige and one each by Hilton Smith, Andy Cooper, “Smoky” Joe Williams, and Leon Day; all Hall of Fame pitchers.
According to reports from the New York Amsterdam News and the Baltimore Afro American, a no-hitter was thrown on May 15, 1927 by Layman Yokely.
A native of Winston Salem, North Carolina, Yokely had an eighteen year Negro League baseball career mostly with the Baltimore Black Sox (1926 – 1933). The 6”2’, 210 pound hurler threw with a right hand side arm, submarine pitching style. In 1929, he was a part of the pitching rotation that led the Black Sox to the American Negro League pennant. Comprised mainly of former teams from the Eastern Color (ECL) which had disbanded, the league discontinued after one year.
Like most Negro League pitchers, Yokely started games and also pitched in relief. On the day he threw his no-hitter, he had pitched briefly in relief the first game of a doubleheader against the Cuban Stars. The Black Sox won that game 8 – 6. Then in the second game he beat the Stars 8 – 0, giving them no hits.
Supposedly, Yokely pitched more no-hitters in his career. However, there is no documentation to verify any of them. He no longer was a dominant pitcher after 1930 due to chronic arm soreness.
Who were Laymon Yokely’s Baltimore Black Sox teammates that black sportswriters dubbed the “Million Dollar Infield” in 1929?