The 1924 Negro League World Series

Mendez Jose Mendez          santopLouis Santop

If the Kansas City Royals defeat the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series which begins this week, it will be the city’s ninth professional baseball World Series championship since 1900. The Royals won their first in 1985.  The Kansas City Blues, a minor league franchise that was in the city from 1888 – 1954 won three Double-A and two Triple-A Junior World Series championships.

The Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most well-known Negro League baseball franchises, must also be included in the World Series championship baseball history of the city. The Monarchs won the Negro League World Series in 1924 and 1942.

Due to racial discrimination that kept them out of Major League baseball for nearly the first half of the Twentieth Century, African Americans formed their own professional baseball leagues. The Negro National League (NNL) was formed in 1920, followed by the Eastern Colored League (ECL) in 1923. The first Negro League World Series was held in 1924 between the Kansas City Monarchs (NNL) and the Hilldale Club of Darby, Pennsylvania (ECL). It was a best five out of nine Series and it featured five players now with plaques in the National Baseball Hall of Fame: Jose Mendez and Wilber “Bullet” Rogan for the Monarchs; Judy Johnson, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop for Hilldale.

In Game 7 with the Series tied three games apiece, Hilldale had a 3 -2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. The following excerpt from my book, Last Train to Cooperstown, tells what then happened:

The Monarchs rallied to have the bases loaded, but with two outs. Hilldale was one out from going ahead in the Series four games to threeThe Monarchs batter, Frank Duncan, hit a foul fly ball behind home plate within the reach of Santop. All the normally sure handed backstop had to do was catch it and Hilldale would win.  He dropped the ball!  Given another swing, Duncan hit a ground ball that got through third baseman Biz Mackey driving in two runs to give Kansas City a 4 – 3 victory”.

Although Hilldale rebounded to win Game Eight, the Monarchs got a stellar pitching performance in Game Nine from their aging manager Jose Mendez to win 2 – 0.  They were the first Negro League World Series Champions.  Hilldale revenged their lost the next year defeating Kansas City in the 1925 Series five games to one.

To learn more about the Negro League baseball careers of Jose Mendez, Louis Santop, and Biz Mackey; read Last Train to Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”.   For more information, go to www.klmitchell.com  or http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown.

 

 

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