Born on September 16, 1896 in Hillsboro, Texas; Crush Christopher Columbus Holloway did not hit a baseball with the type of power in his Negro League career that fit his name. Holloway’s father legally named him “Crush” after attending a county fair and seeing two old train locomotives crash together head-on that September 16 day his son was born. Crush Holloway was not a home run power slugger; Crush did not “crush” the ball. However, the name was appropriate for his style of running bases.
He was known for his speed; not his power. An aggressive base stealer and an excellent bunter who consistently batted .300 during his career, Holloway caused havoc to opposing infielders and catchers as a lead-off batter. He ran the bases with reckless abandon, sliding hard with his file sharpened spikes aimed at infielders. If a catcher was blocking home plate, “Crush” would not hesitate running him over to score a run. In the book, “Voice from the Great Baseball Leagues” by John Holway, Holloway said, “My hero was Ty Cobb. That’s why I ran the bases like I did”.
The right handed hitting outfielder, 5’11’ and 180 pounds, started his Negro League career playing with the Indianapolis ABCs in 1921. His ABC teammates included Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, and Ben Taylor. Beginning in 1924, he spent the remainder of his nineteen year career (1921-1939) with eastern teams including eight seasons with the Baltimore Black Sox where his teammates included Hall of Famers Pete Hill and Jud Wilson.
Read about Crush Holloway’s teammates Ben Taylor, Biz Mackey, Ben Taylor, Pete Hill, and Jud Wilson in my book “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.
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?