Tag Archives: New York Black Yankees

The Negro League Baseball History Fact For Today: George “Big Daddy” Crowe

Born March 22, 1921 in Whiteland, Indiana, George Daniel Crowe always declared basketball as his favorite sport.  Named Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball” his senior year in high school (1939), Crowe went on to play basketball and baseball at Indiana Central College.  After serving in the military, Crowe first played semi-professional basketball (Harlem Rens) in 1946.  However; seeing the money potential for him in professional baseball, he also signed with the New York Black Yankees in 1947 and began his short Negro League baseball career.  In 1949, he went uptown to play with the New York Cubans.

When the Negro National League (NNL) disbanded after the 1949 season, Newark Eagle co-owner Effa Manley recommended Crowe to the Boston Braves who signed him as a first baseman.  He made his Major League debut on April 16, 1952; hitting .258 in 73 games with four home runs his rookie season.

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Crowe played for nine years (1952 – 1961) in the Major Leagues on three different teams:  Boston/Milwaukee Braves (1952 – 1955), Cincinnati Reds (1956 – 1958), and St. Louis Cardinals (1959 – 1961).  The former Negro League ballplayer became a premier pinch hitter once holding the Major League record for career pinch hit home runs (14).  Crowe hit 31 home runs for the Reds in 1957 and was a National League All Star in 1958.

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Known as “Big Daddy” (6’2”, 210 lbs.), Crowe also became a mentor for young African-American Major League ball players in the 1950s (Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Henry Aaron, etc.).  He helped them navigate through the racial prejudice and discrimination that existed in Major League baseball during that period.

To read more about the Negro League baseball era Last Train To Cooperstown

The Negro League Baseball History Fact For Today – Walter “Rev” Cannady

Walter “Rev” Cannady’s twenty-four years (1921 – 1945) Negro League baseball journey encompassed nine cities and included him playing for fourteen teams.  Born on March 6, 1904 in Lake City, Florida (or Norfolk, Virginia); his baseball experiences in that long career include being traded three times and playing with a Negro League Baseball World Series Championship team.

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With a reputation of being a good defensive second baseman, Cannady had the versatility to play any infield position solidly.  On a few teams; he also played in the outfield, put on the catcher’s gear, and even pitched.

Everyone in the Negro Leagues also knew “Rev” Cannady could hit a baseball.  At 6’0” and 180 lbs., he had a batting average of over .300 with home run power several times; consistently hitting in the middle of his team’s batting order.

Although his career began in 1921 with the Cleveland Buckeyes, he spent most of his career with teams in New York.  His longest stint with the New York Black Yankees (1933 – 1939).  In 1938, Negro League baseball fans elected “Rev” to play in the East-West All Star Game.   After playing for the Homestead Grays in 1923 – 1924, 1929, and 1932; he returned to the team in 1944.  Playing third base, Cannady helped the Grays win the 1944 Negro League World Series Championship.

In 2005, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame commissioned a special committee of Negro League baseball historians to make recommendations of individuals from Negro League baseball for Hall of Fame induction in 2006.   After an extensive research of the Negro League baseball era, the committee developed a group of 97 in which they would vote on to make up the final list that would be recommended.  They included Walter “Rev” Cannady in that group.  He did not garish enough votes from committee members to be one of the seventeen recommended for Hall of Fame induction.  However, to be included by the committee in the group of 97 indicates at the very least Walter “Rev” Cannady’s legacy as a good Negro League ballplayer.

To read more about the Negro League baseball era Last Train To Cooperstown

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