Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Athletics and the Lone Stars

This is the first mention of two colored base ball clubs in Knoxville.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - July 16, 1879

Also from the same page of the newspaper, this ad from Ramage & Co.

The next day's edition gave us the results.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - July 17, 1879

images from The Library of Congress's site: Chronicling America

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Alf Rossi - Pitcher and Veteran

Alfred M. Rossi. Pitcher for Chattanooga, Charlotte, Knoxville, and Richmond over six seasons, finishing with a 73-62 record and a 3.85 ERA.

More important than his baseball journey was his service to his country.  He served in World War II with the U.S. Coast Guard.  Thank you, Mr. Rossi, and all those that are veterans, past and present.

Trenton Evening News - March 11, 1947

image from

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pat McGlothin

Ezra "Pat" McGlothin, passed away in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday, October 24, 2104. 

He pitched in relief eight times for the Brooklyn Dodgers, seven of them in 1949, and the final time the following season.  Previously he played for Elizabethon, Mobile, St. Paul, Montreal.  He also played for Ft. Worth, Knoxville, and Birmingham, along with some time playing ball in Cuba.
The Sporting News - May 12, 1948

He was a local man, attending and playing for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for a few season.  In 1954 he was a player-manager for the Smokies, pitching in 11 games, ending up with a 2-1 record that season.

The Stars and Stripes - January 28, 1954

Pat's obituary can be found here.

I was fortunate to interview Pat in 2012 and had the opportunity to spend some time with him on other occasions.  He was a good man and will be missed by family, friends, and fans.

My thanks to fellow researcher Bryan Steverson for pointing me to The Sporting News article.

image of The Sporting News article from
image of The Stars and Stripes article from

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tommie Griffin, 1911 Mobile Dixie Star

Through the wonders of facebook I've been following Negro League author Phil S. Dixon's 90 city tour as he's been talking about the history of the Kansas City Monarchs around the country.

It made me wonder if the Monarchs had ever visited Knoxville.  Nothing turned up but I did find a bit of a connection.  In 1911 the Kansas City Royal Giants did play the Mobile Dixie Stars.

From this article in the Indianapolis based Freeman, it would appear that more than one player on the Dixie Stars team was from Knoxville.

The Freeman - March 25, 1911
On the same page of that paper another article lists the players.  Tommie Griffins, of Knoxville, Tenn., is listed as the shortstop.

The Freeman - March 25, 1911

Who was this Tommie Griffins?  The 1910 US Census shows a Thomas Griffin living in Knoxville.  His occupation is Ball player for a Professional Team.

Source Citation:
Year: 1910; Census Place: Knoxville Ward 7, Knox, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1507;
Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1375520.
Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.
The relevant part:

He was born in South Carolina (as were his parents), in about 1885.  I did not find him in earlier or later census records.

But I did find a Thomas Griffin in the City Directories of Knoxville. 

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1909
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1910
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1911
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

So, who is this Tommie Griffin?  Where did he come from and where did he go?  Apparently he was a good enough ball player to catch the attention of William Benbow, leader of the Mobile Dixie Stars.  Could Griffin have been a member of the Coca Cola Stars?

newspaper articles from
census and city directory images from

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dixie Colored Loop

Wyoming State Tribune - April 1, 1920

This article pairs up nicely with the April 7, 1920 article from the New Orleans States.

image from

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Bushel of Errors Made

Knoxville Daily Journal - September 8, 1889

The final score was 9-10 and not an earned run in the game?  Oof.

I also found the last paragraph interesting enough to do a bit more research. I'll have a bit more on the games of 1889 and 1890 between the Reds and the Shamrocks in the coming posts.
images from

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First two games of the 1920 World Series

Here are the box scores for the first two games of the 1920 Negro World Series between Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants and the Knoxville Giants.

The Birmingham Reporter - September 25, 1920

This answers some questions, but raises others.  I guess if "Steel Arm" Dickey was to end his 25 game winning streak, it might as well be to Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants.

Who was C. Williams, pitcher for Chicago in the second game?  Did Chicago need to bring in some ringers like Knoxville did?

A big thank you to Larry Lester, Dick Clark, and Wayne Stivers who provided this image.

Note:  I modified the article by splicing portions of it together (it was spread over two images) and digitally removing many of the microfilm scratches and streaks.