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 PaperOfRecord.com
image of The Stars and Stripes article from Ancestry.com

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:

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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:
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

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

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1911
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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 GenealogyBank.com
census and city directory images from Ancestry.com

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 GenealogyBank.com

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 GenealogyBank.com

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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

7,133 Greet New Smokies

The Sporting News - June 27, 1956
The Smokies return to Knoxville after a season and a half.  Here's a simple chronology of the team in the 1950s.

  • In 1952 they were a member of the Tri-State League and played at Smithson Stadium. 
  • In 1953 they were a member of the Mountain States League and played at Chapman Highway Park. 
  • In 1954 they were a member of the Tri-State League and played at Bill Meyer Stadium. 
  • In 1955 there was no minor league team in Knoxville. 
  • In 1956 the club moved to Knoxville from Mobile as part of the South Atlantic League and played at Bill Meyer Stadium.

Friday, July 25, 2014

American Giants Are Champions

Savannah Tribune - September 25, 1920
From this article we see the schedule of the "World Championship":
  • Tuesday, September 21 at Birmingham
  • Wednesday, September 22 at Birmingham
  • Thursday, September 23 at Birmingham
  • Friday, September 24 at Birmingham
  • Saturday, September 25 at New Orleans
  • Sunday, September 26 at New Orleans
  • Monday, September 27 at Birmingham
  • Tuesday, September 28 at Birmingham
  • Wednesday, September 29 at Birmingham
  • Thursday, September 30 at Birmingham
  • Friday, October 1 at Knoxville
  • Saturday, October 2 at Knoxville
  • Sunday, October 3 at Chattanooga
Thirteen straight days of baseball.  No off days for traveling.  Using mapquest.com I've come up with some round distances.  Birmingham to New Orleans is 350 miles.  Birmingham to Knoxville is 260 miles.  Knoxville to Chattanooga is 115 miles.

So, 13 games were scheduled in four cities, which would have entailed about 1,075 miles.

image from GenealogyBank.com