1950 Negro League Baseball Season Roster
- Super Till the End: Last Strong Negro League Season Features Mays, Banks
- Two Great Pennant Races: Kansas City and Indianapolis Win Divisions
- More Stars: Jim Gilliam, Elston Howard, Satchel Paige, Leon Day, many others
Not long from now, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks would be Major League Baseball superstars. The likes of Elston Howard, Jim Gilliam, Joe Black, Bob Boyd, Sandy Amoros, Connie Johnson, Sam Hairston, Curt Roberts and Buzz Clarkson would join them in the big leagues. But first they would star in the last strong Negro League season.
So would Hall of Famers Leon Day, Buck O’Neil and Satchel Paige, plus Negro Stars set players Superman Pennington, Double Duty Radcliffe, Neil Robinson, and Bonnie Serrell.
Many players shuttled to MLB and minor-league teams, but most played amply for the 10 teams here, which are set up for a 144-game season.
The Cleveland Buckeyes, champs just three years earlier, plummeted to 34-110, conjuring bad memories of the city’s Spiders from a half-century earlier. Otherwise, the 1950 division races were hotly contested: Kansas City (100-44) and Birmingham (97-47) riveting the West, and Indianapolis (83-61) and Baltimore (82-62) back and forth in the East.
Eleven pitchers won 21 or 20 games. Three played for Birmingham: Samuel Williams (21-7), Billy Powell (21-10), and Bill Greason (20-13). Baltimore had Joe Black (21-10) and Johnnie Coleman (20-7). Memphis had Isiah Harris (21-9) and Vibert Clarke (21-17). KC had three of the top four qualifiers in win percentage: Connie Johnson (17-4), Little Walker (21-6) and Melvin Duncan (16-5). NY’s Martiniano Garay wore the ERA crown at 2.89, 10 points lower than Walker.
Indianapolis’ Sam Hairston led the hitters at .327. Twelve more batted .300 or higher. Future Dodgers teammates Sandy Amoros and Jim Gilliam tied for the lead in triples. Birmingham’s Alonso Perry, the league leader in runs scored, tied Hairston for the home run lead, and tied Amoros and Houston’s Curley Williams for the RBI title.
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