This article relies largely or entirely on a single source . (October 2015)
|J. L. Wilkinson|
Wilkinson at the Negro National League annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, January 28, 1922
|Born:May 14, 1878|
|Died: August 21, 1964 86) (aged|
Kansas City, Missouri
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Election Method||Committee on African-American Baseball|
James Leslie Wilkinson (May 14, 1878 – August 21, 1964) was an American sports executive who founded the All Nations baseball club in 1912, and the Negro league baseball team Kansas City Monarchs in 1920.
All Nations was a barnstorming professional baseball team that toured the Midwest from 1912 to 1918, and again in 1920 and 1921, and from 1923 to 1925. It derived its name from the fact that its team included players of several nationalities, including blacks and whites, Indians, Hawaiians, Japanese and Latin Americans. The team was founded by the Hopkins Brothers sporting goods stores. One day, however, the team's manager absconde with the daily gate proceeds. J. L. Wilkinson, who played for the team, replaced him as manager, later becoming owner as well. The team was based out of Kansas City and Des Moines.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team is to hit the ball into the field of play, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.
The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".
Born in Algona, Iowa, Wilkinson was a promising pitcher until he hurt his throwing wrist. He turned to team ownership and management, parlaying a promotional flair into an association with the game that lasted more than 50 years.
Algona is the county seat of Kossuth County, Iowa, United States. The population was 5,560 at the 2010 census. Ambrose A. Call State Park is located two miles southwest of the city.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
In 1909, he developed a women's baseball team—possibly with a few men in drag—to draw up to 2,000 fans to a covered grandstand moved around the Midwest by train. A team band whipped up tunes for crowds, a male catcher wrestled all comers and a brown bulldog served as the mascot. Town teams throughout Iowa and surrounding states faced Wilkinson's gimmick-laden squad.
The slang term "drag" refers to the wearing of clothing of the opposite gender (cross-dressing), and may be used as a noun as in the expression in drag, or as an adjective as in drag show.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his/her turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
In 1912, he founded the multi-racial All Nations team in Des Moines, Iowa. The team consisted of whites, blacks, Polynesians, Asians, Native Americans and – at one time – a woman. As did Wilkinson's first venture, it also had a team band and a number of other promotions, but featured a number of athletes of major league calibre, including John Donaldson and José Méndez. He moved the team to Kansas City, Missouri in 1915, and the team continued to barnstorm in the upper Midwest for a few years after the Monarchs were born, still fulfilling its original role but also serving as a farm team for the Monarchs.
Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small part of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines, which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is on and named after the Des Moines River, which likely was adapted from the early French name, Rivière des Moines, meaning "River of the Monks". The city's population was 216,853 as of the 2018 population estimate. The five-county metropolitan area is ranked 89th in terms of population in the United States with 655,409 residents according to the 2018 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, and is the largest metropolitan area fully located within the state. A portion of the larger Omaha, Nebraska metropolitan area extends into three counties of southwest Iowa.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaskan Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
John Wesley Donaldson was an American baseball pitcher in Pre-Negro league and Negro league baseball. In a career that spanned over 30 years, he played for many different Negro league and semi-professional teams, including the All Nations team and the Kansas City Monarchs. Researchers so far have discovered 667 games in which Donaldson is known to have pitched. Out of those games, Donaldson had over 400 wins and 5,081 strikeouts as a baseball pitcher. According to some sources, he was the greatest pitcher of his era.
When the Negro National League was founded in February 1920, Wilkinson built the Monarchs from the best of the All Nations team, and from the 25th Infantry Wreckers, an all-black U.S. Army team that starred Bullet Rogan, "Heavy" Johnson, Lem Hawkins, and Dobie Moore, among others. Wilkinson was the only white team owner trusted by Rube Foster when the Negro National League was founded; Wilkinson became a trusted member of Foster's inner circle. Stories were told by his players that during the Depression, Wilkinson would bunk with his coaches and players when the team was on the road and hotels were short of rooms.
Charles Wilber "Bullet" Rogan, also known as "Bullet Joe", was an American pitcher and outfielder for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro baseball leagues from 1920 to 1938. Renowned as a two-way player who could both hit and pitch successfully, one statistical compilation shows Rogan winning more games than any other pitcher in Negro leagues history and ranking fourth highest in career batting average. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.
Oscar "Heavy" Johnson (1895–1960) was a baseball player in the Negro Leagues. He played catcher and outfielder. Johnson was one of the Negro League's foremost power hitters in the 1920s, reportedly weighing 250 pounds, and known for hitting home runs. Longtime MLB umpire Jocko Conlan once said that Johnson "could hit a ball out of any park."
Lemuel Hawkins was an American first baseman in Negro league baseball. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs, Chicago Giants and Chicago American Giants from 1921 to 1928. He was 5'10" and weighed 185 pounds.
Wilkinson was the first owner in the league to secure the services of African American Umpires for the Negro National League and by 1923, at least six Umpires were non-white.During his ownership, the Monarchs won ten league titles and participated in four Negro League World Series, winning in 1924 and 1942.
The 1924 Colored World Series was a best-of-nine match-up between the Negro National League champion Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale. In a ten-game series, the Monarchs narrowly defeated Hilldale 5 games to 4, with one tie game. It was the first World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL. It was the second year of existence for the ECL, but no agreement could be reached in 1923 for a post-season series, owing primarily to unresolved disputes between the leagues. Five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame participated in the series: Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson, and Louis Santop played for Hilldale, while Bullet Rogan and José Méndez played for the Monarchs. In addition, Monarchs owner J. L. Wilkinson was also inducted into the Hall.
In 1930, Wilkinson's Monarchs became the first professional team to play night baseball, using a portable set of lights. Wilkinson also signed Jackie Robinson to his first professional contract, in 1945.
He sold the Monarchs in 1948, and died in poverty in a Kansas City nursing home. "Wilkie", as he was affectionately known to players, sportswriters and fans, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Andrew "Rube" Foster was an American baseball player, manager, and executive in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
William Hendrick Foster was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball's Negro leagues in the 1920s and 1930s, and had a career record of 143-69. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Foster was the much-younger half-brother of Rube Foster, a Negro league player, pioneer, and fellow Hall of Famer.
The Kansas City Monarchs were the longest-running franchise in the history of baseball's Negro Leagues. Operating in Kansas City, Missouri and owned by J. L. Wilkinson, they were charter members of the Negro National League from 1920 to 1930. J. L. Wilkinson was the first Caucasian owner at the time of the establishment of the team. In 1930, the Monarchs became the first professional baseball team to use a portable lighting system which was transported from game to game in trucks to play games at night, five years before any major league team did. The Monarchs won ten league championships before integration, and triumphed in the first Negro League World Series in 1924. The Monarchs had only one season in which they did not have a winning record. The team produced more major league players than any other Negro League franchise. It was disbanded in 1965.
Norman Thomas "Turkey" Stearnes was an African American outfielder in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Cristóbal Torriente was a Cuban outfielder in Negro league baseball with the Cuban Stars, All Nations, Chicago American Giants, Kansas City Monarchs and Detroit Stars. He played from 1912 to 1932. Torriente was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
José de la Caridad Méndez was a Cuban right-handed pitcher and manager in baseball's Negro Leagues. Born in Cárdenas, Matanzas, he died at age 41 in Havana. Known in Cuba as El Diamante Negro, he became a legend in his homeland. He was one of the first group of players elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was elected to the U.S. National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Andrew Lewis Cooper, nicknamed "Lefty", was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball's Negro Leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. An alumnus of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Cooper played nine seasons for the Detroit Stars and ten seasons for the Kansas City Monarchs. The Texan was 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) tall and weighed 220 pounds.
The Mineola Black Spiders, also called the Texas Black Spiders, were an independent, generally all-black baseball team. They originated in and were loosely based from Mineola, Texas.
Hurley Allen McNair was a baseball player in the Negro Leagues and the Pre-Negro Leagues.
Carroll Ray "Dink" Mothell, often known as "Dink" Mothell was a catcher and utility player who played for 15 years in the Negro leagues. Known for his versatility, Mothell played every position. It was said you could use him "most any place, any time."
Samuel "Sam" Crawford was an American pitcher and manager in baseball's Negro Leagues.
Frank "Blukoi" Blattner was an American Utility player almost exclusively working for J. L. Wilkinson teams All Nations and the Kansas City Monarchs from 1912 until 1922.
Walter Lee "Newt" Joseph was an American third baseman and manager in Negro league baseball. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Joseph played most of his career for J. L. Wilkinson and the Kansas City Monarchs franchise.
Fogel Field was a baseball stadium, located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The site was also known as Fordyce Field and Holder Field. Fogel Field was built in 1912 as a spring training site for Major League Baseball teams. The field was named for Horace Fogel, President of the Philadelphia Phillies. Fogel Field hosted the Phillies (1912) and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Kansas City Monarchs (1928), Homestead Grays (1930–1931) and Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932-1935) of Negro League Baseball also used Fogel Field as their spring training.