PAOLA — Phil S. Dixon, co-founder of the Negro League Baseball Museum, was in Miami County to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Kansas City Monarchs.
Kansas City was a charter member of the Negro National League, formed in 1920. The Monarchs were the first professional baseball team to use outdoor lighting. Kansas City sent more players to the Major Leagues than any other Negro League franchise.
Dixon was the guest of the Paola United Methodist Men on March 12 for a presentation on “The Kansas City Monarchs in Your Hometown.”
Dixon has been a lifelong baseball fan.
He started collecting cards, buying packs of Beatles cards. This eventually got him into collecting baseball cards, where his passion lies today.
History of baseball, especially Negro Leagues, has been a labor of love for Dixon.
Dixon has written nine books about the Negro Leagues, including biographies of John “Buck” O’Neil and Wilbur “Bullet” Rogan.
The Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., showcases greats like Jackie Robinson, James “Cool Papa” Bell, Josh “The Black Babe Ruth” Gibson, Oscar Charleston and O’Neil in its Field of Legends.
O’Neil, who played and managed the Kansas City Monarchs, was the first African American coach in Major League Baseball with the Chicago Cubs. He was also a scout for the Cubs and later worked as a scout for the Kansas City Royals.
O’Neil won the Negro League’s National League batting title in 1946 with a .353 average. He was named to three all-star teams and made two appearances in the Negro League World Series. O’Neil was a well-traveled ambassador for the Negro Leagues, making regular appearances at the museum and leading the Kansas City Royals’ annual salute to the Negro Leagues.
Dixon started his visit to Paola by telling the audience about a Miami County man who played Major League Baseball.
Charles Roy “Curly” Brown was born in Spring Hill on Dec. 9, 1888. Brown made his debut with the St. Louis Browns in 1911 and pitched for the club through 1913. He played one more season, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds in 1915.
Brown, a left-handed pitcher, was 3-8 with a 4.20 earned run average. He passed away June 10, 1968, in Spring Hill.
The Kansas City Monarchs started barnstorming in the 1920s, playing town teams.
The Monarchs played against the Osawatomie town team on Aug. 11, 1921, posting a 6-0 shutout victory. The Osawatomie team played the Monarchs in a May 2 game in 1922, falling by a final score of 5-0.
Following the 1934 World Series, Jerome Hannah “Dizzy” Dean and his brother Paul “Daffy” Dean of the St. Louis Cardinals toured the country playing four African American baseball teams.
Dizzy and Daffy were famous for their roles in leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title. The club got the nickname the “Gashouse Gang.” Dizzy won 30 games that season. Daffy won 19.
The Dizzy and Daffy Dean barnstorming tour with the Negro Leagues would draw more than 125,000 fans. It was a staggering number, considering the gate was about half of what the St. Louis Cardinals drew to Sportsmans Park for the entire 1934 season.
The tour is arguably the greatest barnstorming tour of all time, Dixon said.
“The Dean brothers used their popularity from winning the 1934 World Series to go on the barnstorming tour,” Dixon said. “The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Tour of 1934 was, and probably still is, the greatest barnstorming tour of all time.”
Dixon talked about the Kansas City Monarchs barnstorming days, saying the club would not have survived without its following across the state of Kansas.
He also talked about the 14-day, 11-state trip Dizzy and Daffy Dean made playing baseball against some of greatest Negro League players of all time with games against the Kansas City Monarchs, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the Philadelphia Stars and the New York Black Yankees.
Dixon details the exploits of those games in his book “The Dizzy and Daffy Dean Barnstorming Tour,” which can be found on Amazon.com and in book stores.
The barnstorming tour opened in Oklahoma City on Oct. 10, 1934, with stops in Wichita, Kansas City, Mo., Des Monies, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Patterson, N.J., Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh. The 14-day tour made stops in 11 states with 13 games in 13 cities.
Dizzy Dean had just pitched a six-hit 11-0 shutout against the Detroit Tigers in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series. The very next day he arrived in Oklahoma City to start the barnstorming tour.
The Dean brothers and their all-stars started the tour against the Kansas City Monarchs at Oklahoma City’s Texas League Park. As many as 15,000 people attended the game, double the seating capacity of Texas League Park.
Left-hander Andy Cooper started for the Kansas City Monarchs with T.J. Young behind the plate. Newton Allen, Eddie Dwight, George Giles, Frank Duncan, Carroll Ray Mothell, Newt Joseph and Charles Wilber “Bullet” Rogan were also in the starting lineup.
Rogan had played with the Kansas City Monarchs since 1920 and had more than 400 home runs with nearly as many wins.
Daffy Dean started the game for the all-stars and left with a 3-0 lead after three innings of work. Hall singled into the crowd, driving home all three of the runs for the all-stars.
Dizzy Dean took over on the mound and the all-stars pushed another run across to make it 4-0. Blanton pitched scoreless relief and the game was called in the middle of the sixth inning as the promoters ran out of baseballs. When the final two dozen balls disappeared into the stands, the lights were dimmed, ending the contest.
Kansas City did not win the game, but demonstrated great talent on the diamond with eight hits off Daffy Dean and one hit against Dizzy.
The Dean brothers and the all-stars traveled to Lawrence Stadium in Wichita with a seating capacity of 8,500 and an additional 4,000 standing room only passes sold for a game on Oct. 11.
The Kansas City Monarchs had registered some impressive exhibition victories in Wichita, including wins against Grover Cleveland Alexander and the House of David, the Paul Warner all-stars and a host of other all-star teams.
Alexander, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to its first World Series title in 1926, was the last pitcher to win 30 games three years in a row.
Theodore “Big Florida” Trent played for the Kansas City Monarchs team in the game at Lawrence Stadium in Wichita. He was a college star at Bethune-Cookman and played professionally with the St. Louis Stars in 1927.
The Dean brothers pitched five innings. When they were not on the mound, many times they would play in the outfield during the exhibitions.
“Big Florida” pitched seven innings and had full control of his curveball, fanning six in the contest.
The Dean all-stars rallied and won the game, collecting 11 hits. Kansas City played well and collected eight base hits.
Dizzy and Daffy Dean stepped onto Muehlebach Field at 24th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., for a game against the Monarchs on Oct. 12.
The field, home for the Kansas City Blues and the Monarchs, would later be the first home of the Kansas City Royals.
Glenn Wright, a local star, played infield for the Dean all-stars. He was with the Kansas City Blues and had played in the Major Leagues with the Pirates, facing Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees in the World Series. The 18,000-seat capacity Muehlebach was sold out for the big game.
The Kansas City Monarchs delivered the Dean all-stars their first loss of the tour in a 7-0 shutout. T.J. Young tripled and scored the first run of the game. George Giles hit a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning.
Daffy fell while shagging balls in the outfield prior to the game at Western League Park in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 13, injuring his shoulder.
The Kansas City Monarchs evened the series with the Dean all-stars, taking the fourth game in a 9-0 shutout with 12 base hits.
Edward Dwight, T.J. Young, Wilber “Bullet” Rogan and Frank Duncan each collected multiple hits in the game. Dwight and Young doubled twice.
The Dean all-stars faced the Kansas City Monarchs at Mills Stadium in Chicago on Oct. 14. Tickets went on sale Oct. 11 the 15,000-seat venue was sold out by Oct. 13. The Dean all-stars out-hit the Monarchs 12-8 and won the game 11-3.
The Dean all-stars traveled to Milwaukee for the fifth game of the barnstorming tour on Oct. 15 at Borchert Field. For the first time in the series, the game was played in the afternoon.
The Kansas City Monarchs trailed 5-4 in the ninth inning but rallied with four runs for an 8-5 victory. Giles walked in the ninth. Strong Arm Davis singled to right. Rogan walked, loading the bases. Frank Duncan tripled to clear the bases. It was the final game of the tour for the Monarchs, who were 3-2 against the Dean all-stars.
The barnstorming tour offered a doubleheader as the Dean all-stars played the Philadelphia Stars Negro League team in Pennsylvania on Oct. 16.
John Craig, an African American, was one of three umpires to work both games.
Webster McDonald pitched the Philadelphia Stars to an 8-0 victory in the opener. They completed the sweep with a 4-3 victory in the nightcap with Stuart “Country” Jones on the mound.
McDonald was a submarine pitcher who was tough on the Dean all-stars. McDonald also helped himself on the mound with three hits in the opener. Bizz Mackey also had three hits with a pair of doubles.
Dizzy Dean dueled Country Jones in the second game. Ernest Jud Wilson was the star of the game with his offensive production. Wilson had 240 hits for the Homestead Grays in 131 games in 1931.
Joe “Ducky” Medwick joined the Dean brothers at Dexter Park in Brooklyn on Oct. 17 to face the New York Black Yankees. Medwick, a hall of famer, was a teammate of Dizzy and Daffy Dean.
The Black Yankees were dominant in the day, winning 22 consecutive games over one stretch in the summer of 1934.
Clint Thomas went 2-for-4 for the Black Yankees in a 6-0 shutout. He stole three bases and scored two runs.
The Dean all-stars could not arrange a Negro League team to play on their stop in Baltimore, Babe Ruth’s hometown, and set up a game against area stars at Bugle Field on Oct. 18.
The following day, Oct. 19, the Dean all-stars had a rematch against the New York Black Yankees at Hinchliffe Stadium in Patterson, N.J.
Connie Rector pitched for the Black Yankees. Rector, 42 at the time, had pitched with the Arkadelphia Cuban Giants.
Walter “Rev” Cannady went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. “Show Boat” Thomas hit three singles in four trips to the plate.
The Pittsburgh Crawfords played the Dean all-stars at League Park in Cleveland on Oct. 21.
Leroy “Satchel” Paige faced Dizzy Dean in a much anticipated meeting. Paige was the first hitter to face Dizzy when he took over, already behind the Pittsburgh Crawfords 3-0. Paige doubled to center. Oscar Charleston hit a two-out single to left, scoring Paige.
Paige worked six no-hit innings, striking out 13 of the 18 batters he faced.
Paige would also pitch the next two days as the Dean all-stars played the Pittsburgh Crawfords in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 22 and in Pittsburgh to close out the tour on Oct. 23.
Daffy Dean dueled Paige in Columbus. Paige struck out 17 batters in a no-hitter against the Homestead Grays in 1934 and pitched a no-hitter against the New York Black Yankees in 1932.
Harry Beale, the traveling secretary for the Pittsburgh Crawfords, put together a 1934 African American “Dream Team” to face the Dean brothers and their all-stars.
The “Dream Team” featured Homestead Grays catcher Josh Gibson, Vic Harris in left, Paige on the mound, Jud Wilson and Country Jones from the Philadelphia Stars.
Gibson was often called the “Black Babe Ruth,” hitting between 800 and 1,000 home runs.
Some who saw both Ruth and Gibson play called Ruth the “White Josh Gibson.”
Paige started the game, allowing just two hits while striking out nine in three innings. According to lore, Paige walked the bases loaded in the third inning on purpose and struck out three Dean all-stars in a row.
During his first three games of the barnstorming tour, Paige worked nine scoreless innings and struck out 22 batters.
Wesley “Big Train” Borrow came on in relief of Paige. The “Dream Team” had 11 hits and won the game 5-3.
Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean started the game of the tour in Pittsburgh, working two innings each in the contest at Forbes Field.