Chicago Leads the Way

Willie Foster, 1927

When the Negro National League was formed in 1920, the Chicago American Giants were the top of the league. They remained there a few years before being bested by J.L. Wilkinson’s Kansas City Monarchs. It took a while for the American Giants to return to the top of the league. By that time a new league, the Eastern Colored League had formed and the two leagues were involved in the first version of the Negro World Series (there was a new version beginning in the 1940s). In 1926 and 1927 the American Giants squared off against the ECL winner, the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants for the Negro League championship.

With Dave Malarcher, third baseman, as manager, the American Giants fielded a team dominated by pitching. Hall of Famer Willie Foster, Rube Foster’s brother, as the primary lefty and Willie Powell, Rube Currie, George Harney, and Webster McDonald from the right side, the staff was deeper than most Negro League teams. The infield had Charlie Williams at second, Malarcher at third, and Pythias Russ at short. The big guns in the outfield were Steel Arm (Walter) Davis and George Sweatt.

The Dick Lundy managed Bacharachs had Oliver Marcell at third and Lundy at short, with Chancy White and Ambrose Reid in the outfield. Luther Farrell and Hubert Lockhart were the two main pitchers. Both were lefties.

There’s not a lot of play-by-play available, but it was a streaky series. The American Giants won the best of nine 5 games to 3 with games being played in both Atlantic City, and Chicago. I mention that because frequently the Negro World Series did a barnstorming tour playing games in several cities. The series produced a tie. Chicago won the first four games, all in Chicago With scores of 6-2, 11-1, 7-0, and 9-1 none of the games were close. Then the Bacharachs won game five 3-2. The tie was game six. Games seven and eight saw Atlantic City tighten the series with 8-1 and 6-5 victories. In game nine, Chicago won 11-4 to finish out the series and claim their second straight championship.

It was the end of the road for the first version of the Negro World Series. The ECL folded in 1928 and the NNL followed in 1930. I’ve been looking for the winners and losers shares for the series and couldn’t find them. If you do, let me know.


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2 Responses to “Chicago Leads the Way”

  1. glenrussellslater Says:

    V, you got me curious there when you mentioned about the winners and losers shares. I subscribe to the website newspapers dot com, and I actually did some research on the 1927 NNL vs. ECL world series after I read your article, in search of any information about that particular aspect, and came up with a lot of information about the games themselves in various newspapers, including box scores and what not, but couldn’t find anything on the winners and losers shares. I’ll keep up the research, though.

    But it did bring up a question I’d like to ask you. Where do these players shares come from, anyway, in series, in the Negro Leagues and in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues. It comes from a joint thing between the two leagues that are playing? And who decides on things such as how much the shares will be? Sorry if these sound like dumb questions.


    • verdun2 Says:

      Back in the period we’re dealing with (1920s) the teams pooled the gate for the first four (five if a nine game series) and then divided it (60%-40% I think) to the players. There were half shares and quarter shares and things like that, but it was left to the teams to determine who got what share.
      I’m not certain how it works today. For what it’s worth, I was able to find the shares in 1924 (Monarchs vs. Daisies). The winners got $302.96 and the losers had $190.32. In contrast, the Senators got $5959.69 for winning the 1924 World Series while the Giants got $3820.29.

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