Before Roy Campanella joined the Brooklyn Dodgers organization, he played in the Negro Leagues in some shape or form, from 1937 to 1945. He mainly played with the Baltimore Elite Giants, but did play for a short period of time with the Philadelphia Stars in 1944. Campanella was discovered by the Elite Giants at the age of 15, while playing for a semi-pro team called the Bacharach Giants and was quickly snatched up to play. He decided to drop out of high school on his 16th birthday to become a full-time professional baseball player and 10 years later, at the age of 26, Campanella made his major league debut with the Dodgers.
In addition to the Negro Leagues, Campy also played in the Mexican Leagues from 1942-1943 with Monterrey Industriales. The above photo captures the future Hall of Famer during his time with the Baltimore Elite Giants.
This video features my friend and former teammate, Brian Girgus and baseball legend, Bill “The Spaceman” Lee. Brian left the Bay Area (and our team) a number of years ago to pursue cutting hair and now operates out of Los Angeles, at The New California Barbershop. He’s done well for himself and when an email came through my inbox with this video, I knew I had to share it here on 90 Feet of Perfection.
Brian is a lot like me, due to the fact that he has a love for baseball and music and this is reflected in some of the guests he’s had. With that said, this video is easily the best, in my opinion, as it features the Spaceman getting a haircut on the beach and talking life and baseball, as he does so well. I highly suggest watching this and if you find yourself in Los Angeles and need a haircut, cruise on by The New California Barbershop!
On March 25, 1952. the New York Yankees played an exhibition game against the San Francisco Seals and this amazing moment was caught on film. This is one of those special photos that I look at it and say “WOW.” There’s not a lot of things cooler to me than a 20-year-old Mickey Mantle playing in Seals Stadium.
In the Golden Age of Baseball, I know that Spring Training wasn’t as organized like it is now and teams often did their own thing, or were in and out traditional pre-season locations. Still, this photo caught me off guard and I’d love to find out more about the Yankees playing exhibition games out West during this era. (Image Source: Getty Images)
When I think of Yogi Berra, I obvioulsy think of him playing catcher, or maybe even playing outfield, with Bill Mazeroski‘s World Series home run soaring over his head. So when I found this image of Yogi at third base, I found it quite interesting.
I’m not entirely sure when this photo was taken, but I’m leaning towards September 26, 1954, which was the last game of the season and took place at Yankee Stadium against the A’s. With that said, I’m pretty much basing this solely on THIS article. The title of the game summary is “Last game of the 1954 season, Yankees vs. A’s. Casey Stengel “experiments.” Plays Mickey Mantle at Third Base, Yogi Berra at Shortstop, Moose Skowron at Second” With a title like that, you know it’s worth the read.
The Yankees finished the 1954 season 8 games out of first place, so that could explain the sparse September crowd. It’s totally possible that Yogi played third more than once during his career, but based on this photo, it just makes a lot of sense. A cool sidenote to this game is that it ended up being the last game in which the Philadelphia A’s existed, as Connie Mack sold the team after the season and they moved to Kansas City. (Image Source: HuffSports)
The one and only Satchel Paige poses for a photo during a 1933 barnstorming tour game in the California Winter League. The game, which took place in Los Angeles, placed Satchel’s Royal Giants, a team made up Negro League players, against the Joe Pirrone’s All-Stars, a team made up of both major and minor league players. I wish there were more photos from these California Winter League games, as I’m curious if everyone wore Pittsburgh Crawford uniforms, or if only Paige wore one, since that was his team at the time? Satch bounced around teams so often, that I guess it’s entirely possible that he just wore that just because it was the only uniform he had access to at that time.
Los Angeles times writer, Bob Ray wrote this summary of the game in the November 12, 1933 issue of the Los Angeles Times:
The occasion is a double-header between the Royal Giants, Satchel’s team, and Joe Pirrone’s All Stars, an aggregation composed of major and minor league players. Paige hooks up with Larry French, Pittsburgh Pirate southpaw, in the opening of the twin bill and a rare hurling duel is expected. In the second game, “The Great” Newsom, ace of the 1933 (Los Angeles) Angels, goes to the mound for the All-Stars against “Cannonball” Willis.
However, this yarn is about Paige, the lanky fire-gallery, whose spectacular pitching has made him the toast of Central Avenue.
To begin with, Satchel admits that he’s 26 years of age, and can’t deny that he’s six feet, three and one-half inches tall, weighs 181 and built on the same general lines of a telephone pole without the crossbars on top….
“Maybe Lefty Grove has a faster ball than Satchel,” said one of the boys who’d just fanned for the fourth time, “but I’ll never believe it.”
I love any story related to Satchel Paige and I’ll forever be frustrated that I wasn’t born in a decade where I could have witnessed Paige take the mound in his prime. (Image Source: Los Angeles Times)