Tag Archives: Memphis Red Sox

“Robert was Down in the Mouth Over his Punk Pitching”

3 Jun

Robert Poindexter threw a 7-inning no-hitter for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1928; less than a year later his career was over after he shot a teammate.

Poindexter joined the Memphis Red Sox in 1929 and was on the mound in relief for the club on May 30. The St. Louis Stars pounded Poindexter and the Red Sox 14-3—Poindexter allowed ten runs and gave up home runs to Mule Suttles and Willie Wells .

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said, “A flock of errors and poor hitting,” contributed to the Memphis defeat.

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The Box Score

The Red Sox retired to the Grand Central Hotel on Jefferson Avenue.

The St. Louis Star said at 1 A.M., Poindexter was sitting in his room “pondering over his poor showing.” The paper suggested that some members of the Red Sox had suggested that the pitcher “laid down of the job,” during the game.

“Unaware of the mood of his teammate, J.C. McHaskell, hard-hitting first baseman, sought to console Poindexter, remarking:

‘”Today’s ladies’ day big boy, and you’ll go better with all the girl’s there.”’

Poindexter was said to have replied:

“’Get away from me—I’m mad enough to shoot.’”

He then drew a revolver and shot his teammate in the left foot:

“McHaskell hobbled downstairs, summoned a taxicab and went to City Hospital No. 2 for treatment. Policemen arrested Poindexter at the hotel.”

The Post-Dispatch interviewed McHaskell:

“’Robert was down in the mouth over his punk pitching and I tried to kinda sympathize with him,’ McHaskell explained at City Hospital No. 2. ‘I told him today was ladies’ day…Somehow he took offense at that. He thought I was razzing him, so he pulled out his pistol.’”

The Times said Poindexter’s teammates “told the police ‘they’d like mighty well,’’’ for him to be bonded out in time to pitch that day.

The United Press (UP) reported however, that it was discovered that Poindexter was wanted in Atlanta for “a little matter of a violated parole,” and would not be returning to the Red Sox. The Chicago Defender said Red Sox players claimed Poindexter had previously served time in Washington D.C. for a murder, but provided no additional details.

Red Sox Manager Harry Kenyon, who pitched that day in place of his incarcerated starter—and was trounced 19 to 6–told The UP:

“It sure is a tough break. McHaskell was good. And Poindexter was about the best pitcher we had. But I never did like his temperament.”

Poindexter’s professional career was over—although it is unclear whether he was ever sent to Atlanta or if he ever faced charges—he was killed just over a year later in Washington D.C. His age at death was estimated at 31, and his occupation was listed as “Ballplayer.”

McHaskell was back in the lineup within a month, but his professional career was over after the 1929 season.

A Thousand Words–Satchel Paige, Chicago White Sox

6 Feb

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What if?  Satchel Paige in a White Sox uniform.  From 1938-1947 the Sox never finished better than 3rd, add Satchel Paige to those teams, which already had some good pitching including Ted Lyons, Eddie LopatThornton Lee, Monty Stratton and Orval Grove, and Sox fans might have had something to cheer about.  But of course, by the time Paige had a chance to play in the Major Leagues he was at least 42-years-old.  Paige would have helped at the box office as well.  For example, on July 18, 1942 the Sox drew slightly better than 24,000 for a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers, across town at Wrigley Field a nearly identical amount came out to watch Paige pitch the first five innings for the Memphis Red Sox against the New York Cuban Stars.

Instead, all White Sox fans have is this rare photo taken in 1965 when Paige appeared with the Indianapolis Clowns at Comiskey Park (Chicago Cubs outfielder George Altman is the catcher in the picture).

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in 1935, Gene Coughlin, a sports writer for The Los Angeles Evening Post-Record wrote a column that went largely ignored, calling on organized baseball to break the color barrier which “not only makes (baseball) look ridiculous but is at the same time passing up increased business.”  Coughlin predicted that if a Pacific Coast League team were to sign Paige, it “would be good for an extra 10.000 in attendance every time he goes to the mound.  And he became good despite the inane prejudice that drives the colored baseball player to the sandlots and keeps him there.”

Coughlin’s column concluded:

“When you come right down to it, that baseball doesn’t give a darn whether it is pitched or caught by a white hand or a black one.  It is a symbol of game, a sport, and not a symbol of class distinction or color.”

Twelve years later organized baseball finally agreed.