Monday, February 7, 2011

Random card. Dave Hoskins. First negro in the Texas League.

"Dave was signed as an OF, but switched to pitching. Hoskins is quoted about his switch to the mound after being hospitalized by a beanball. "I was tired of pitchers throwing at me and made up my mind to throw at other guys." "

"Hoskins made an auspicious start for Cleveland in his first major league appearance in early 1953. Coming into the game early in relief of Bob Feller and trailing 3-0, Hoskins gave up no runs while crashing a double and homer for four RBI that gave him and the Indians the victory. "

Dave only pitched in parts of 2 seasons for the Indians, racking up a solid 9-4 record with an ERA+ of 99. The interesting part of this card is the cartoon.

"When Dave was with Dallas on June 9, '52, he got 2 letters threatening his life if he pitched that day". "But Dave wouldn't be frightened. He hurled the game and won! And that year chalked up 22 wins".

What's interesting is that there's hardly any mention on the internet of the Dallas incident. I did finally find this.

"I received three letters that morning, one at a time. First one said I'd be shot if I sat in the dugout. Second one said I'd be shot if I went on the field, and the third one said I'd be shot if I took the mound. I figured all three were from the same person. Probably someone just trying to scare me. I didn't tell Dutch Meyer, the manager of our club, because I was afraid he wouldn't let me start. Dutch doesn't know about it to this day. Even though I thought the person who sent the letters was only bluffing, I was a little scared when I went out to the mound. Later on, I didn't even think about it and it was just another ball game. We won it without any trouble . . . . The people treated me very nice in Dallas and everywhere else, too. Once in a while a ballplayer or a fan would holler something at me, but you've got to expect that. All in all, I had no complaints . . . .' Dave Hoskins won nine games and lost three as a spot starter and reliever for the Cleveland Indians in 1953. He played sparingly the next season and then bounced around the minors for several years, never returning to the big leagues. He died in 1970."

Credit:  Brushing Back Jim Crow:
The Integration of Minor-League Baseball in the American South

by Bruce Adelson

288 pages, 20 b&w illus, 6 x 9 • Cloth $29.95 •

ISBN 0-8139-1884-7

So, his manager didn't know about it but Topps somehow found out? Weird. And very weird I think for Topps to print a real social message as a cartoon.A good weird.

There's more on Hoskins in the following book:  

Crossing the line: Black major leaguers, 1947-1959
 By Larry Moffi, Jonathan Kronstadt

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