Dick ‘Cannonball’ Redding was a Black League Superstar


On December 5, the Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era Committee (pre-1950) and the Golden Days Era Committee (1950-1969) will meet to vote on 10-player ballots, the results being announced live on the MLB network that evening at 6 a.m. h ET. We’re here to provide an introduction to the 20 players who are worth considering. Click here to see other posts.

Name: Dick “Cannonball” Redding

Black Leagues (1923-27): 9-21, 4.43 ERA, 247 2/3 IP, 107 K, 66 BB

Other black baseball leagues: 92-49, 2.60 ERA, 1229 1/3 IP, 763 K, 364 BB

ORGANIC : Ignore the numbers, because the numbers don’t match what Dick “Cannonball” Redding meant for the sport. They are also only a fraction of his career and fail to capture every appearance, every Storm game, and every dominant performance that has brought him fame and acclaim from fans and opponents. Quite simply: Cannonball Redding is even more of a tale, a legend based on newspaper articles and the people who played against him.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 15, 1890, Redding quickly showed off the flamboyant radiator that earned him his nickname while playing with semi-pro Atlanta Deppins. He then made his professional debut in 1911 and started briefly with the Philadelphia Giants before joining the New York Lincoln Giants later that year. It was in 1912 that his legend really began. Newspapers claim he went 43-12 with Seven no hitters this season, as Redding has dominated in nearly every appearance as the Lincoln Giants have stormed across the country. He even struck out 25 batters – facing just 27 – in a win that season. Her fastball was an untouchable blur and hitters could just pass their sticks in front of her.

“Dick Redding was like Walter Johnson. Just speed. That’s why they called him Cannonball,” his teammate Frank Forbes said in 1914. “He just blew that ball out for you. I saw Redding knock a bat out of a man’s hand.”

He won the World Series with the Lincoln Giants in 1914, leading the team to victory with three championship wins. He’s pitched for a handful of teams – all of the biggest in the sport – and has spent his winters dominating in Cuba. He later became a player-manager, who signed Buck Leonard on a hunch. He made his last appearance out of the bullpen in 1936 when his fastball was just a memory of what it once was, but people were still delighted to see him on the mound.

And that, more than anything on the official record, is the story of Redding’s incredible career. He has appeared in an exhibition event with Ty Cobb before – with Cobb withdrawn when Redding entered the match. In the end, it was Redding who stole the show by striking out 11 of 12 batters. The Norwich, Connecticut, Bulletin wrote that Redding, “received a huge standing ovation from the crowd to whom he turned out to be much more attractive than the top earning Cobb.”

Redding took out Ruth at bat Three times on only nine locations in another exhibition – proving that if he had been allowed to pitch at the Major League level, he would have succeeded. He beat the Boston Braves and New York Giants and edged Carl Mays in a 15-innings game, winning a 2-1 victory.

And it all still relied on the strength of Redding’s heating, a pitch that was so fast he apparently didn’t need any other offerings until years later, when he finally added a “no d devastating ‘hesitation’.

REMARKABLE STATISTICS: 30. That’s the number of hits Redding would have thrown. that most likely does not include this one that Negro Leagues researcher Gary Ashwill discovered as the first known non-cutter to the Black Leagues in 1912. On that day, Redding beat José Méndez, who Ashwill called “at that time, the most accomplished and famous pitcher outside the major leagues.”

BEYOND THE NUMBERS: The Redding Hall of Fame case exists entirely beyond the realm of recorded numbers. He was kicked out of Major League Baseball and therefore was forced to spend his career barnstorming, playing games beyond the box’s detailed scores and scrutinized stats. But Redding was impressed with every chance he had against big-league talent and his contemporaries all beamed their support for him.

Cumberland “Cum” Posey, longtime owner of the Homestead Grays, ranked Smokey Joe Williams and Redding first and second on his All-Black team of all time, with Satchel Paige in third. Receiver Yank Deas, a Redding teammate with the Bacharach Giants, said Ruth once told Redding, “if he was a white man how far he would go in baseball.” Legendary manager Casey Stengel told Redding that if he were on a Majors squad, “You wouldn’t lose a game.”

He was included in the Pittsburgh Courier’s second best Black League team in history in 1952. In 1971, the New York Daily News identified him as one of the 12 Black League players most likely to win. ‘be inducted into the Hall by this year’s committee. responsible for honoring the players of the Negro League. Since then, the 11 others – Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Ray Dandridge, Martín Dihigo, Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin, Judy Johnson, Buck Leonard, Pop Lloyd, Paige and Williams – have all made their Hall of Fame debuts. . Redding is the only one still looking on the outside.

Hall of Famer Ben Taylor, a friend and opponent of Redding, said: “His name should go down in history as one of the greatest pitchers of all time.”

It has been over a century since Redding was born and 85 years after taking the Mound for the last time in his career. And yet, Redding’s legendary fastball still lives on.


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