SABR

On the Buckner Brothers, Harry and William

From SABR member Brian McKenna at Glimpses Into Baseball History on October 3, 2011:

Harry: Longtime black baseball superstar

Harry did it all on the diamond. He regularly pitched and caught and played the infield and outfield as well. He was a righthanded submarine pitcher, said to be among the finest of the first two decades of the 20th century. Rob Neyer and Bill James in their Guide to Pitchers rated his fastball as among the best in all of baseball during the eras 1905-1909 and 1910-1914.

He was also a top hitter, a powerful one. Big and strong, Harry Buckner and Rube Foster were seen as the top hitting pitchers of the era. (They also rivaled each other on the mound.) For example, the heavy hitting Buckner smacked a tremendous home run off Eddie Plank on October 12, 1906 at Seaboard Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Some claimed the shot made Plank look like a bush leaguer.

William: Trainer of the Chicago White Sox

Over the winter of 1907-1908, William relocated to Los Angeles intent on meeting up with the White Sox during the spring. Buck first secured employment with the Los Angeles Angels via manager Henry Berry. Within a short time of the White Sox arrival in the city for spring workouts, Bill endeared himself to some of the Chicago players. They petitioned owner Charles Comiskey on Buckner’s behalf and he was hired as the club’s new trainer.

(William and Lucy would spend many winters in California thereafter. In fact, they were listed as residents of Los Angeles in the 1910 U.S. Census.)

He was among the earliest of the African-American trainers in major league baseball. The early list also included Ed Mackal of the New York Giants and Ed LaForce of the Pirates.

Read the full article here, including photographs and documents of the two brothers: http://baseballhistoryblog.com/3338/the-buckner-brothers-harry-and-william/

This page was last updated October 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm MST.

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