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A long ride to the majors: James "Bus" Clarkson

From SABR member Nick Diunte at Baseball Past and Present on June 11, 2012:

Beyond the barriers broken by Jackie Robinson lie the truncated major league careers of Negro League veterans. Past their prime, these baseball lifers persisted well into their late 30′s and early 40′s, playing out their careers before teammates and crowds that never had the opportunity to see them at their peaks. The well-documented exploits of Satchel Paige reaching the majors in his 40s and Sam Jethroe winning Rookie of the Year at 33 are more prominent stories from this group. There were other less-celebrated and now forgotten Negro League vets who took whatever time they could get in the majors, thirty-somethings like Ray Noble, Pat Scantlebury, Quincy Trouppe, Bob Thurman, and Artie Wilson. This is the story of one overlooked fence buster, James “Bus” Clarkson.

Years before his 1952 debut in the majors at 37, Clarkson was a power-hitting shortstop and third baseman in the Negro Leagues. Debuting in 1937, Clarkson terrorized pitching wherever he went, whether it was in the United States or the Caribbean, finishing second to Josh Gibson in home runs in the 1941 Mexican League. Overshadowed by younger prospects coming out of the Negro Leagues, Clarkson headed north to Canada in 1948, where he blasted 31 homers while batting .408 for St. Jean of the Provincial League. Despite his monstrous numbers and Robinson having broken baseball’s color barrier the year prior, Clarkson returned to the Negro Leagues with no offers from major league organizations.

Read the full article here: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/06/11/long-ride-majors-story-james-bus-clarkson/

This page was last updated June 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm MST.

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