Bill Galloway

This article was written by Richard Armstrong

When Jackie Robinson debuted with the Montreal Royals on April 18, 1946, he became the first Black player to appear in what was then known as Organized Baseball in nearly 47 years. Canadians feel a special connection to Robinson because of his year spent in Montreal. What many Canadians don’t know is that they have a connection to the last Black player in Organized Baseball before Jackie Robinson. That player was Canadian. His name was Bill “Hippo” Galloway.

William Henry “Hippo” Galloway, a multisport athlete, did not spend long in Organized Baseball. Statistically speaking, his career is a mere footnote in the history of the game. But his career is not a mere footnote; his story is worth telling. Hippo Galloway is believed to be the first Black Canadian to play Organized Baseball, possibly the first Black player in amateur hockey in Ontario, and the last Black player in Organized Baseball before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for good.1

The story of Hippo’s early life is confusing, starting with his parents. There is no record of who his father was. The name of his mother was Julia Sims.2 Sims was born in Ontario around 1860,3 and lived in Dunnville for at least two decades. By 1881, Sims was living at the residence of Harriett Galloway. It is not clear why Julia took up residence with Harriett. Documents explain that by the time she did, though, she had a two-year-old son named John.4 There is no record of his birth, and no record of him, or of Julia, after 1881.

Harriett Galloway had children of her own. Her eldest son, William David Galloway, was born in 1850 and lived in Dunnville right up until his death in 1930. William was the adoptive father of Hippo Galloway.5 As a child, Hippo lived in the United States, yet there is no record of Julia Sims crossing the border, and no record of her giving birth to another child.

Given that Harriett Galloway and Julia Sims were known to each other, it cannot be a coincidence that William adopted Hippo. But the circumstances surrounding the adoption are not known. As such, there is no definitive proof that it was William Henry Galloway, and not John Sims, that William adopted.

Whatever the case, William’s adopted son moved to Canada in 1888,6 and, going by the name Willie Galloway, enrolled at Dunnville Public School.7 The 1891 Canadian Census supports the possibility that Hippo is actually John Sims. For Dunnville, it lists a 12-year-old “Wm. Galloway,” born in Ontario.8 No other document supports this date. Every other government record suggests Hippo was born in the early 1880s, and it is clear that Hippo Galloway came to believe, or at least accept, that he was born on March 24, 1882, in Buffalo, New York.9 Whether Hippo was born in Ontario in 1879, or in Buffalo in 1882, he was Canadian.

In spite of all of the mysteries surrounding Hippo’s early years, one thing is clear: He was a notable athlete. Young Hippo “played all sports with mixed teams as a youth.”10 In 1897 local newspapers recognized him for his feats on the diamond. That year, he played outfield and third base with the highly successful amateur Dunnville B.B.C.

Dunnville, an independent club, filled its schedule playing amateur teams from neighboring towns. As one local reporter put it, Hippo “proved to be one of the shining stars of the Dunnvilles.”11 At season’s end, the Dunnville Chronicle declared the Dunnville B.B.C. “the champion amateurs of Canada,” noting that they “are all stars and their colored third baseman, ‘Hippo’ Galloway, is probably the most popular young fellow in Dunnville.”12

But baseball wasn’t his only talent. He also played lacrosse and was a skilled hockey player. Galloway spent the baseball offseason playing hockey with the Dunnville town team.

In 1898 Galloway graduated to baseball’s professional ranks. Professional baseball in Dunnville was still in its infancy. Dunnville’s professional team, like its amateur team, was independent. It played its games at Jubilee Park, which was built in 1897 by hotelier David Price. The team rostered only a few local players, including Galloway; the rest of the roster was rounded out by imported professionals.13

The Dunnville nine opened its season at Brantford. Galloway played the outfield and smacked a double. Dunnville walked away 5-3 winners.14 Dunnville next took the field for its home opener, and the team secured another victory. In the eighth, Galloway hit an RBI single, stole second, advanced to third on a hit, and scored on an outfield fly.15

As the season progressed, and Dunnville continued to pile up wins, Galloway established himself as its most notable position player. He deftly moved between center field, third base, and shortstop. Against Buffalo on May 20, he hit his first home run. Meanwhile, he threatened to steal any time he was on base. On June 24 he and his squad met their match. That day, the club traveled to Chatham and lost 1-0. The story of the game was actually the Chatham pitcher, future Hall of Famer Rube Waddell. Waddell held Dunnville hitless, striking out 17 batters. When asked what Waddell was throwing that baffled the Dunnville club so badly, Galloway replied, “Man, don’t ask me, only time I saw the ball was when the catcher was throwing it back!”16

Despite the fact that the team excelled on the field, about halfway through the season Dunnville found itself in financial peril. While ownership had done a good job of fielding a competitive team, the lack of local talent hurt them at the gate. Local papers explained that fans had stayed away “because more local players were not on the nine.”17

One by one, teams that Dunnville had competed against poached its players. At the end of June, Galloway and three of his Dunnville teammates left town to join the Woodstock Bains. On July 22 the Dunnville Chronicle printed an obituary for the ballclub, which had officially ceased operations.18

The Woodstock Bains were a semipro team that played in the independent three-team Brantford and Woodstock Baseball League. Galloway made his debut with the Bains on July 1, playing third base in both games of a doubleheader. Facing the Page Fence Giants, Woodstock lost both contests. Hippo’s defense was shaky, but he was quick to put those losses behind him. In the very next game, Galloway went 2-for-4 and stole three bases. A few games later, he went 3-for-5 with three putouts and three assists at third base. On July 23 he hit his first home run with the Bains, leading the team to a 7-3 victory.

The Bains were so dominant that they secured the league championship on August 13, with more than a month left on the schedule. A local cigar store displayed the team’s championship trophy in its window. The cup attracted such a crowd that the local police chief ordered the trophy removed. The shop owner refused, and the trophy remained on display for all to see.19

The Bains spent the rest of the summer playing out their league schedule and picking up exhibition games. On October 1 the Bains closed their season against Hays & Co., a rival Woodstock semipro team. The Hays lineup boasted future major leaguers Bunk Congalton and Alex “Dooney” Hardy, but it wasn’t enough. The Bains claimed the unofficial city championship with an easy 17-8 victory. Galloway went 1-for-5 in the contest, with two stolen bases and a run scored.20

After the baseball season, Galloway remained in Woodstock and played for the Woodstock entry in the newly formed Central Ontario Hockey Association, a subsidiary of the Ontario Hockey Association. He debuted in Hamilton on January 20, likely becoming the first Black player in the OHA.21

Another Black player, Charlie Lightfoot, played for Stratford in the Big Four Hockey League, another subsidiary of the OHA, in 1899, but it appears that he debuted after Galloway. In his first game, Galloway scored one goal in a losing effort. Not much else is known of his hockey exploits in 1899, and while Woodstock was considered “one of the fastest teams in Western Ontario,” Paris won the league.22

In April Galloway re-signed with the Bains. The team opened its season on May 6 against the Stratford Poets of the Canadian League. In 1899 the Canadian League was designated a Class-D League in Organized Baseball. In the opener, Galloway went 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases, but also committed two errors that resulted in runs for the Poets. Stratford won, 8-6. Woodstock’s next game came against London’s Knox Club, with future Pittsburgh Pirates ironman George Gibson. Galloway went 2-for-4 in the 11-2 victory, as the “Bains were immeasurably superior to their opponents.”23

On June 9 the Bains played an exhibition game against the famed Cuban Giants, defeating them 11-5. Galloway went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Accompanying news of Woodstock’s victory came an announcement that the Stratford Poets had resigned from the Canadian League, and that the Bains had agreed to fill the vacancy.24

On June 12 the Bains traveled to London to make their Canadian League debut. As reported by the Woodstock Daily Sentinel, “Very few had hopes for a victory” for the Bains. London was the fastest team in the league, and the defending pennant winners.25 Regardless of the matchup, the game became historically significant well before the battle ended.

When Galloway assumed his position at third base in the bottom of the first, he became the first Black Canadian to play in Organized Baseball. Galloway fielded a clean game, recording two putouts and an assist. He struck out in his first at-bat in the top of the second, but in the top of the fourth, he recorded his first Canadian League hit and Woodstock’s first run batted in when he “brought Busse in by a beautiful drive to the right garden.”26 That run made the score 6-1 in favor of London, which defeated Woodstock 8-3.

Woodstock’s luck was no better the next day, and the Cockneys defeated them 14-6. Galloway went 0-for-4 at the plate, but for the second game in a row he earned the crowd’s appreciation: “Galloway made a brilliant catch of a high hot liner by Mohler in the fourth inning that won applause.”27

Woodstock followed up its two defeats in London with two defeats in Chatham (future Hall of Famer Sam Crawford played left field for Chatham), and a loss to St. Thomas. The St. Thomas game was especially tough for Galloway. He made three errors and faced taunts from the crowd.28 The next day, the Woodstock Bains released him. Whether this action was influenced by his .150 batting average (3-for-20 in five games), or by claims that certain players on the Hamilton roster were unwilling to play against him29 is unclear.

What is clear is that Hippo Galloway was still in demand. News of his release included a reporter’s plea to keep him in Woodstock: “An effort should be made to keep ‘Hippo’ in town, as our hockey team need his services.”30

The pleas were answered. He signed with the Woodstock City Team (formerly Hays & Co.), despite offers from Dunnville and the Cuban Giants.31 Galloway made an immediate splash with the City Team. In his debut, he batted fourth, ahead of future major leaguer Ernie “Curly” Ross. Hippo played first base, and went 4-for-5, with two runs and four stolen bases in a lopsided 16-6 victory.

Galloway played out the season with the City Team. Local newspapers did not provide much coverage for the City Team, surely owing to a preference to cover Woodstock’s Canadian League team instead. Newspapers did provide coverage when the City Team squared off against the Bains. In three such games, Galloway showed off his versatility, playing first base, left field, shortstop, and center field. But the Bains were dominant and won every game.

After the baseball season, Hippo planned to lace up his skates again with Woodstock’s hockey team. However, there was a complication. The five games Galloway played with the professional Bains in June made him a professional, and thus ineligible to play in the Central Ontario Hockey Association. In December he applied to be reinstated,32 but the Canadian Amateur Athletic Union denied his request.33 Hippo appealed the decision, but his appeal was denied.34 Galloway was left with nowhere to play hockey in 1900.

In the spring of 1900, Galloway joined the Cuban X-Giants, an independent colored team. The team spent the summer playing games all over the United States and Canada. Galloway appears to have made his debut on May 14 against the Meriden Silverites of the Connecticut State League.

The Meriden lineup included five players who would eventually reach the major leagues, as well as Eugene Mack, the younger brother of baseball legend Connie Mack. Galloway went 3-for-5, but Meriden won, scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth to walk off an 11-10 winner.35

The X-Giants had a reputation for playing an aggressive style of baseball – well suited to his skills. He was a serviceable third baseman for the X-Giants, and a reliable singles and doubles hitter, with the occasional triple or home run. His speed allowed him to wreak havoc in multiple facets of the game. Galloway remained with the X-Giants until mid-August, but there is no record of him again until he resurfaced in January of 1902, working as a bellhop at the Genesee Hotel in Buffalo.36

It’s likely about this time that he met his future wife, Hamilton-born Gladys Dancey.37 Hippo and Gladys eventually married, but not before Hippo spent a few more summers traveling with the Cuban Giants. In August of 1903, the Giants matched up with the Mountain Athletic Club in Fleischmanns, New York, for a three-game series. MAC won the first game, 3-1. Hippo played second base and scored the Giants’ only run. The Giants won the second game, 6-3, and the outcome of the third game is not known.38

In 2020 the Mountain Athletic Club Grounds at Fleischmanns Park was added to the US National Register of Historic Places.39 In September, in a game in North Adams, Massachusetts, Galloway made headlines for showing his less serious side: “A play which is only seen in the funny sections of Sunday papers was made by Sattersfield and Galloway. The former is about four feet extreme height and the latter overtops him a couple of feet. Sattersfield set himself to catch a high pop fly off Mackey in the sixth and was in the very act of catching the ball when Galloway who had stolen up behind him interposed his hands and made the out. There was no make believe in Sattersfield’s disgust and astonishment.”40

Galloway went 3-for-6 and scored two runs, but the game ended tied 8-8. After the 1904 season, he returned to Woodstock and reported that the team had played 169 games, losing only 31 with four ties.41

In the offseason, Galloway returned to hockey. He joined the Wingham Club of the Northern Hockey League.42 He led Wingham to the league championship, winning a best-of-three series final over Harriston. The team celebrated its victory at the Hotel National with speeches and live music. Galloway was called forward, “read a well-worded address,” and was presented with a “handsome gold watch on behalf of the sports of Wingham.” Surprised by the gesture, Galloway “thanked those who had been so thoughtful in his welfare, stating that he had enjoyed his stay in town and would be back again in October.”43

He kept his word. In early October, he returned to Wingham after a summer of making headlines for his strong defensive play with the Cuban Giants. He took a job at the local foundry.44 In November, the Wingham hockey club held a concert as a preseason fundraiser. Galloway was just one of the acts, but performed multiple guitar solos. The benefit raised approximately $40.45

Once again Wingham defeated Harriston in the finals to claim the championship.46 That victory marked the end of Hippo Galloway’s hockey career. After one more summer playing with the Cuban Giants, his baseball career also came to an end.

In 1908 an Industrial Institute opened in Woodstock. Galloway was hired as a laborer.47 Hippo and Gladys lived in Woodstock with their young family until at least March of 1914.48 By 1921 they had moved to Hamilton, where he took a job as a machinist.49 From Hamilton, Hippo, Gladys, and their seven children relocated to Buffalo, New York, where he was employed as a tinsmith.50 He remained in Buffalo until he died on February 17, 1943, at the age of 60.51

On November 16, 2021, William “Hippo” Galloway was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in recognition of having been the first Black Canadian to play in Organized Baseball.52



1 Gary Cieradkowski, The League of Outsider Baseball (New York: Touchstone, 2015), 178.

2 “World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942” digital image, The National Archives (,

accessed November 12, 2021), draft registration card for William H. Galloway, Birth Date: March 24, 1882; Serial Number U353.

3 1861 Canadian Census.

4 1881 Canadian Census.

5 “William D. Galloway,” Dunnville Chronicle, November 21, 1930: 3.

6 1911 Canadian Census.

7 “Dunnville Public School,” Dunnville Gazette, January 6, 1888: 1.

8 1891 Canadian Census.

9 “World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942”.

10 William Humber, Diamonds of the North: A Concise History of Baseball in Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1995), 144.

11 “Again Victorious,” Dunnville Gazette, August 13, 1897: 1.

12 “Another Victory,” Dunnville Gazette, September 3, 1897: 1.

13 Cheryl MacDonald, Grand Heritage: A History of Dunnville and the Townships of Canborough, Dunn, Moulton, Sherbrooke and South Cayuga (Altona, Manitoba: Friesen Printers, 1992), 403.

14 “Won One and Lost One,” Dunnville Chronicle, May 6, 1898: 1.

15 “Bains And 19th Centurys – Two More Scalps Taken by the Dunnville Baseball Braves,” Dunnville Chronicle, May 13, 1898: 1.

16 MacDonald, 404.

17 “Obituary,” Dunnville Chronicle, July 22, 1898: 1.

18 “Obituary.”

19 “Bains Have Won the Cup,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, August 15, 1898: 5.

20 “Bains Win the Town Championship by a Score of 17 Runs to 8,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, October 3, 1898: 5.

21 “An Unsatisfactory Ending,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, January 21, 1899: 1.

22 “Nationals Tie Woodstock,” Toronto Globe, March 17, 1899: 10.

23 “One Won, the Other Lost,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, May 15, 1899: 5.

24 “Bains Are in the Canadian at Last,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, June 10, 1899: 5.

25 “Bains Made Their Debut,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, June 13, 1899: 5

26 “Bains Made Their Debut.”

27 “Woodstock Lost One More,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, June 14, 1899: 5.

28 Humber, 144.

29 Humber, 144.

30 “Changes in the Bain Club,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, June 18, 1899: 5.

31 “Sporting Notes,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, June 23, 1899: 5.

32 “Athletics,” Ottawa Citizen, December 20, 1899: 6.

33 “Championships for Ottawa,” Toronto Globe, January 11, 1900: 10.

34 “Sporting Notes,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, January 31, 1900: 5.

35 “Meriden Defeats the Cuban Giants,” Meriden (Connecticut) Record-Journal, May 15, 1900: 2.

36 “‘Hippo’ with Cuban Giants,” Toronto Daily Star, January 10, 1902: 8.

37 1901 Canadian Census.

38 Collin Miller, “Cuban Giants Go to Bats with Mountain A.C. at Fleischmann’s – August 10-12, 1903,” Mountain Athletic Club Vintage Base Ball, accessed November 12, 2021,

39 Max Lang, “Mountain Athletic Club at Fleischmanns Park Gains Historic Designation,” Oneonta (New York) Daily Star, accessed November 12, 2021,

40 “Sensational Ball,” North Adams (Massachusetts) Transcript, September 21, 1903: 2.

41 “‘Hippo’ Galloway Home,” Toronto Daily Star, October 21, 1904: 10.

42 “Puckerings,” Toronto Globe, December 20, 1904: 9.

43 “Hockey Club Banquetted,” Wingham Advance, March 23, 1905: 1.

44 “Personals,” Wingham Advance, October 5, 1905: 1.

45 “Hockey Club Concert,” Wingham Advance, November 23, 1905: 1.

46 “Wingham Holds the Trophy,” Wingham Times, March 22, 1906: 1.

47 “College for Pupils of African Blood,” Woodstock Daily Sentinel-Review, May 26, 1908: 1.

48 “World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.”

49 1921 Canadian Census.

50 1925 New York State Census.

51 “Births,” digital image, The National Archives (, accessed November 12, 2021), Birth Registration for Ida Norene Galloway, Birth Date: March 26, 1914; Serial Number 044166.

52 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, “William Hipple Galloway,” accessed November 12, 2021,

Full Name

William Henry Galloway


March 24, 1882 at Buffalo, NY (USA)


February 17, 1943 at Buffalo, NY (USA)


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