Phil Cockrell (Courtesy of Gary Ashwill)

Phil Cockrell

This article was written by Thomas Kern

Phil Cockrell (Courtesy of Gary Ashwill)“If you were to ask me who is the smartest hurler in our league, there could be but one answer, and that is ‘Cockrell.’” – W. Rollo Wilson1


Phil Cockrell’s arrival in the North is one person’s story of the Great Migration, the movement of millions of African Americans from the South as they sought jobs and hoped to avoid inequality in the early 1900s. According to the US National Archives:

The Great Migration was one of the largest movements of people in United States history. Approximately six million Black people moved from the American South to Northern, Midwestern, and Western states roughly from the 1910s until the 1970s. The driving force behind the mass movement was to escape racial violence, pursue economic and educational opportunities, and obtain freedom from the oppression of Jim Crow.2

For Cockrell, it was baseball that drew him to upstate New York and then Pennsylvania. And, in so doing, he made a name for himself in the annals of the Negro League game.

Phillip Cockrell Williams was reputedly born in Augusta, Georgia, on June 29, 1895. However, as is the case with many Black ballplayers born before the turn of the twentieth century, records are spotty and not much is known about his origins. A 1900 Census record might be of his family and him as a 5-year-old, residing in the Burke Militia District (30 miles from Augusta) with father Phillips, mother Francis, and three siblings. The 1910 Census records potentially tie then 15-year-old Philip to a Williams family that included 55-year-old father William and three siblings residing in Augusta. His grave records indicate a July 9, 1895, birthdate. Yet Cockrell’s own draft registration card from the early 1940s identifies Philip Cockrew (so spelled even though his own scrawling signature shows Cockrell ending in two l’s, not a w) Williams born in Augusta, Georgia, on June 29, 1898. It must suffice to say that Cockrell was born in the latter half of the final decade of the nineteenth century.

Little is known of Cockrell’s youth except for his Augusta roots, which is where, in his teens, Pop Watkins discovered him. Baseball lifer Watkins occasionally coached Paine College’s baseball team and likely recruited Cockrell or spotted him on the team. In the mid-1920s, once Cockrell reached stardom, the Augusta Chronicle happily laid claim to him, writing “Have you ever heard of Phil Cockrell? Well, he is an Augusta colored professional baseball player who hurls at will a no-hit, no-run game. … Out in the East, Cockrell is good advertising for Augusta.”3 A year later, the Chronicle announced Cockrell’s March appearance in Augusta: “Phil Cockrell is a product of Paine College and will help to work out the team while he is in the city.”4

The man who discovered him, John McCreary “Pop” Watkins, was a Black baseball icon who played most of career with the Cuban Giants. In 1907 Watkins broke his leg in a game, and although he recovered enough to play in the field again, his career took a turn.5 By then in his 40s, Pop shifted his baseball talents toward assembling Black teams in the South that he then took North to compete against amateur, semipro, and other Black and White squads. Born in the South (some records show North Carolina, others Georgia), he gravitated toward Augusta where, according to newspaper accounts of the day, he recruited young ballplayers, aided by his coaching the local Black school team at Paine College, a Historically Black College. Watkins’ business acumen and his skill in finding talented ballplayers came to define his career and offered a proving ground for players like Cockrell to find a place in Black baseball.

Watkins most famously organized and managed the Havana Red Sox, an itinerant team based in Norfolk, Virginia, and Buffalo, New York, prior to its relocation to Watertown, New York. In 1913 the Buffalo Evening News provided one of the first sightings of Watkins’ team noting that “the Havana Red Sox, known the country over as one of the greatest colored baseball teams ever organized, will be seen in Buffalo for the first time next Sunday. … [T]his famous club is under the management of Pop Watkins, who is the oldest player manager today in baseball.”6 No mention was made of Cockrell being in the lineup, and other 1913 articles offer no indication of whether an 18-year-old Cockrell was yet on the team. 

However, over the next four seasons, 1914 to 1917, Cockrell featured prominently for the Havana Red Sox in its Watertown home. One of the first references to Cockrell on the Red Sox appeared when the team played in Kingston, Ontario, in July 1914. “On Monday, at Lake Ontario Park, the fastest ball players that have been in Kingston in a long while will play the winners of the Ponies-Victoria game. These fellows are all students in negro colleges and call themselves the Havana Red Sox. The lineup [includes] Cockrell, from Paine College, Augusta, Ga.”7 An article in the New York Age, an African American newspaper, further substantiated Cockrell’s presence on the Red Sox roster.8 And the Watertown Daily Times regularly reported on games that he pitched or played the outfield in, noting by the end of September that he was “one of Pop’s best.”9

In 1916, a reference to Cockrell’s unique pitching style made the news. In a July 29 game against the Gouverneur Collegians, “Cockrell twirled a splendid [complete] game, striking out eleven of his opponents with the spitter” for a 3-1 win. Also noteworthy was the article’s allusion to what was common practice for many Black teams at the time: “The Watkins club kept the spectators amused throughout the game with the comedy stuff, besides showing some clever fielding.”10

Cockrell began the 1917 season with the Red Sox and on one of Havana’s road trips to New York City apparently drew the attention of the New York Lincoln Giants team that was managed by Smokey Joe Williams. In the autumn of that year, Cockrell made his debut in the top tier of Black baseball.11 The Watertown Daily Times noted his move to New York in an October 1917 article:

Phil Cockrell, who was the star-colored twirler of the Havana Red Sox, the former part of this season, is now doing mound duty for the Lincoln Giants, one of the fastest colored aggregations in New York city. Cockrell played with the Pittsburgh Stars up to two weeks ago when he made a shift to the colored nine of the metropolis. Phil pitched his second game for the Lincoln Giants on Sunday afternoon at the Olympic field in New York city, [winning] 4 to 2.12

His brief stint with the Pittsburgh Stars, before moving to the Giants, was also captured by the Watertown Daily Times:

The Pittsburgh Stars, star colored team of Buffalo captained by Home Run Johnson, a former member of Pop Watkins’ aggregation, is composed mainly Red Sox players who have either been released by the venerable Watkins or have left the team of their own accord. … Phil Cockrell, who left Pop’s crew of colored baseball tossers in August to join the Buffalo aggregation, twirled in [the Sunday, September 23 game against the Buffalo Internationals] and allowed the Bisons but three hits.13

Statistics record one appearance against another major-league-quality Black ballclub in 1917 for the 22-year-old with the Lincoln Giants, a six-hit shutout.14 Managed by Smokey Joe Williams, the Lincoln Giants finished with the best record among the Eastern clubs. Williams led the way with pitching support from Gifford McDonald and Lee Wade. Doc Wiley, Judy Gans, Ted Kimbro, Jules Thomas, and Spottswood Poles featured prominently in the field and at bat.

In the winter of 1917-1918, Cockrell made the first of several appearances in the Florida Hotel League, possibly initiated by his newfound connection to Smokey Joe Williams, who managed the Breakers Hotel team on which Cockrell played. Cockrell made further appearances for the Breakers in 1921, 1925, and 1926.15

Cockrell’s winter ballplaying was not confined to Florida. He was with the Bacharach Giants in 1920-1921, on which team he joined future Hall of Famers Louis Santop and Oscar Charleston, for the squad’s losing tour (4-12) of Cuba against Almendares and Habana.16 Cockrell’s stats show him playing mainly as an outfielder in six games, going hitless, with two innings in relief in one pitching appearance.

Cockrell started the 1918 season with the Lincoln Giants, but it was that year that Ed Bolden, the Hilldale entrepreneur and president, decided to pursue the right-hander,17 most likely based on his pitching performance for his New York team in a May 12 game against the Brooklyn Royal Giants at Olympic Field. The game is worth noting, given its pivotal role in Cockrell’s long-term career with Hilldale and later with Bolden’s Philadelphia Stars.

Tom Williams    and Phil Cockrell, two colored twirlers who have seen service in Watertown with Pop Watkins’ dusky squad, participated in a pitching duel at the Olympic Field in New York city Sunday afternoon. Both twirlers were relieved at the close of the 11th inning with the score two all. Both received rounds of applause from the biggest crowd that has ever been at the park. The Lincoln Giants, of which Cockrell is a twirler, were, however, defeated in the 12th inning by the Royal Giants 4-2. In eleven innings Cockrell struck out eight men, gave two bases on balls and allowed a wild pitch.18

The rise of Hilldale as a national Black baseball power coincided with moves like the signing of Cockrell. Bolden had already brought Otto Briggs and Doc Sykes into the fold in 1917. In 1918, along with Cockrell, Bolden signed Louis Santop, Arthur Dilworth, Tom Williams, Judy Johnson, Dick Lundy, Pearl Webster, and George Johnson to the club for the start of a decade of excellence.19

In the period 1918 to 1920, Hilldale established itself as both a quality team and a sound organization. It was competitive, finishing second, fourth, third, and first among Eastern Independent Clubs from 1918 to 1921. The team foundered somewhat at 20-26 in 1922, eighth among Independent Clubs. Thereafter, Hilldale hit its stride. In the five years of existence of the Eastern Colored League (1923-1927), the team came in second, first, first, first, first, and fifth, appearing in the first two Negro League World Series in 1924 and 1925. Its 53-33 aggregate record against all Negro League teams in 1926 was not enough to surpass the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants in games won within the ECL for a fourth consecutive Eastern title.

By 1921, Cockrell was known well outside Philadelphia. A Chicago paper wrote, “Cockrell is one of the many pitchers who long ago demonstrated the fact that the Southland is full of worthy baseball talent. Phil Cockrell is one of the Hilldales great staff of pitchers and is rated one of the best right handers in the business.”20

In early 1923, Cockrell’s pitching talents were confirmed by Black baseball’s preeminent personage himself, Rube Foster. The Associated Negro Press ran a story in March, stating:

Phil Cockrell, ‘the pitching wonder’ who is wintering in Palm Beach, Florida, received a flattering letter from Rube Foster. The letter is in Edward Bolden’s hands and Phil declares he will stick with the Hilldale team and support his present manager. …21

Cockrell was very much a part of Hilldale’s winning formula. In his 15 years with the franchise, through 1932 when the team collapsed financially, he pitched 202 games, starting 165 and finishing 133 of them. He went 96-67 with a 3.88 ERA. Pitching alongside Nip Winters, Red Ryan, Rube Curry, Script Lee, Bullet Campbell, and later, Darltie Cooper, Oscar Levis, and Webster McDonald, the Hilldale rotation was solid and dependable. As Cockrell aged into his 30s, he no longer figured as the main attraction for Hilldale, but Bolden remained loyal to him.

There was one hiccup, though. Foreshadowing the irony of his post-playing career, Cockrell became embroiled in something more than a dust-up with an umpire: 

On August 8, 1926, at Atlantic City … [he] attacked an umpire for reversing a decision. While many observers were angered by the harsh response of white park security, who hauled Cockrell from the field and struck him with a blackjack, Bolden insisted that Cockrell was at fault for assaulting the umpire. … Cockrell received a five-day suspension and a $100 fine.22

In spite of this unfortunate episode, Cockrell was still known as one of the best and smartest hurlers in Negro League baseball. The Pittsburgh Courier’s W. Rollo Wilson captured Cockrell’s pitching repertoire perfectly:

The sterling pitcher of Clan Darbie is still winning ball games. And how? His head and control. If you were to ask me who is the smartest hurler in our league, there could be but one answer, and that is “Cockrell.” … [He] is a veteran of the game and he knows all the questions and their solutions. He can find the weak spot of a batter more quickly than any moundsman hereabouts. His spitball is more deception than reality, his curve is a curve by courtesy only. He can flash a speed ball on occasion. But his brain works constantly, and his control is good or better most of the time. … Other eastern pitchers have more mechanical ability, but none ties him in brain power.23

Cockrell’s spitball was considered by many to be his signature pitch. The American and National Leagues banned the spitball after 1920 (allowing the 17 pitchers already using it to continue until they were out of the game).24 However, “The Negro Leagues, on the other hand, did no such thing. While Negro League officials claimed that their games adhered to Major League rules, NNL players, managers, and umpires accepted ball doctoring as a part of their sport.”25 This state of play welcomed a range of styles for Negro Leaguers to doctor the ball. For Cockrell, it was a “moist ball” rather than a heavily saliva-covered pitch.26

Teammate Paul “Jake” Stephens had an insider’s view of Cockrell’s spitter:

Phil Cockrell was a great pitcher, but you hated to play behind him because he threw that spitball, and you’d get ahold of the goddamn spit sometimes. You just couldn’t throw true. I never will forget this no-hit no-run game on Sunday against the Paterson Silk Sox in New Jersey. They really had a good ball club. And I made a play out this world. The following week they had a return bout, and we went along about the seventh or eighth inning 0-0, and with two men out and a man on second base, he threw a spitball. I grabbed ahold of the spitty side and threw it into the dugout. The man scored and beat us 1-0. Cockrell wouldn’t talk to me for two weeks.27

Perhaps the most prominent display of Cockrell’s spitter came in the first game of the 1924 Colored World Series between the Kansas City Monarchs and Hilldale on Friday, October 3, in Philadelphia. Bolden elected to start Cockrell rather than Nip Winters, despite the latter’s stellar season. On a 1-and-2 count to the Monarchs’ first batter, Lem Hawkins, Cockrell threw a spitball that led to the home-plate umpire stopping play. The umpire was a White official from the International League who was ready to enforce the ban, but Bolden appealed to Rube Foster, commissioner for the Negro National League, to allow the game to continue without prohibiting the pitch. Foster agreed. Cockrell completed the game but lost to Bullet Joe Rogan, 6-2, giving up five runs in the sixth in large part due to his three errors.28

The 1924 Colored World Series between the Negro National League and the Eastern Colored League was the first of two that the Hilldale squad and Cockrell played against the Kansas City Monarchs. Cockrell started two games. In addition to his Game One loss, he started Game Six in Kansas City on October 12, going only two-thirds of an inning and giving up four runs. He did not take the loss, as Hilldale later came back to tie the game before Script Lee, who relieved Cockrell, allowed two more runs in a 6-5 defeat.29 Despite better hitting and a lower ERA, Hilldale eventually dropped the Series 4-5-1.

Redemption was on the way with a 1925 rematch between the two teams. In the second game of the series, Cockrell pitched a complete game in Kansas City on October 2, losing to Nelson Dean 5 5-3. Cockrell gave up 10 hits, struck out four, walked four, and was hurt by two untimely errors. However, on a blustery, freezing October 10 at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, he made up for his earlier loss by defeating William Bell and the Monarchs, 5-2, winning the series 5-1. Over the course of his nine-inning complete game, Cockrell surrendered eight hits, struck out six, and walked four.30

Cockrell’s ascendency to Hilldale also placed him in a postseason barnstorming world in which teams like Bolden’s often participated. In October 1926 Cockrell starred in the first game of a two-game series against Earl Mack’s All-Stars. “On October 1, Phil Cockrell, a tiny right-handed spitballer, edged the Macks 3-2 on John Beckwith’s long two-run homer in the eighth.”31 Records do not identify Cockrell’s mound opponent, but the following day Hilldale again defeated the Mack team and its pitcher, a young Lefty Grove.

After the 1927 season, Ed Bolden pulled Hilldale from the struggling Eastern Colored League that eventually collapsed in June 1928. Hilldale played an independent schedule for the remainder of 1927 and, in 1928, loosely affiliated with other Eastern teams including the Homestead Grays, New York Lincoln Giants, and Baltimore Black Sox.

Throughout all of the upheaval in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Cockrell remained loyal to Bolden and the city of Philadelphia. The 1928 Hilldale team finished first among Eastern Independent clubs and included such stalwarts as Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston, Frank Warfield, Clint Thomas, Darltie Cooper, and Walter Cannady.

In 1929 Hilldale joined the American Negro League that Bolden himself helped to organize. It was made up of many of the core Eastern teams that had formed the Eastern Colored League.  By that time, Cockrell was past his prime. He appeared on an independent team led by Danny McClellan in addition to being on the Hilldale roster. Early in the season, he replaced Oscar Charleston as Hilldale’s manager. The team struggled, primarily due to Bolden’s conflict with other officials in the ANL; public-relations issues, such as his insistence on using White umpires, that aggravated the Black community; and, ultimately, the economy. Prior to the 1930 season, Bolden was forced to relinquish ownership of the team to Lloyd Thomson, who ran the team for one year before the franchise was bought and overseen by John Drew until its demise in mid-1932.

During the unstable 1929 ANL season with Hilldale, Cockrell tied for the second-most wins, and the third-highest innings pitched for a squad that, while finishing over .500, was 11 games back of the pennant-winning Baltimore Black Sox. Cockrell managed Hilldale again in 1930 and, for a time, in 1932. After Hilldale folded in midseason, he jumped to the Bacharach Giants, now located in Philadelphia under the ownership of Harry Passon. In addition to the Bacharachs, he played for some other teams in 1933.32

That same year, Bolden resurfaced on the scene, launching the Philadelphia Stars, an independent team that played mostly a local schedule. In 1934, the Stars joined the year-old Negro National League II and, in February of that year, Bolden signed Cockrell once more.33

Cockrell appeared in seven league games for the Stars, starting four and winning one. At 39, he did not have much left in the tank. His season stats for Philadelphia showed him starting the fewest number of games of the Stars starters, behind 20-game winner Slim Jones, player-manager Webster McDonald, Rocky Ellis, Lefty Holmes, and Paul Carter. McDonald managed the team to its only NNL2 pennant during its 15 years in the league. (The team ceased play at the conclusion of the 1948 season.)

Cockrell did not rejoin the Stars in 1935. Instead, he moved to the Bacharach Giants as manager and sometimes pitched or played the outfield. The May 3, 1935, Delaware County Daily Times announced that the “Bacharach Giants will introduce their new team under the management of Phil Cockrell, former member of Bolden’s Stars. Phil will most likely pitch in Sunday’s game.”34 Box scores from the season recorded his occasional appearances in the field.

In 1936 Cockrell organized his own squad. A news article explained, “Phil Cockrell, veteran spitball pitcher, has made arrangements with John M. Drew, owner of Hilldale Park, whereby he will place a club in the field the coming season.”35 For better or worse, he named the team after himself: the Cockrells.36

Eventually, after his playing career was over, he became an umpire. According to Negro League historian James Riley:

Cockrell began a second baseball career, as an umpire in the Negro National League that lasted through the 1946 season. Umpiring in the Negro Leagues could be hazardous, and Cockrell once made a call on a close play that infuriated Jud Wilson. In the locker room after the game, the enraged Wilson grabbed him by the skin of his chest and lifted him off the floor. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Cockrell was rescued.37

Fortunately for Cockrell, he is far better remembered for his pitching acumen than for his run-ins with his former peers as a Negro League umpire. In fact, one of the more impressive aspects of his career is that it was punctuated by six no-hitters. Chronologically, they were against the All Nationals of New York (1919), the Detroit Stars (1921), Chicago American Giants and Patterson Silk Sox (1922), the South Phillies (six innings, 1923), and Cape May (1930).38 The home game against the Stars on Labor Day exhibited Cockrell in his prime: no hits, 6 strikeouts and 16 infield outs, suggestive of a masterful spitball that Detroit batters could not command.39

Cockrell’s other no-hitter against a Negro League side was equally compelling. Hilldale traveled to Chicago at the end of the Eastern season for a five-game series with the American Giants. Despite Cockrell’s herculean efforts – he won two of the games himself – Hilldale lost the series three games to two. The hometown Chicago Defender wrote of Cockrell’s Game One no-hitter: “Spitballer Phil Cockrell … [tossed] a no-hitter while walking only three batters during the Easterners’ 5-0 triumph [in Game One].40 The Chicago Tribune cited his seven strikeouts and mentioned that “not a local man reached third.”41 The American Giants won the next two contests before Cockrell’s four-hit, three-strikeout game bested Chicago 5-3 in Game Four. Cockrell helped his own cause with two hits and a run scored.”42 However, the American Giants won Game Five and the series, 7-6 in 12 innings.43

The no-hitter against the Silk Sox that same year showed Cockrell to be firing on all cylinders:

Hilldale defeated the fast Paterson Silk Sox here [Clifton, New Jersey] in a red-hot game. Score, 1 to 0. Phil Cockrell, Manager Bolden’s ace, pitched the greatest game of his career, having a no-hit, no-run game to his credit. … Cockrell also had a perfect day at bat, with two singles and a sacrifice. The winning run was scored in the third on Downs’ single, Cockrell’s sacrifice, Briggs’ out and Francis’ pop fly to right. Three thousand fans saw the game.44

After so much success on the playing field, the last inning of Cockrell’s life turned out to be a tragic one. He settled in Philadelphia after his long career and lived at 322 North 55th Street. Cockrell worked as a bartender at a taproom at 55th and Summer Streets, just blocks from his home. He was stabbed to death early Saturday morning, March 31, apparently the victim of a robbery, according to his obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer.45 The online notation from Mount Lawn Cemetery in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, where he was buried, stated “he was shot by a jealous husband in a case of mistaken identity.”46

Phil Cockrell’s career statistics show a durable, dependable pitcher: 10th in complete games, 14th in games started, 19th in wins, 24th in shutouts, and 27th in strikeouts. In 1952 the Pittsburgh Courier polled the “top baseball men” in the country to choose the All Time, All America [Black] Baseball Team from ballplayers between 1910 and 1952. Although not on the first or second team, Phil Cockrell made the “Roll of Honor” and was called the “greatest spit-ball pitcher of all time.”47



Unless otherwise noted, all cited statistics are from



1 “Sports Shots,” W. Rollo Wilson, Pittsburgh Courier, August 27, 1927: 16.

2 Accessed October 12, 2022.

3 “Notes Among the Colored People,” Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, September 20, 1925: 3.

4 “Famous Negro League Pitcher,” J.C. Mardenborough, Augusta Chronicle, March 18, 1926: 11.

5 “Pop Watkins’ 45th Year in Baseball: Red Sox Pilot 12 Years,” Watertown (New York) Daily Times, July 30, 1919: 8.

6 “Havana Red Sox Here Next Sunday,” Buffalo Evening News, June 5, 1913: 18.

7 “The Havana Red Sox,” Kingston (New York) Whig-Standard, July 21, 1914: 3.

8 “The Havana Red Sox,” New York Age, August 27, 1914: 6.

9 “Utica Leaguers Here for Games,” Watertown Daily Times, September 26, 1914: 8.

10 “Errors Lose Game for Gouverneur: Red Sox Score Three Runs in First Inning,” Watertown Daily Times, July 29, 1916: 8.

11 Even after Cockrell’s ascendency to the top tier, he did not sever his Havana Red Sox connection. The Watertown Daily Times carried sightings of him with the Red Sox. This movement was not uncommon and was likely done with the understanding of Cockrell’s managers. “Prospects Play Red Sox Sunday,” Watertown Daily Times, July 28, 1919: 8.

12 “Phil Cockrell with the Lincoln Giants: Former Havana Red Sox Twirler Has Shifted to the Metropolis,” Watertown Daily Times, October 10, 1917: 11.

13 “Sox Players with Pittsburgh Stars: Cockrell the Star Hurler,“ Watertown Daily Times, September 9, 1917: 8.

14 Box scores are not available (or have not yet been discovered) for many games. The stats that Seamheads has for Cockrell for that year are against other Eastern Independent teams.

15 William F. McNeil, Black Baseball Out of Season: Pay for Play Outside the Negro Leagues (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2007), 23.

16 Jorge S. Figueredo, Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2003), 137, 139.

17 Neil Lanctot, Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: The Hilldale Club and the Development of Black Professional Baseball, 1910-1932 (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2007), 52.

18 “Colored Hurlers in Pitching Duel: Former Red Sox Slabsters Twirl Eleven Innings to a Tie in New York,” Watertown Daily Times, May 15, 1918: 6.

19 Courtney Michelle Smith, Ed Bolden and Black Baseball in Philadelphia (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co.,  2017), 19.

20 “An Eastern Cracker,” Chicago Whip, July 23, 1921: 8.

21 “Philadelphia the Birthplace of Colored Eastern Organized Baseball,” Richmond (Virginia) Planet, March 7, 1923: 3.

22 Lanctot, 145-6.

23 W. Rollo Wilson, “Sports Shots,” Pittsburgh Courier, August 27, 1927: 19.



26 Chicago Defender, August 20, 1927: 10.

27 John B. Holway, Black Diamonds: Life in the Negro Leagues from the Men Who Lived It (New York: Stadium Books, 1991), 9.

28 Larry Lester, Baseball’s First Colored World Series: The 1924 Meeting of the Hilldale Giants and the Kansas City Monarchs (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2006), 107.

29 Lester, 148-152.

30 “World Series Play by Play,” Chicago Defender, October 17, 1925: 8.

31 McNeil, 92.

32 Newspaper references also place Cockrell with the Gouldtown Frogs in southern New Jersey: Bridgetown Evening News, August 17, 1933: 5, and August 31, 1933: 8.

33 W. Ardee, “Phil Cockrell to Twirl for Phila. Stars,” Philadelphia Tribune, February 22, 1934.

34 “Chester Team Plays Tomorrow: Meets Charlotte Hornets at A.A. Field; Bacharach Sunday,” Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, Pennsylvania), May 3, 1935: 17.

35 “Cockrell Returns to Darby,” Delaware County Daily Times, February 3, 1936: 12.

36 “Phil Cockrell’s Baseball Club to Be Tough,” Kansas City (Kansas) Plain Dealer, March 6, 1936: 3.

37 James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1994), 182-3.

38 Lanctot, 147.


40 “Phil Cockrell Throws a Mean-Mean Baseball: Pitches No-Hit, No-Run Game Against American Giants for Hilldale Team,” Chicago Defender, August 26, 1922: 10.

41 “Hilldale Lad Pitched No-Hit, No-Run Victory,” Chicago Defender, August 20, 1922: 8.

42 “American Giants Beaten,” Chicago Tribune, August 23, 1922: 15.

43 ”Rube Foster Takes Final of Series,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 24, 1922: 17.

44 “Additional Sports News: Cockrell Enters ‘Hall of Fame,’” Cleveland Gazette, July 1, 1922: 2.

45 “Baseball Hurler Stabbed to Death,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1951: 48. The Arizona Sun and other papers carried a slightly longer obituary from the NNPA Black Press of America elaborating on his career. “Former Pitcher Stabbed to Death,” Arizona Sun, April 13, 1951: 5.

46 Newspapers stated that Cockrell was stabbed, conflicting with the Cemetery notation.

47 “Power, Speed, Skill, Make All-America Team Excel,” Pittsburgh Courier, April 19, 1952: 14, 16.

Full Name

Philip Cockrell


June 29, 1895 at Augusta, GA (USA)


March 31, 1951 at Philadelphia, PA (USA)

If you can help us improve this player’s biography, contact us.