From SABR member Bill Clark at Columbia Daily Tribune on August 31, 2016, with mention of SABR Peter Gorton:
The name John Donaldson has come to the forefront again — and rightfully so.
Back in November 2009, Ol’ Clark wrote a column about the career of the best baseball pitcher in history not in either the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., or in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
A quick review of the John Donaldson story follows:
Donaldson was born Feb. 10, 1891, in Glasgow. His dad was white and not a part of his life. His mom, Ida, wanted him to become a preacher, but by the time John was 17, he was the best pitcher, black or white, in the area. No one wanted to face the ace of the Hannaca Blues staff.
Even though his mother, a devout Methodist, had named him for John Wesley, the leader of the Methodist Church, John’s calling was baseball, and in 1911 he joined the Tennessee Rats and a year later was signed by the All-Nations team, which eventually became the Kansas City Monarchs. He was a member of the Monarchs club when the Negro American League came into being in 1920.
Donaldson’s record as a barnstormer has no equal. He was Satchel Paige before there was a Satchel Paige, but no one bothered to compile his records. Negro baseball history books hardly mention him.
Originally published: September 7, 2016. Last Updated: September 7, 2016.