Rare Film of John Donaldson Rediscovered in Minnesota

From Mary Divine at the St. Paul Pioneer-Press on July 28, with quotes from SABR member Peter Gorton:

The first time Pete Gorton met Rich Oxley, Oxley told him not to say a word.

“Just watch,” Oxley said as he turned on a film projector at his house in White Bear Lake.

The grainy 39-second black-and-white film that followed showed a loose and limber fireballer hurling a fastball in 1925.

It turns out the pitcher is a legend.


“John Donaldson touches everybody who was ever great in the whole lexicon of black baseball history,” Gorton said. “Andy Cooper was on his team; Satchel Paige was on his team. In John Donaldson’s scouting era, he was scouting Willie Mays and Hank Aaron – everybody who is significant within black baseball history is touched by John Donaldson.”

Oxley realized he had a key piece of Donaldson’s story in his basement.

Those 39 seconds of film – the only known reel ever shot of Donaldson – were carefully preserved in a dark-green metal film canister.

Read the full article here: http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_18564495.

To learn more about Gorton’s research of John Donaldson, visit http://johndonaldson.bravehost.com.

Originally published: July 27, 2011. Last Updated: July 27, 2011.