From SABR member Gary Ashwill at Seamheads.com on October 8, 2019:
This week we’ve added the 1929 Negro National League to the database, where it joins the 1929 American Negro League (the east coast league) for a complete view of the black majors in that year. This update also includes the 1923 Harrisburg Giants and 1924–1925 Homestead Grays, both courtesy of Scott Simkus, along with new games for several other seasons, notably a 1932 series between the Pittsburgh Crawfords and a team of major league all-stars.
The 1929 Kansas City Monarchs managed to wrest the NNL pennant from the St. Louis Stars, with player-manager Bullet Rogan leading the way. In 1928 Rogan had been both the Monarchs’ best pitcher and best hitter; in 1929 he stepped down as a pitcher, but continued in center field as the team’s top everyday player, hitting .359/.449/.571. The 22-year-old Chet Brewer (15-2, 1.93) replaced Rogan as the ace of an incredibly good pitching staff, which also included William Bell (14-4, 3.29) and the southpaws Andy Cooper (15-4, 3.52) and Alfred “Army” Cooper (11-3, 3.08). The Monarchs won 66 and lost only 17 for a .788 winning percentage, better than any other pennant winner in the 1920s.
In winning both halves of the split season, Kansas City did away with the need for a championship series. Unfortunately the leagues could not come to an agreement about the postseason, so there was no World Series matchup with the ANL champion Baltimore Black Sox.
Meanwhile, the 1929 NNL saw some remarkable totals compiled by players. The Black Barons’ Satchel Paige, who turned 23 in July, struck out 189 batters in 185 innings, easily the most Ks ever recorded by a pitcher in one season against black professional competition. The second place St. Louis Stars could console themselves with Willie Wells’s 26 home runs and 116 runs scored, as well as Cool Papa Bell’s 49 stolen bases, all single-season blackball records (as far as we know at the moment). Branch Russell’s 63 walks matches Henry Kimbro’s 1948 record.
Our presentation of the 1929 NNL is based on the work of Larry Lester, Wayne Stivers, and the Negro League Researchers and Authors Group. We still don’t have fielding stats, HRs allowed by pitchers, and some other details, but those will be added in the future.
If all that weren’t enough, this update also features yet another major addition: the 1940 Mexican League. Kevin Johnson will be along in the next day or so with a post about that.
Next up for the DB: 1926, 1927, and 1930 Negro National League, 1932 Negro Southern League, and more Mexican League seasons.
To view the award-winning Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, visit Seamheads.com/NegroLgs/index.php
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1929 American Negro League (April 3, 2019)
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1927 Eastern Colored League (December 26, 2018)
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1948 season (October 17, 2018)
- Little-known players from the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database
- Read our Q&A with Gary Ashwill about the Negro Leagues Database
Originally published: October 10, 2019. Last Updated: July 16, 2020.