We are pleased to pass along this update from SABR member Gary Ashwill at Seamheads.com on August 23, 2017:
Here’s a brief, belated introduction to the 1937 Negro American League, which we added to the site last month (July 10, to be precise). For a broader view of that eventful year in black baseball history, see my entry on the 1937 Negro National League, which we added to the DB back in 2015. Meanwhile, here are a few highlights from the first season of the NAL, a Midwest-based league that was the true successor of Rube Foster’s original NNL.
• The team with the best overall record in the league was the Cincinnati Tigers, managed by Double Duty Radcliffe, and starring ace Jess Houston (8-3, 2.19) and shortstop Howard Easterling (.355/.400/.595). Like the 1981 Cincinnati Reds, though, the Tigers failed to win either half of the NAL’s split season.
• Luck instead favored the two most dominant clubs from the old NNL, the Kansas City Monarchs and Chicago American Giants, who won the first and second halves, respectively. The Monarchs, featuring Hilton Smith (11-4, 1.65) and outfielder Willard Brown (.372/.423/.661), took the championship series in five games.
• The Indianapolis Athletics were a brand-new club, organized and managed by Ted Strong Sr., who was fortunate enough to have an extravagantly talented son, Ted Strong Jr., to play shortstop and bat cleanup for him. (The younger Strong, who later starred for the Kansas City Monarchs, was also a great basketball player for the Harlem Globetrotters.) The Athletics, however, folded after the 1937 season.
To view the award-winning Seamheads Negro Leagues Database, visit http://www.seamheads.com/NegroLgs/index.php
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1944 season (April 28, 2017)
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1925 season (February 4, 2016)
- Seamheads Negro Leagues Database update: 1932 East-West League stats (August 13, 2015)
- Little-known players from the Seamheads Negro Leagues Database (February 2, 2012)
- Read our Q&A with Gary Ashwill about the Negro Leagues Database (September 14, 2011)
Originally published: August 25, 2017. Last Updated: July 16, 2020.