Whirty: George Johnson, the Negro Leagues, and labor rights

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Home Plate Don’t Move on July 17, 2015:

It seems like George Washington Johnson was never a great ballplayer — maybe a solid, above-average outfielder with a decent bat and quality fielding skills — but in January 1925, he did something that truly caught my attention as I was researching this story on the 1925 Hilldale Club’s Colored World Series championship.

According to the Jan. 10, 1925, Philadelphia Tribune, Johnson issued a statement that, according to the paper, “strikes a new note in an already complicated situation and urges players of the Eastern [Colored] League to organize for the purpose of protecting themselves from exploitation at the hands of owners or managers.”

The article then quoted Johnson thusly:

“It is great to have a winning club. But to have it you must have a bunch of real fighters who can weather a whole season, fight for the lead and hold that lead against all other clubs in the circuit. Such a club Hilldale had last season.”

But, the Trib wrote, Johnson also believed that the 1924 Colored World Series was seriously mismanaged by the powers that be and that, the paper stated, “Johnson declares that in all future series the players should demand the Lion’s share out of the first four games out of seven and that should the series go to nine games the first five out of nine should go to the players.”

Read the full article here: https://homeplatedontmove.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/george-johnson-the-negro-leagues-and-labor-rights/

Originally published: July 17, 2015. Last Updated: July 17, 2015.