Willie Mays of the 1948

Birmingham Black Barons

    I was asked to research whether Willie Mays
ever played here in Cleveland against the Cleveland
Buckeyes.  I found out that he did.
    Willie played for the 1948 Birmingham Black
Barons. The Black Barons and the Buckeyes were both
in the Negro American League. Willie had previously
played for a Negro minor league team, the Chattanooga
     On July 11, 1948, the Black Barons played a
double-header at League Park here in Cleveland.
As you can see from the box score, Willie pinch hit
in the first game for Jim Zapp who had
gone 0 for 3. Willie bounced into a double play,
second baseman Bill Reynolds to first baseman,
Archie Ware.

   In Jim Zapp's biography on the
Negro League Museum's eMuseum, it 
states that there was a second game
of a double-header when he was given a
rest.  It could have been on this date
as Zapp was taken out at the end of
the first game and could have been
replaced by Mays in left field in the
second game.  Mays had just been signed
a week before.
   In the book, "Willie's Boys" by John
Klima, it is stated that Chet Brewer,
Buckeyes pitcher, hit Willie with a
pitch when he faced him here.
    It doesn't appear that it occured
during this double-header.  The teams
did play some games against each other
barnstorming around the area and it
might have occurred then.

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