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The '45 MLB Off-season and the Fictitious Negro League DrafT PT. I

Updated: May 18, 2020

This is an attempt to create the first round of a fictitious draft of Negro League players which would have occurred sometime in the autumn of 1945. All Negro League players that were at least 18 years of age in 1945 were eligible. Eligible players also had to have at least some sort of statistical record at Baseball-Reference or Seamheads as of the end of 1945.

Several factors were taken into consideration when prospective draftees were ranked. For example, age was an important factor. Even back in 1945, baseball executives placed a significant premium on young players. Another factor was the order in which the initial Negro League players were signed by Major League teams after Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier. Reported scouting of Negro players at the time was also taken into consideration.

For the most part, only what the player had done up until the end of the 1945 baseball season was taken into consideration in order to recreate the amount of information major league teams would have had to have based their decisions on when drafting. In other words, 20/20 hindsight was virtually eliminated. For some players, their Negro League stats up and including 1945 have been converted to Major League Equivalent (MLE) statistics. The source for those numbers was The Hall of Miller and Eric (HOME) blog/website. The link is provided below. The individuals writing for the website have done a tremendous amount of work translating Negro League player statistics to major league equivalent numbers. How they arrived at their MLE’s is detailed in the link. Spending some time on the site is truly worth it. It is an excellent source of information not only for Negro League player data but for general Hall of Fame discussions as well.

Sources for the actual Negro League player statistics and career accomplishments were in large part Baseball-Reference, specifically its Bullpen Wiki Page and Seamheads. Other sources are listed at the end of the article.

The draft order was based on team won/lost records with the team having the worst won/loss record in 1945 drafting first. The actual selection of players by major league teams was based mainly on team philosophies at the time, team needs and stated club intentions made by team executives.

For the purpose of this exercise, the big assumption being made is that major league teams then had no issues with race. This of course was not the case; however, for this exercise that assumption was obviously necessary. The goal here was to create a draft based on the actual historical facts of the 1945 major league offseason. Based on those facts, the attempt has been made to assign a Negro League player to a team that would have been the best fit for that team’s situation as of the conclusion of the 1945 season.

The draft has been split into two parts: selections one through eight is in Part I and presented below. Selections nine through sixteen will be presented in Part II.

1945 Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 46-108

Runs Scored: 7th (548)

Runs Allowed: 8th (864)

Strengths: None

Weaknesses: Starting pitching, infield, outfield

Key Players: None

Pipeline: OF Del Ennis (signed ’43), MI Granny Hamner (signed in ’44), OF Richie Ashburn (singed in ’45)

The 1945 Phillies lost 108 games making that year the Phillies' seventh 100 loss season in its last ten. The Phillies hadn’t had a winning season since 1932. In the winter of 1943, the Phillies hired former pitching great Herb Pennock as their new general manager. Prior to being hired by the Phillies, Pennock had been serving as head of the Boston Red Sox farm system.

Phillies GM Herb Pennock in His Playing Days

Soon after accepting the Phillies’ job Pennock announced to the press the type of players the Phillies would be pursuing with him at the helm: “we want big, rangy fellows who pack a punch when it is needed and are no powder puffs at the plate….if they are little fellows we want them with speed and plenty of power.” In terms of pitchers Pennock was after “big raw-boned players who can zip that apple across the plate…I don’t care if their curve is only a wrinkle and their control isn’t exactly needle eye (1).”

After a 92 loss season in ’44, Pennock sought to improve the club via trade acquisitions and signings. In March of ’45 Pennock signed catcher Gus Mancuso. The 39 year-old Mancuso had been released by the Giants after the ’44 season. In June of 1945, Pennock had approached the St. Louis Cardinals about purchasing third baseman Whitey Kurowski and the reigning NL MVP, shortstop Marty Marion. Pennock offered the Cardinals $250,000 for the pair (2). Reports were that Pennock was trying to make up for the losses of first baseman Tony Lupien and his power hitting right fielder Ron Northey, both of whom were lost in ‘45 due to military duty (3). Lupien eventually returned to the Phillies in September of ’45. That winter the Phillies along with several other clubs were also rumored to be in talks with the Cardinals about catcher Walker Cooper (4). Cooper was eventually sold to the Giants in early ’46 for $175,000.

Shortly after his offer(s) being rejected by the Cardinals, Pennock declared that the Phillies would remain aggressive in their pursuit of players. “We won’t quibble about a few thousand dollars one way or the other,” Pennock announced to the press in July of ’45. “We have the money; if anybody wants to sell I guarantee the Phillies will top the best offer (5).”

First Baseman Frank McCormick

True to his word, Pennock opened up the Phillies’ wallet during the 1945 baseball winter meetings and doled out a combined $60,000 for first baseman Frank McCormick ($30,000), shortstop Lamar “Skeeter” Newsome ($15,000) and pitcher Johnny Humphries. The $30,000 the Phillies dished out to the Cincinnati Reds for McCormick was the largest figure they had paid for a player to date (6). The 35 year-old McCormick still had some pop in his bat but was regarded more as a defensive asset than a power bat. Pennock was familiar with Newsome given the shortstop’s five years with the Red Sox, three of which were during Pennock’s tenure in Boston. Prior to the winter meetings Pennock had also acquired left fielder Lou Novikoff in the Rule V draft. Novikoff was one of only nine players selected in the Rule V draft that year. In January of ’46 Pennock purchased another Red Sox, third baseman Jim Tabor. Clearly Pennock and the Phillies were seeking players who could provide immediate help to the franchise.

Jackie Robinson with the KC Monarchs

By finishing with the worst record in baseball the Phillies would have the first pick in a Negro League player draft. The top two Negro League players/prospects at the time were clearly: Jackie Robinson (ss) and Roy Campanella (catcher) given that Robinson was the first Negro League player ever signed and that the Dodgers had made overtures about signing Campanella only days after signing Robinson (7). According to the Seamheads Negro League data base the 26 year-old Robinson hit .365 with three homers and a slugging percentage of .577 in ‘45.

Roy Campanella with Newark

Seamheads though rated Roy Campanella as the top Negro League hitter in 1945. Campanella who was three years younger than Robinson, hit .375 and slugged .542 with five home runs, second only to Josh Gibson’s seven round trippers. Of note, Campanella’s reported 55 games played were about double the amount of the 27 games listed for Robinson. Campanella’s major league equivalent (MLE) numbers as of the end of 1945, Campanella’s age 23 season, are as follows: 1,130 PA, 6.4 WAA, 10.3 rWAR which are very similar to Thurmon Munson’s 1,140 PA/5.9 WAA/9.9 r WAR. Munson though achieved those numbers thru his age 24 season.

Campanella began his baseball career at the age of 15. He spent his first three years in the Negro Leagues as back-up to Hall of Fame catcher Biz Mackey with the Baltimore Elite Giants. By the age of 23 Campanella had already been a four time Negro League All-Star and was voted game MVP in his last East West All-Star Game appearance.

The Phillies were faced with a choice: draft the star shortstop Jackie Robinson or the City of Philadelphia’s own Roy Campanella who was almost three years younger than Robinson and a more experienced ball player. Given Pennock’s preference for power, Campanella’s youth and his being born and raised in Philadelphia, the stocky catcher would seem like an ideal pick for the Phillies. Moreover, Pennock and the Phillies had pursued 30 year-old Cardinals catcher Walker Cooper that winter despite the Phils having sophomore catcher Andy Semenick on their roster. The six foot one, 205 pound Campanella definitely fit the type of player Pennock announced he would be pursuing when he was first hired by the Phillies. Therefore it isn’t at all a stretch to think that the Phillies would have drafted Roy Campanella first overall in a 1945 Negro League draft.

1945 Philadelphia Athletics

Record: 52-98

Runs Scored: 8th (494)

Runs Allowed: 7th (638)

Strengths: Relief pitching (1st in WAA)

Weaknesses: Catcher, middle infield, corner outfield

Key Players: 3B George Kell, SP Russ Christopher

Pipeline: 2B Nellie Fox (signed in ’44)

Following the ’45 season it could be argued that the Philadelphia Athletics as a franchise were in even worse shape than the Phillies. 1945 had been the Athletics’ 12th consecutive losing season. During that run the Athletics had lost at least 90 games in a season ten times which included three 100 loss seasons. Unlike the Phillies, the Athletics were not willing to spend money to acquire talent. They were still being run by Owner/GM/Manager Connie Mack who was entering his 51st season as manager of the A’s.

Aside from youngsters George Kell and a 17 year-old Nellie Fox, the Athletics had nothing on the way in terms of young players that could help the club. With Roy Campanella coming off the board who almost assuredly would have been selected by the Athletics given Campanella being born in Philadelphia and playing catcher, the position Mack played during his days as a major league player, the Athletics most likely would have went with the default option with the second overall pick: shortstop Jackie Robinson.

The selection of Robinson would have eventually given the A’s a nice infield consisting of Nellie Fox at second who was about two years away from making the big club, George Kell at third and the electric Robinson at short.

1945 Cincinnati Reds

Record: 61-93

Runs Scored: 8th (536)

Runs Allowed: 4th (694)

Strengths: None

Weaknesses: Outfield, Infield

Key Players: Bucky Walters

Pipeline: Pitcher Ewell Blackwell (signed in ’41), Pitcher Joe Nuxhall (’44), Ted Kluszewski (’46), Wally Post (’46).

After an 89 win season in 1944 the Reds crashed and burned in 1945 by losing 93 games. The 1945 Reds offense scored just 37 less runs in ’45 than they did in ’44 but allowed a staggering 158 more runs. Reds GM Warren Giles chalked up the difference in runs allowed to an “epidemic of sore arms (8).” Despite the Reds ’45 pitching woes, Giles stated that one of his “chief aims” going into the 1946 season was to acquire “another left-handed bat or two in the outfield (9).”

Giles began cleaning house shortly after the ’45 season ended. He sold the aforementioned Frank McCormick to the Phillies and released second baseman Woody Williams as well as third baseman Steve Mesner. He also released right fielder Gee Walker. Giles let it be known that he was “willing to sell any ball player the Reds have if such a deal will help the club” with a few exceptions (10).

Clearly the Reds were in rebuild mode. That winter Giles signed three notable prospects: 21 year-old first baseman Ted Kluszewski, 23 year-old Grady Hatton and 16 year-old Wally Post. Kluszewski debuted for the Reds in ’47. Hatton won the starting third base job in ’46. A then 19 year-old Post was called up late in 1949. Back in the 40’s the Reds didn’t have a problem calling up their youngsters. In 1944 fifteen year-old Joe Nuxhall was called upon to pitch in a game in June versus the St. Louis Cardinals due to a pitching shortage.

So youth was what the Reds were after in 1945. With Campanella and Robinson off the board the next tier of young Negro League star players included: Monte Irvin, Larry Doby and Sam Jethroe.

Irvin was born on February 25, 1919 which meant the upcoming 1946 season would have been his age 27 season. Irvin’s Negro League career began in 1938 at the age of nineteen. There is just one recorded game for Irvin in 1938 playing for the Newark Eagles. As a 20 year-old in ’39 the right-handed Irvin hit .365 which was fourth best in the Negro National League (NNL) finishing just behind legendary first baseman Buck Leonard and just ahead of future Hall of Fame shortstop Willie Wells. He followed up his 1939 season by hitting .383 and finishing second in hitting to first baseman and Newark teammate Lennie Pearson. In ’41 Irvin hit for a .382 batting average. In 1942 Irvin played mainly in the Mexican League where he torched Mexican pitching by hitting .397/.502/.772 with 74 runs scored, 17 doubles, 6 triples and 20 home runs in just 63 games. By the end of 1945 Irvin was finishing up his stint in the military; he had been serving since 1943.

Monte Irvin with Newark

Irvin was a tremendous athlete. In high school he excelled in baseball, football, basketball and track. In fact, Irvin was a one-time New Jersey state record holder for javelin throwing. Negro League superstar Cool Papa Bell's assessment of Irvin:

“Most of the black ballplayers thought Monte Irvin should have been the first black in the major leagues. Monte was our best young ballplayer at the time. He could hit that long ball, he had a great arm, he could field, he could run. Yes, he could do everything (11).”

Irvin’s major league equivalent (MLE) numbers up until the fall of 1942 which was Irvin’s last full season prior to entering the Army were: 1,890 PA, 17.7 rWAR, 11.2 WAA. For context, the players most comparable to Monte Irvin in baseball history at that age by MLE standards are Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts:

Irvin: 1,890 PA, 17.7 rWAR, 11.2 WAA

Bellinger: 1,841 PA, 17.4 rWAR, 11.6 WAA

Betts: 1,597 PA, 17.9 rWAR, 12.6 WAA

Larry Doby was just 22 years old in 1945. Doby’s career began in 1942 also with the Newark Eagles. As an 18 year-old second baseman Doby hit .309 with Newark in ’42. In ’43 he hit .301 with four home runs in 28 games recorded. Doby was also a tremendous athlete having played both baseball and basketball. Doby had played basketball at Long Island University and then at Virginia Union College. In fact Doby was the first black player to play in the American Basketball League in 1943. Doby missed the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to military service. Doby was due to be discharged from the Navy in January of 1946.

Newark Eagles' Larry Doby

There isn’t much in the way of actual statistics for Doby to come up with comparable players. His MLE numbers up until late 1945 were: 230 PA, 1.80 rWAR, 1.10 WAA. In 1945 Doby was an exceptional athlete but a very raw baseball player with a lot of potential.

Sam Jethroe’s actual date of birth was in question in 1945. Jethroe is listed as being born January 23, 1917; however, Jethroe at times gave several years of birth ranging from 1918 to 1922 (12). Jethroe didn’t have Irvin’s or Doby’s power but he was incredibly fast. According to Wendell Smith, columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier, Jethroe was an “outstanding outfielder, great speed, a good hitter. He wasn’t a power hitter. He was more of a slap hitter (13).” In fact it was Smith that suggested Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams as the players for the Red Sox to work out in April of ’45. Smith even sponsored the trip (14).

From 1942 thru 1945 Jethroe played for the Cincinnati/Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League (NAL) so some Reds fans may have been familiar with Jethroe at the time. As a Buckeye he hit .318 and slugged .477. In 1944 Jethroe won the NAL batting title by hitting .353 and was selected to play in the 1944 Negro League's East/West All-Star Game. In ’45 Jethroe hit a remarkable .393 to win his second consecutive NAL batting title.

Sam Jethroe while with the Cleveland Buckeyes

Jethroe’s MLE numbers thru 1945 are as follows: 2,340 PA, 16.9 rWAR, 8.6 WAA. Going by Jethroe’s actual date of birth which is listed as January 23, 1917, Jethroe achieved those numbers at the age of 28, just several months short of his 29th birthday. A fairly good comparable to Jethroe would be Reggie Sanders but with a little less power. Below are Jethroe’s MLE numbers and Sanders’ MLB numbers thru their age 28 seasons:

Jethroe: 2,340 PA, 16.9 rWAR, 8.6 WAA

Sanders: 2,389 PA, 17.1 rWAR, 9.9 WAA

So the Reds could go with a great all-around player in Monte Irvin whose player comps are tremendous, the raw but extremely talented and younger Larry Doby or the extremely fast, switch-hitting Sam Jethroe who had already been worked out by the Red Sox and was a known commodity in the state of Ohio. Given the Reds commitment to a youth movement, his tremendous potential and left-handed bat, Larry Doby has been assigned to the Reds with the third overall pick.

1945 Boston Braves

Record: 67-85

Runs Scored: 5th (785)

Runs Allowed: 7th (727)

Strengths: outfield, right field

Weaknesses: pitching

Key Players: Tommy Holmes

Pipeline: Warren Spahn (signed ’40), Johnny Sain (signed ’42)

The Boston Braves’ 1945 season began with a shake-up at the executive level. In February of 1945, President J.A. Robert Quinn who had been running the Braves since 1936 stepped down. Quinn felt it was best that the presidency “should be held by some deeply interested stockholder (15).” Braves new owner Louis Perini replaced Quinn as Braves President. Taking over Quinn’s general managerial duties was John Quinn, son of J.A. Robert. “I place his judgement second to no man in baseball (16)” is what Quinn said of his son once his replacement was named. J.A Robert Quinn remained with the Braves until the end of 1945 to assist with the Braves farm system. Prior to his time with the Braves, Quinn had been president of the Boston Red Sox from 1924 to 1932.

Braves' Outfielder Tommy Holmes

The Braves finished 65-89 in ’45. The Braves were next to last in runs allowed. Their two best pitching prospects Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain had been lost to the military. Both had missed the last three major league baseball seasons. The ’45 Braves finished a respectable fifth in runs scored with 721. The league average was 689. The main cog in the Braves offense in ‘45 was right fielder Tommy Holmes. Holmes led the NL in hits (224), doubles (47), homeruns (28), total bases (367), slugging (.577) and OPS (.997). Incredibly he struck out only nine times all year. Holmes finished second in NL MVP voting to Chicago Cub Phil Cavarretta.

In November of 1945 the Braves lured St. Louis Cardinals manager Billy Southworth with an offer to manage the Braves for a reported $30,000 per year for three years making Southworth the highest paid manager in the NL (16). Southworth had previous ties to the Boston Braves organization, having spent three years in Boston as an outfielder from 1921 thru to 1923.

The Braves off-season in 1945 resembled that of the Phillies. Like the Phillies the Braves were in pursuit of talent and were willing to spend money to acquire it just as they had done in order to secure the services of perhaps the best manager in the NL at the time- Billy Southworth. In fact, again like the Phillies, the Braves had been in on the Walker Cooper talks with the Cardinals. A deal for Cooper fell through though when the Cardinals demanded Braves catcher Phil Masi in the deal in addition to $150,000 (17). Masi was entering his age 30 season in ’46. He had hit .272 with 7 HRs and a 112 OPS+ in 1945. Masi would later be named to three consecutive NL All-Star teams in 1946, ’47 and ’48.

The collapse of the Cooper deal did not dissuade the Braves from continuing to attempt to make a trade with the Cardinals. As late as March of ’46, the Braves were in talks to acquire Cardinal shortstop Marty Marion and third baseman Whitey Kurowski. Both players had been reportedly involved in trade talks between the Cardinals and the Phillies going back to the summer of ’45. According to Boston Globe columnist Roger Birtwell, the Cardinals were hesitant to trade both Marion and Kurowski to one team for fear that the deal would strengthen a competitor too much:

“The best they (Braves) can hope for is to get one of them. For Breadon (Cardinals GM) won’t sell both either to the Giants or to the Braves. Baseball men believe Breadon feels he can peddle a few more top-notch players and still cross up the rest of the league by winning the National League pennant. Breadon wants to take in cash without strengthening any rival sufficiently to make it a serious pennant contender (18).”

Outfielder/First Baseman Johnny Hopp

The Braves’ dealings with the Cardinals weren’t entirely for not. Boston had agreed to a deal with the Cardinals in February of 1946 when they sent second baseman Eddie Joost and $40,000 to the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder/first baseman Johnny Hopp. “Hopp will play center field for the Braves,” said Southworth once the trade was announced. Of course Southworth was very familiar with Hopp given that he had managed him the previous six seasons in St. Louis. “I certainly have seen a lot of him and am delighted to get him. He’s a consistent hitter and fielder and a truly great competitor. He’s fast too,” is how Southworth described the Braves’ newest acquisition (19).”

So to review, the Braves 1945 offseason included: the Braves having signed perhaps the best manager in the NL to the highest paying contract ever for a manager at the time, a search to acquire impactful major league talent via trade or cash and the successful acquisition of a new center fielder in Johnny Hopp despite having the 3.7 rWAR achieving Carden Gillenwater in center the year prior.

Given the Braves off-season activity above, the logical choice for the Braves in ’45 would have been to draft center fielder Monte Irvin to patrol the Braves’ outfield. Irvin had only played a handful of baseball games since ’43 due to military duty; however, it didn’t look as though he had missed a beat when he returned. Irvin was 4 for 8 in exhibition games versus white major leaguers and simply destroyed Peurto Rican league pitching that winter hitting .368 and leading his team, the San Juan Sendores to the title. Irvin though did not believe he was the same player after the war. Below is how Monte Irvin described his return to baseball in 1945:

“I got home on September 1, 1945. In October, I started playing right field for the Newark Eagles. I had been a .400 hitter before the war. I became a .300 hitter after the war. I had lost three prime years. I hadn’t played at all. The war had changed me mentally and physically (20).”

1945 Boston Red Sox

Record: 71-83

Runs Scored: 4th (599)

Runs Allowed: 8th (674)

Strengths: Willams, Doerr, Pesky, DiMaggio all returning from war in ‘46

Weaknesses: Starting pitching, first base, third base.

Key Players: Williams, Doerr, Pesky, DiMaggio, Dave Ferris, Tex Hughson

Pipeline: Mel Parnell (signed ’41); Mickey McDermott (signed in ’44)

Despite losing 83 games and finishing seventh in the AL in '45, ahead of only the lowly Philadelphia Athletics, there were still plenty of high expectations placed on the Red Sox heading into the 1946 season. The headline in the March 19th 1946 Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass) read: “Red Sox Must Beat Yankees This Season or Give it All Up as Bad Job (21).”

The Big Bats of Boston

The Red Sox had reason for optimism in ‘46. Returning from military duty were: Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and pitchers Tex Hughson and Mickey Harris. Moreover, the Red Sox had acquired Tigers’ first baseman Rudy York from the defending World Series Champions in early January of ‘46 in exchange for shortstop Eddie Lake. The Red Sox were no longer in need of Lake’s services given the pending return of Johnny Pesky. The addition of York left the Red Sox with one last gaping hole in the line-up, that being third base. The Red Sox had mainly used Jackie Tobin (Jim Tobin’s older brother) at third base in '45. Tobin slugged an anemic .288 that year. With the pending return of many big league pitchers from military service in ’46, Tobin just wasn’t going to cut it for the Red Sox in the upcoming season.

The Red Sox had employed Jim Tabor at third base in ’44. He hit .285 with a very respectable 122 OPS+. However in October of ’44 Tabor was called for military duty and missed the entire 1945 season. As previously mentioned, the Red Sox sold Tabor to the Phillies in January of ’46 for approximately $25,000. Why would the Red Sox sell a veteran third baseman who hit .285 in ’44 without having a reliable back-up on the roster? According to Tabor, Red Sox GM Eddie Collins was still upset at Tabor over a bonus dispute. Tabor felt the Red Sox owed him a $1,500 bonus after the 1944 season. Instead Collins offered Tabor $200. Reports at the time indicated that Tabor had responded angrily to the offer which soured the relationship between him and Collins/Red Sox (22).

The media was reporting that the Red Sox were interested in Indians third baseman Ken Keltner who had also missed the entire 1945 season due to military service. The Indians were having difficulties re-signing Keltner. “It’s the first time I’ve had trouble signing Keltner. I offered him the salary he got in 1944 but he wants more (23),” a frustrated Roger Peckinpaugh stated to the media in March of ’46. The former MVP Award winning shortstop Peckinpaugh was the Vice-President of the Cleveland Indians at the time. Apparently the Indians had asked for Red Sox center fielder Dom DiMaggio in exchange for Keltner (24). Peckinpaugh confirmed that the Indians were seeking a “hard hitting outfielder” in exchange for Keltner (25). The Red Sox had offered the Indians George Metkovich (26). Metkovich would eventually be purchased by the Indians just prior to the beginning of the 1947 season.

Surprisingly, unlike their Boston counterpart the Braves, the Red Sox did not appear to be involved in discussions with the Cardinals regarding Whitey Kurowski. Failing to acquire an impact veteran third baseman, the Red Sox slated Ernie Andres as their opening day third baseman. Andres was a 28 year-old rookie. He had missed the last several seasons due to time spent in the Navy. Andres, a dual sport star, was also committed to a basketball career. Andres actually ended up being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Looking at potential third basemen that may have been of interest to the Red Sox via a Negro League draft, Hank Thompson and Parnell Woods fit the bill. Hank “Machine Gun” Thompson began his career in 1943 at the age of 17 with the Kansas City Monarchs. According to Seamheads, in the 40 games reported, Thompson hit .315 and slugged .415. His OPS+ was 152. Thompson served in the military in 1944 and 1945 as a machine gunner (hence the nickname) and fought in the Battle of the Bulge (26). Thompson could play third, second, shortstop and even the outfield. The left-handed Thompson had both above average power and speed and was a patient hitter. At the age of 21, Thompson ultimately debuted with the St. Louis Browns just two weeks after Larry Doby appeared in a Cleveland Indians uniform in ‘47.

Hank Thompson

Parnell Woods never made it to the majors but he was one of the players Elwood Parsons named as a Negro League player that could also contribute to a big league roster if given the opportunity. At the time Parsons identified a handful of Negro league players he felt could also play in the majors soon after Jackie Robinson had signed with Brooklyn. Parsons at the time was a promoter of Negro League baseball. He eventually became a scout for the Dodgers. Apparently Parsons was ahead of his time with respect to evaluating Woods. Once Robinson had broken in with the Dodgers in 1947, “Woods became a hot commodity for major league scouts (27).”

Third Baseman Parnell Woods with the Buckeyes

Woods was a relatively small third baseman (five foot nine). He had a below average throwing arm but he had some pop in his bat. In total he played in four East/West Negro League All-Star Games. In ’45 at the age of 33, Woods hit .335 and stole 16 bases. Unfortunately Woods’ MLE numbers are not available.

Besides the lack of production at third base, the Red Sox' other weakness in 1945 was starting pitching. Their negative 7.1 wins above average (WAA) total in ’45 was dead last in the AL. However the Red Sox were optimistic about their pitching heading into 1946. Returning to the Red Sox from the military were Tex Hughson, Mickey Harris and Joe Dobson. Combined that trio would win 50 games for the Bosox in ’46. The Red Sox did make a move after the ’45 season to shore up their pitching. Boston traded for former Red Sox Jim Bagby that December. Bagby had been traded by the Red Sox five years earlier to the Indians. At that time Bagby was happy to be leaving Boston. “I will be able to play much better baseball under different management. I like the trade (28)” is what Bagby had said when he was originally dealt to the Indians.

At the time of the Bagby deal the Red Sox were also rumored to be interested in Washington Senators outfielder George Case and Athletics center fielder Sam Chapman (29). Case ended up being traded by the Senators to the Indians for Jeff Heath the next day.

So the Red Sox had traded for starting pitcher Jim Bagby and according to two different sources were seeking another outfielder which means the Red Sox, if there had been a Negro League draft in ‘45 could have selected outfielder Sam Jethroe who is still on the board. Of course Jethroe had tried out for the Sox in April of ’45. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin was impressed with Robinson and had shown an “interest” in second baseman Marvin Williams (30) but there aren’t any concrete reports as to what Cronin thought of Jethroe.

To sum up, the Red Sox could draft 19 year-old utility infielder Hank Thompson who could be possibly ready for big league action sometime in ‘46 and fill the hole at third base or go with the 28 year-old (most likely 28 year-old) Sam Jethroe since they were in the market for an outfielder. Jethroe could easily be inserted in right field to complete the outfield of Williams, DiMaggio and Jethroe. Given the expectations on the Red Sox in ’46 and their familiarity with Jethroe, Boston selecting Jethroe with the fifth pick of the Negro league draft was certainly a possibility.

1945 Chicago White Sox

Record: 71-78

Runs Scored: 6th (596)

Runs Allowed: 6th (633)

Strengths: Catcher, third base, right field

Weaknesses: Starting pitching, relief pitching, first base, second base

Key Players: Tony Cuccinello, Wally Moses, Eddie Lopat

Pipeline: Nothing

On October 4 1945, Leslie O’Connor was named general manager of the Chicago White Sox effective December 15, replacing long-time White Sox Vice President Harry Grabiner who had been with the organization for 40 years. Grabiner resigned at the end of the ’45 season for health reasons (31). Previously, O’Connor had been serving as Commissioner Landis’ secretary since 1921. O’Connor had temporarily succeeded Landis as commissioner after Landis’ death the previous winter until a replacement was appointed.

Soon after his hiring O’Connor announced his priorities for the White Sox, one of which was to build the farm system; ironic given that O’Connor’s former boss, Commissioner Landis, detested farm systems. “We’re going to build up a farm system to develop our own players,” Connors declared to the media on the date he officially took over the White Sox general managerial duties (32).

Tony Cuccinello

At that time the White Sox had next to nothing in the way of young impact players. In fact, their three top players in terms of rWAR in ‘45 were: 34 year-old Wally Moses, 38 year-old Thornton Lee and 37 year-old Tony Cuccinello. Cuccinello had been a reserve infielder the previous two seasons. However in ’45 he actually finished second in batting with a .308 batting average, losing out on the AL batting title to Yankee Snuffy Stirnweiss by just .001 points.

Regardless of Cuccinello’s production in 1945, the White Sox released the veteran infielder in January of 1946. The White Sox also released regulars Johnny Dickshot and LeRoy Schalk. The 35 year-old Dickshot appeared in 130 games as an outfielder for the White Sox in ’45. Prior to the ’44 season, Dickshot had not appeared in the majors since 1939. Similarly LeRoy Schalk, whose major league experience amounted to just three games with the Yankees way back in 1932, was called upon by the White Sox to be their starting second baseman in ’44 and ’45. Schalk was 36 years of age in 1945. Such was life for some major league ball clubs during the war years.

With many of the regular major leaguers returning from the war in time for the 1946 season, many older players such as Cuccinello, Dickshot and Schalk lost their jobs prior to the beginning of ‘46. Those out of the majors once the ’45 season concluded also included former veteran star players such as first baseman Dolph Camilli who was released by the Red Sox in December ’45 and pitcher Paul Derringer who was released by the Cubs in January ’46. Derringer had won 15 games for the NL champion Cubs in ’45.

During the off-season in 1945, the White Sox did attempt to acquire some immediate help. O’Connor checked in with the Indians about acquiring Cleveland outfielder and general headache Jeff Heath. “We’ll talk with them (Cleveland) again next week if Heath remains available,” is what O’Connor told the media during baseball’s winter meetings (33).

Despite playing footsie with the Indians about a trade involving the veteran Heath, it was clear that O’Connor wanted to concentrate on obtaining young players, specifically pitchers in the winter of ‘45. Indeed O’Connor signed six amateur free agent pitchers prior to the 1946 season. Pitchers Mike Blyzka (17 years-old), Jim Hughes (22 years-old), Tom Hurd (21 years-old), Howie Judson (20 years-old) John Perkovich (22 years-old) and Dick Strahs (19 years-old) were all signed with the hopes of one day bolstering White Sox pitching.

Hot Shot Pitching Star George Zoeterman

O’Connor’s preference for young pitching was evident during his short tenure with the White Sox. In fact on one occasion, O’Connor’s pursuit of young pitching talent got both O’Connor and the White Sox organization in hot water with the commissioner’s office. In September of 1947 O’Connor was embroiled in a bitter disagreement with Commissioner Chandler over a rule that forbade clubs from signing high school players. That autumn O’Connor authorized White Sox scout Emmet “Red” Ormsby to sign high school pitching star George Zoeterman for $2,000. The commissioner’s office though argued that the signing of Zoeterman violated baseball rules which meant that the Zoeterman contract must be nullified. The White Sox were also fined $500 as a result (34). Moreover, if O’Connor refused to nullify the contract and pay the $500 fine the White Sox would be “enjoined from participating in any baseball activities (35).”

However, given O’Connor’s 20+ years of experience working for Commissioner Landis, O’Connor was more than familiar with baseball rules regarding signing amateur players. O’Connor argued that it was Commissioner Chandler who was violating the rules. O’Connor’s position was that Zoeterman’s school, Chicago Christian High School, was “not a member of the National Federation of high schools and thereby not affected by the baseball rule prohibiting the signing of federation players who are still in school (36).” Clearly O’Connor thought he had found a loophole.

Not so fast argued the commissioner’s office. According to Walter Mulbry, assistant to Commissioner Chandler:

“At least two bulletins have gone from the commissioner’s office stating specifically that the application of the high school rule has been broadened to include high school players. All clubs understood that, including Mr. O’Connor, he being a stickler for technicality (37).”

What Mulbry was referring to was an amendment to the high school rule which was issued in March of 1947 by the commissioner’s office which it considered as binding. O’Connor disagreed arguing that the “commissioner is not empowered to deviate from the rules as written (38).” O’Connor was prepared to go to federal court to restrain Chandler from enforcing the fine and suspending the White Sox from participating in baseball activities.

Ultimately however, O’Connor and the White Sox capitulated and gave up their claim to Zoeterman. As a result, the White Sox were barred from signing the pitcher. Zoeterman ended up signing with the Chicago Cubs in February of 1948. O’Connor resigned as White Sox GM that October.

Given O’Connor’s acquisitions during his brief history with the White Sox, it is more than likely that O’Connor would be seeking a pitcher in a Negro League draft and a young one at that. Two possibilities for the White Sox were Dan Bankhead and Don Newcombe.

Dan Bankhead was 25 years of age in 1945. He had missed most of the last three years of baseball due to his service in the military. Bankhead’s first year in baseball was in 1940. The then 20 year-old Bankhead pitched for the Birmingham Black Barons of the NAL. The following year Bankhead was selected to pitch for the Western All-Stars in the annual Negro League East/West All-Star game. That game was played at Comiskey Stadium; paid attendance was in excess of 40,000.

Pitcher Dan Bankhead

Aside from Bankhead, the 1941 West All-Stars also had pitchers Ted Radcliffe, Hilton Smith, Preacher Henry and of course Satchel Paige on their roster. The East featured youngsters Roy Campanella and Monte Irvin as well as Negro League superstar Buck Leonard. Bankhead hurled two scoreless innings allowing just one hit and one walk.

That year Bankhead was beginning to draw comparisons to the legendary Satchell Paige. According to the Birmingham News, “Bankhead has already been selected to succeed Satchel Paige as the foremost pitcher in all Negro baseball (39).” Bankhead did not have Paige’s impeccable control but he did possess Paige like heat. In fact in 1947 the Press and Sun Bulletin (New York) declared Bankhead’s fastball as “the fastest fastball in organized baseball (40).”

Bankhead’s 1942 season was interrupted in mid-year due to the war. He was officially inducted into the Army on October 10, 1942. Bankhead did pitch occasionally during his stint in the military. For example during a leave in 1944, Bankhead pitched for the Barons at Yankee Stadium versus the New York Black Yankees. Bankhead dominated the Yankees by firing a three-hitter and striking out 14 including six consecutive strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings. “Despite the rigors of Army life, Bankhead appeared to be the speediest hurler to appear in the stadium in several seasons (41)” is how Pittsburgh Courier columnist Haskell Cole described Bankhead after witnessing the game. Unfortunately we do not have MLE numbers for Bankhead.

By the end of 1945 and the beginning of 1946, Bankhead was still enlisted in the Marines but given the end of the war, Bankhead was soon to be released of his military duties which eventually occurred in June of 1946 (42). Bankhead was certainly a pitcher any team could use in ‘46 and by most accounts, very quickly.

Pitcher Don Newcombe

Don Newcombe was only 19 years of age in the autumn of 1945. He began his baseball career in 1944 at the age of 18 pitching for the Newark Eagles, teaming with Larry Doby. Newcombe’s reported combined numbers for ’44 and ’45 were: 5 wins and 6 losses, 109 innings pitched and a 2.96 ERA. Newcombe struck out 57 batters and walked 46. His MLE numbers at the end of ’45 were 1.70 WAA and 3.3 rWAR. For context, those numbers are similar to Wally Bunker’s (1.80 WAA, 3.40 rWAR) and Larry Dierker’s (1.60 WAA, 3.3 rWAR) at the age of 19. Wally Bunker at one time shared the AL rookie record for wins with 19. Dierker became the Astros' first 20 game winner at the age of 22.

Like Bunker, Newcombe had some control issues very early in his career but he did possess a very good fastball thanks to his size. As a teenager Newcombe stood 6 foot 4 and weighed 220 pounds. “Big Don Newcombe a 220-pounder who lends all his weight to each pitch and thereby displays impressive speed (43)” is how Newcombe was described in July of 1945 by the Evening News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). In April of ’46 when Bob Finch, assistant to Branch Rickey, was asked by the media, “What’s Newcombe got on the ball?” Finch answered by saying “Everything. Speed, fine curves and a change of pace (44).”

In October of 1945 Newcombe was selected to Effa Manley’s (co-owner of the Newark Eagles) Negro All-Star team along with Roy Campanella to face a National League All-Star team consisting of Frank McCormick, Whitey Kurowski, Johnny Barrett, Jimmy Russell and Buddy Kerr. The Negro Leaguers lost both games by one run. The young Newcombe allowed two runs in seven innings pitched (45).

The White Sox had a decision to make: go with the established fire-baller Dan Bankhead who some have placed in a category along with the great Satchel Paige or the big teenage Negro League All-Star, Don Newcombe, who has displayed a world of potential at a very young age. Given the White Sox’ commitment to rebuilding their farm system and a preference for young arms, the White Sox select Don Newcombe.

1945 Cleveland Indians

Record: 73-72

Runs Scored: 7th (557)

Runs Allowed: 1st (548)

Strengths: starting pitching, shortstop, left field

Weaknesses: third base, first base

Key Players: Bob Feller, Steve Gromek, Lou Boudreau, Dutch Meyer

Pipeline: Gene Woodling (signed in ’40), Mike Garcia (signed in ’42), Al Rosen (signed in ’42), Ray Boone (signed in ’42), Bob Lemon (signed in ’38)

Indians player/manager Lou Boudreau

In 1945 the Cleveland Indians finished one game over .500 with a record of 73 wins and 72 losses thanks in large part to 19 game-winner Steve Gromek, left fielder Jeff Heath and shortstop and player/manager Lou Boudreau. Boudreau was named Indians manager in November of 1941. The then 24 year-old Boudreau replaced Roger Peckinpaugh who had been promoted to Vice President and GM after the ’41 season had concluded. New York Giants’ Bill Terry had also been in the running for the Indians’ front office job. Since being replaced by Mel Ott as Giants’ manager at the end of ’41, Terry had been in the Giants front office serving as general manager of the farm system and scouting staff.

Terry was also rumored to be in the running for the soon to be vacant Indians managerial job along with Dodgers coach Charley Dressen and San Francisco Seals manager Frank (Lefty) O’Doul when at the time news stories were being circulated that Peckinpaugh may be moved into the Indians’ front office (46). Peckinpaugh though ultimately settled on Boudreau as Indians manager despite Boudreau’s age and lack of experience. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Peckinpaugh wasn’t concerned with Boudreau’s age and the role of player/manager given the fact that Peckinpaugh had temporarily managed the Yankees as a player in 1914 at the age of 23.

By the autumn of 1945, under Peckinpaugh’s direction, the Indians had acquired future young infielders Al Rosen and Ray Boone as well as pitcher Mike Garcia. The Indians also had infielder/outfielder Bob Lemon and outfielder Gene Woodling in their system.

At the time though, Boudreau had no way of knowing how well those players would develop and the significant contributions they would go on to make for the Indians (excluding Woodling) several years later. Boudreau expressed the uncertainty of assessing young players in an interview in 1945:

“We have some great-looking prospects (returning from the military) but you don’t mention prospects in the same breath with such fellows as the DiMaggios, Williams, Doerr, Gordon and Wakefield. A dozen or more of the rookies looked just about ready for big league jobs when they went to war. In three or four years, they may develop into real stars or they may have discovered they’re not baseball players after all. We have no way of telling until we try them (47).”

Given the uncertainty of young players, Boudreau concluded that the Indians’ focus in ’45 should be acquiring even more youth and improving the farm system. “The competition for the kids coming out of the armed forces will be terrific (48),” Boudreau speculated in November of ’45. He continued, “To get our share, we’ll have to increase our farm connections and the number of scouts. The clubs which show the best judgment in picking their raw material during the next couple of seasons are the clubs which will fight for the pennant for the next 10 years (49).” At the time Boudreau believed his Indians were still two years away from becoming a “pennant threat (50).”

An immediate priority for the Indians once the 1945 season had concluded was ridding themselves of two headache players: left fielder Jeff Heath and pitcher Jim Bagby. “Peck and Manager Boudreau will continue their efforts to peddle Jeff Heath, Ray Mack and Jim Bagby which will bring a fair return in players or cash (51)” is what was reported in the Dayton Herald in December of ’45. Heath and Bagby in particular were the players Boudreau wanted gone. In fact both players were involved in a heated disagreement that almost became a physical altercation between the two had it not been for Boudreau stepping in and breaking up the potential fight back in ’42 (52). In the case of Jeff Heath, Boudreau issued a warning to GM Peckinpaugh: “If you don’t trade him, he’ll sit out the season on the bench (53).”

Jim Bagby though was the first to go. He was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for left-handed pitcher Vic Johnson and approximately $5,000 (54). Trading Heath proved to be more difficult. The Indians lacked leverage in trade negotiations involving Heath given that Heath had publicly declared that he would not be playing for the Indians in 1946 (55). Heath’s ongoing knee issues didn’t help either.

For Heath the Indians were requesting a power bat in return. The Indians discussed trading Heath to the Athletics for outfielder Sam Chapman but were turned down (56). After similar talks with the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns regarding a Jeff Heath trade broke down, the Indians were finally able to deal Heath to the Washington Senators for the light-hitting but speedy outfielder George Case (57).

However, despite receiving a major league caliber outfielder in return for Heath, Boudreau was still concerned about his outfield heading into the 1946 season:

“Our biggest problem will be the outfield. George Case is the only certain starter, in left field. The other two positions are open. Let’s see we have Ted Sceokowski, Gene Woodling, Pat Seerey, Hank Edwards, Bob Lemon, Felix Mackiewicz, Ed Carnett, Clarence Campbell and Buster Mills as candidates for the other two places. Well, it’s going to be a fight, that’s all I can say (58).”

Indians' Third Baseman Ken Keltner

The Indians attempted to address their outfield problem when Ken Keltner, having been discharged from the Army in March of ’46 unexpectedly held out for a raise in pay. The Indians had offered Keltner the same $14,000 contract he had prior to his leaving for military duty but Keltner declined. Keltner’s holdout came approximately two months after the Indians had signed their ace Bob Feller to a $50,000 contract which made the future Hall of Famer the highest paid pitcher at the time.

After entertaining offers from the Senators and Tigers for Keltner and offering the third baseman to the Red Sox in exchange for Dom DiMaggio, who wasn’t exactly the “hard hitting outfielder” Peckinpaugh had desired, the Indians were able to sign Keltner prior to the opening of the ‘46 season (60).

Boudreau had been prepared to open the season with Bob Lemon at third base. “He’s fast. He’s a good hitter and he will settle down in the field. He’ll stick with the team no matter what he plays (61),” is how Boudreau described Lemon’s status in the spring of ’46. General Manager Peckinpaugh added “Every team in the league is interested in him (62).” Lemon ended up as the opening day center fielder for the Indians in 1946.

With the Indians slated to pick seventh in the Negro League Draft, the two players still on the board that Cleveland could have considered are Hank aka Henry Thompson and Dan Bankhead. Thompson would have fit several needs for the Indians. First and foremost, Thompson was a young player/prospect which is the type of player Boudreau wanted the Indians to focus on in 1945. Thompson was just turning 20 years old in December of 1945 though he was still in the military at the time. He was also a power-bat, a skill the Indians were in search of that winter. As previously mentioned Thompson played multiple positions: second base, third base, shortstop and right field.

Drafting Thompson would have added yet another exciting youngster to the Indians’ system. With the war ending Thompson may have even been able to help the Indians later in the summer of ’46. Thompson was eventually discharged from the military in June of that year. After his discharge in ’46 Thompson rejoined the Kansas City Monarchs and socked three home runs in 140 PA. He also hit three doubles and four triples and slugged .452 in 33 games, again at only 20 years of age.

Thompson was selected as one of Paige’s All-Stars to play against Bob Feller’s barnstorming team in the autumn of 1946. Thompson led off and played second base for the Paige All-Stars. According to Thompson’s SABR biography, “In Feller’s opinion, Thompson, the youngest player on the Negro League squad, was also the best (63).”

Dan Bankhead was also on that Paige All-Star team. Bankhead was well established by 1945 and as previously mentioned was being compared to Satchell Paige. Do the Indians go with the young hard-hitting prospect with loads of potential in Thompson or the established hurler Dan Bankhead, who could quite possibly become a perennial All-Star and could provide immediate help? Given the Indians philosophy at the time as per manager Lou Boudreau, the Indians selecting Hank Thompson with the seventh pick was certainly plausible.

1945 New York Giants

Record: 78-74

Runs Scored: 6th (668)

Runs Allowed: 5th (700)

Strengths: Catcher, right field

Weaknesses: left field, center field

Key Players: Mel Ott, Ernie Lombardi, Sal Maglie

Pipeline: Bobby Thomson, Wally Lockman, Billy Gardner

After two consecutive losing seasons in ’43 and ’44 the Giants rebounded in ’45 by posting a 78-74 record, good for fifth place in the National League but 19 games behind the NL champion Cubs. New York's fifth place finish was good enough for Giants' president Horace Stoneham to extend manager Mel Ott with a new five year deal in September of 1945. Ott had been named player/manager after the 1941 season, replacing nine year manager and Giant great Bill Terry. “Mel Ott’s my manager as long as I live (64),” was what Stoneham had said numerous times in the past. In 1945 Stoneham meant what he said.

The extension meant that Ott was definitely returning as Giants’ manager; however, Ott returning as the Giants’ right fielder was another matter. Ott still managed to produce an OPS+ of 151 in 135 games in ’45, despite him dealing with an ailing knee throughout the season. However because of lingering knee issues Ott had yet to commit to playing in ’46.

With the ending of the war in sight, the Giants had a slew of players due back in 1946 from military service including: first baseman Johnny Mize, outfielders Sid Gordon and Willard Marshall, first baseman/outfielder Babe Young, second baseman Bill Blatner and shortstop Billy Rigney. The talent coming back to the Giants in time for the 1946 season meant that Stoneham and Ott had some flexibility when it came to potential trades (65).

In early December and just prior to the winter meetings, Giants president Stoneham claimed the Giants were seeking a catcher and two pitchers. Later that month, reports were that the Giants were pursuing the speedy 23 year-old Washington Senator corner outfielder Gil Coan (66). Stoneham offered Senators’ owner Clark Griffith $75,000 for Coan but was rejected (67). The Cubs were also reportedly in on Coan.

Catcher Walker Cooper

In early January, rumors persisted that the Giants had offered $200,000 for Cardinals catcher Walker Cooper and a “left-handed pitcher (68).” Most in the media speculated that the lefty pitcher the Giants were after was 29 year-old Max Lanier. Stoneham ended up making good on acquiring a catcher when he purchased Walker Cooper from the Cardinals for a reported $175,000. As previously mentioned both the Phillies and Braves were in on Cooper; however, both teams wanted the purchase to be “contingent upon Cooper’s release from the Navy before the 1946 baseball season (69).” The Giants though did not make such a demand and ended up with the three-time All-Star catcher. To quote an elated Stoneham on the Cooper purchase: “I’m sure Cooper will help our pitching staff and be a steadying influence on our club (70).” Stoneham though envisioned that pitching staff with Max Lanier being a part of it.

The Giants continued to pursue a purchase of Lanier for the next few weeks. One report had Stoneham offering $100,000 for Lanier but was turned down by the Cardinals. The Cardinals thru Eddie Dyer did let it be known that Lanier wasn’t available. The new Cardinals manager, Dyer, who was taking over for Billy Southworth in ’46, stated that the Cardinals had no intention of selling Lanier. The same went for pitchers Harry Breechen, Howie Pollett, Johnny Beazley and George Munger. The rest of the Cardinals pitching staff were available. “If the price is right, we are willing to deal with any of the others (71)” is what Dyer told the media in early February 1946.

As stated earlier, the Cardinals were very careful in ensuring they did not sell players to contending teams that could eventually upend them in 1946 which the Giants were more than capable of doing. Perhaps though the Cardinals sensed desperation on the part of the Giants and were holding out for much more. Mel Ott was certainly not coy about his wanting another pitcher for ‘46, “I am anxious to land a pitcher” the Giants manager said to the media, “That’s what we need more than anything else (72).” Stoneham had also made similar statements: “We are mainly interested in pitchers, left-handers or right-handers (73).”

It’s clear the Giants wanted a pitcher heading into 1946 and one that could make an immediate impact. Clearly the number one pitcher on the board, Dan Bankhead, fits the bill. Bankhead, who was still in the military at the end of 1945 wasn’t assured of being released from military duty in time for the opening of the 1946 season. However, that wasn’t a concern for the Giants when it came to Walker Cooper whom they had no qualms over shelling out $175,000 for the veteran catcher. Drafting Bankhead would cost the Giants next to nothing and would have given them a potential impact arm for the ’46 season.

The 25 year-old Bankhead also fit into Stoneham’s philosophy when it came to scouting/pursuing Negro League players. Stoneham in October of 1945: “We won’t concentrate on the top (Negro) leagues- practically all the stars there are much older than (Jackie) Robinson. We will look for young prospects (74).”

With that being said, the Giants draft right-handed pitcher Dan Bankhead with the eight pick.

Draft Results:

PHN- Roy Campanella, catcher

PHA- Jackie Robinson, shortstop

CIN- Larry Doby, second base

BSN- Monte Irvin, outfielder

BOS- Sam Jethroe, outfielder

CWS- Don Newcombe, right-handed pitcher

CLE- Hank Thompson, utility infielder

NYG- Dan Bankhead, right-handed pitcher










Plain Speaker (Hazelton, Penn): December 22, 1943 (1)

York Daily Record (York, Penn): June 5, 1945 (2)

Tribune (Scranton, Penn): June 30, 1945 (3)

Berkshire Eagle: December 14, 1945 (4)

Daily News (Lebanon, Penn): July 26, 1945 (5)

Philadelphia Inquirer: December 11, 1945 (6)

Brooklyn Eagle: November 3, 1945 (7)

Dayton Herald: September 10, 1945 (8, 9)

Journal Herald: December 11, 1945 (10)

SABR Biography: Monte Irvin (11, 20)

SABR Biography: Sam Jethroe (12)

Eddie Collins: A Baseball Biography (13)

Boston Globe: April 16, 1945 (14)

Boston Globe: February 15, 1945 (15)

Berkshire County Eagle: November 7, 1945 (16)

Berkshire Eagle: January 8, 1946 (17)

Boston Globe: March 13, 1946 (18, 19)

Berkshire Eagle: March 19, 1946 (21)

Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware): March 20, 1946 (22)

Boston Globe: August 14, 1946 (23)

Morning News: March 25, 1946 (24)

Montana Standard: (25, 59)

SABR Biography: Hank Thompson (26, 63)

Black Barons of Birmingham: The South’s Greatest Negro League Team and Its Players (27)

Boston Globe: December 13, 1945 (28)

Berkshire Eagle December 13, 1945 (29)

Pittsburgh Courier: April 28, 1945 (30)

Dispatch: October 4, 1945 (31)

Decatur Daily Review: December 15, 1945 (32)

Chicago Tribune: December 8, 1945 (33)

Dispatch (Moline, Illinois): October 30, 1947 (35, 36)

Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois): October 31, 1947 (37)

Chicago Tribune: November 4, 1947 (38)

Birmingham News: September 18, 1941 (39)

Press and Sun Bulletin: August 27, 1947 (40)

Pittsburgh Courier: June 10, 1944 (41)

SABR Biography: Dan Bankhead (42)

Evening News (Harrisburg, Penn): July 6, 1945 (43)

Brooklyn Eagle: April 5, 1946 (44)

Daily News (New York): October 8, 1945 (45)

Journal Herald (Dayton, Ohio): October 28, 1941 (46)

Sandusky Register: November 7, 1945 (47)

Daily News: November 8, 1945 (48, 49, 50)

Dayton Herald: December 8, 1945 (51)

SABR Biography: Jeff Heath (52)

Pittsburgh Press: December 6, 1945 (53)

Akron Beacon Journal: December 12, 1945 (54, 55)

Dayton Herald: December 7, 1945 (56)

Harford Courant: December 15, 1945 (57)

Dayton Herald: June 18, 1945 (58)

Boston Globe: March 25, 1946 (60)

Dayton Herald: March 26, 1946 (61, 62)

St. Louis Star and Times: September 28, 1945 (64)

Brooklyn Daily Eagle: September 28, 1945 (65)

Boston Globe: December 27, 1945 (66, 67)

Star Gazette (Elmira, New York): January 4, 1946 (68)

Star Gazette: January 7, 1946 (69)

Daily News Sun (New York, New York): January 6, 1946 (70)

Daily News: February 1, 1946 (71, 72)

Press and Sun Bulletin: January 18, 1946 (73)

Los Angeles Times: October 24, 1975 (74)

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