Ask a Negro Leaguer

Week of September 7, 2005

Hey Joe: How come white women, even when they ain't desperate, are always so quick to drop their towels for a black man?

T. Owens, the Bahamas

Love cannot be legislated, at least not by God's standard. His Love is unconditional. Thankfully, I enjoyed such Godly creation within my family. Among these are nieces, with white husbands and nephews with white mates, which -- from these bonds -- have brought forth several offspring. At each meeting, I see nothing but in-laws and blood relatives, of which there is no distinction, as previously legislated by man.

America, however, dating back as far as bondage, has separated blacks from whites. Seemingly, the central focus from this division was black males and white females. In this respect, the country has a legacy of lynching black males for allegedly assaulting white females. The most vivid illustration pertains to Emmitt Till, the fourteen-year-old Chicago youth, who was killed in Mississippi while visiting relatives, for allegedly wolf-whistling at a white female. Unless these relationships assimilate the movie Driving Miss Daisy, foul play is suspected. At my family gatherings, I see what America has shunned, which is the true essence of unconditional love.

Hey Joe: There are several Negro League catchers that never get noticed. Josh Gibson is the big attraction solely for his ability to hit. Aside from Gibson, rank the top catchers of the Negro Leagues. I have three: Biz Mackey, Bruce Petway and Louis Santop.

Roger Webb, St. Louis

Regarding Louis Santop, in spite of my intense research I was unable to learn much about him. In addition to the aid of a large, thick, encyclopedia-like book entitled Black Baseball's National Showcase, I solicited help from two former Negro Leaguers, whose knowledge of him was also a bit shallow. They were Gene Smith, a native St. Louisan, and Reggie Howard, a Negro League historian and now a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, who was able to reveal that Santop played with numerous teams from 1906 through 1926 and, at times, served as catcher, outfielder and manager. However, both support your position regarding Josh Gibson, a onetime teammate of Smith. After bringing to memory the names of several catchers, such as Biz Mackey, Bruce Petway, Larry Brown, Pepper Bassett, Frank Duncan, "Double Duty" Radcliffe, Casey Jones and the like, it was decided that Mackey was the best candidate for the second spot behind Gibson.

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