RSS

Category Archives: black history

Don Baylor

Don Edward Baylor was a major league baseball player. He was born in Austin in 1949 to George E. Baylor and Lillian Joyce Brown Baylor, and was one of at least three siblings. His father George had served in the United States Army and then been employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad out of Austin. Don was at the least a fourth generation Texan with his father, grandfather Carey and great grandfather Amsted all having been born in Texas.

He grew up in the old Clarksville section of Austin and graduated from Austin High School where he played football and baseball and was the first African American to play sports at the school. He declined an athletic scholarship to University of Texas at Austin and enrolled at Blinn College, then known as Blinn Junior College, in Brenham, Texas but was drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles.

Baylor played the better part of three seasons in Baltimore’s minor league system and fairly quickly advanced from the Rookie League through A, AA and AAA levels before making his debut in the major league club in 1970. Baylor went on to play 19 seasons in the majors for Baltimore, Oakland, California, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Minnesota before retiring after the 1988 season. In the major leagues he was known as a durable power hitter, appearing in 2,292 games in which he had 2,135 hits in 8,198 at bats. He also logged 338 home runs while having a .260 lifetime batting average. He was a big man and was known for standing close to the plate. As a result he was hit by pitch (hbp) some 267 times, which still ranks fourth on the all time hbp list. In the field, he played first base and left field and later was a designated hitter.

Following his retirement as an active player, he stayed in baseball for the rest of his career as a coach and manager. His managerial record was 627 wins against 689 losses in 1,316 games (1993-2002) in six seasons with the Colorado Rockies and three seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He was named National League Manager of the Year for his role in leading the Rockies to a 77-67 record. They finished second in the National League West losing to Atlanta in four games in the division series.

Image credit: Findagrave.com

In 2003, Baylor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He was serving as hitting coach for the Anaheim Angels in early April, 2014 when he squatted down to receive Vladimir Guerrero’s ceremonial first pitch. He could not get up after the catch, but some thought he might be joking. It was determined that he had broken his right femur, requiring that a plate and screws be inserted in the leg. He was 64 years old at the time and had been in remission from the disease.

Don Edward Baylor passed away in August of 2017 and is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. He has not yet been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although during his career he was among the league leaders in numerous categories. He has been inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame.

© 2021, all rights reserved.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 21, 2021 in biography, black history

 

Tags: , , , ,

Arthur “Dooley” Wilson

Arthur Wilson was born in Tyler, Smith County, Texas. There is some question about his actual date of birth, but it is often shown as being April 3, 1886 with his mother’s maiden name being Lamkin and his father’s name being Wilson. In some accounts he is shown as being younger, but in the 1900 federal census, he is listed as being fifteen, living south of downtown Tyler with his mother Manda Wilson and brother George. Accounts of his early life often state that by age twelve, Arthur was performing in minstrel shows and that his nickname was adopted in the 1920s from his performances singing an Irish tune “Mr. Dooley.”

Read the rest of this entry »
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2020 in biography, black history, entertainers, films

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Jules Bledsoe

Famed baritone vocalist Julius Lorenzo Cobb Bledsoe was born December 29, 1887 in Waco, McLennan County, Texas to Henry Lee Devalt Bledsoe and Jessie Cobb Bledsoe.  His father died when he was still an infant and by the time he was about two and a half years old, he and his mother were living with her parents, the Cobbs, near downtown Waco.  His grandfather Stephen Cobb has been mentioned as a founder of Waco’s historic congregation, New Hope Baptist Church.  It was at New Hope where young Julius had sung solos by the time he was five years old.  In 1914, Bledsoe graduated as valedictorian of Central Texas Academy, founded by African American Baptists in 1901 in Waco.  From there, Julius went on to enroll at Temple College in Waco before transferring to Bishop College in Marshall, Texas where he earned his A B degree.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 6, 2020 in biography, black history, entertainers

 

Tags: , , ,

Black Seminoles of Texas

The account of the Black Seminoles in Texas begins in Florida.  Slavery had been abolished in Spanish Florida since the late 1600s and the area became a refuge for freed as well as fugitive slaves.  Though some were taken as slaves by the Native tribes that resided there, those of African descent are generally believed to have interacted peacefully with the native tribes, with some amount of intermarriage and more significantly, the adoption of the tribal ways and customs.  The people known as Seminoles are sometimes referred to as being a conglomeration of a number of tribes living in the area, including the Creek Tribe, although the Creek Tribe is also usually referred to separately.  Tribes included the Lower Creeks, Mikusukis and Apalachicola, among others and they are believed to have migrated there from the areas now represented by the states of Georgia and Alabama.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2020 in black history, medal of honor

 

Tags: , , ,

Bass Reeves, Lawman

Bass Reeves was a groundbreaking lawman in the West.  Most people who know his name would be aware that he was born a slave and became a respected law officer mostly in the area that became Oklahoma, long before it became a state.

Reeves was born into slavery in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas on the property of former Arkansas state legislator, William Steele Reeves.  His last name was that of the owner William Reeves and his first name is believed to have been in honor of a grandfather by the name of Bass Washington.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2019 in biography, black history

 

Tags: , , ,