Philadelphia Baseball Review: Recreating the 1933 East-West Negro All-Star Game

Philadelphia Stars Negro Baseball Team
We've never seen a moment like this where there's so much uncertainty, be it in our daily lives, our health, the economy, or the world of sport. Given the circumstances, we all need to find outlets to draw our minds away from this dreadful news cycle.

Thursday would have been Opening Day with the Phillies beginning a series in Miami with the Marlins.

The stoppage of baseball activities across the region is a significant setback for the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Rightly so at this point, niche-based sports news Websites aren't in demand. The pageviews, subscriber lists, and advertisers that are vital to many small news sites have dropped considerably.

Aware of the climate surrounding sports news coverage and a void of events to write about, many outlets are getting creative in what they publish. The Philadelphia Baseball Review will follow in the same path and will publish articles for the foreseeable future related to various aspects of baseball in Philadelphia. Some of these articles may pertain to historical games, simulations, or what-if scenarios. We'll do our best to mix things up and publish unique content that, hopefully, readers find worthy as a diversion in a time of crisis.

Today's piece pertains to the recreation of the first Negro League East-West All-Star Game in 1933. We worked with our friends at Strat-O-Matic and simulated the contest using the actual starting lineups and pitching matchup.

The East-West contest was black baseball's answer to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Invented by Pittsburgh Crawfords owner Gus Greenlee, the East-West game was played primarily at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Fans voted for starting lineups by completing ballots published by the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier newspapers.

In a twenty-year run, spanning from 1933 until 1953, the Philadelphia Stars (the lone Negro team in Philadelphia at the time) had 46 players compete in the East-West All-Star Game. In 1933, the Stars were represented by four players in outfielder Rap Dixon, shortstop Dick Lundy, catcher Biz Mackey, and third baseman Jud Wilson.

About Philly's All-Stars in 1933
Rap Dixon was an outstanding player, though he didn't hang with any team long enough to be truly recognized in his day. He hit better than .300 in eight seasons and spent just one season with the Stars in 1933. According to Seamheads, the Detroit native hit .360 in 1933 while posting an OPS of .991 in 30 games. He led the club with three homers and was tied for the club lead with 23 RBIs.

Biz Mackey is a Hall of Famer and widely considered to be one of the top catchers in Negro League history. He was 35-years-old in 1933 and hit .260 for the Stars while driving in 14 runs over 26 games. All told, Mackey spent three seasons with the Stars but built his ties to the Philly region with nine seasons earlier in his career with Hilldale.

Jud Wilson was 37-years-old in 1933, yet he still put up outstanding numbers hitting .376 with a pair of homers and 23 RBIs in 26 games for the Stars. Though stats from the Negro Leagues remain questionable, Wilson played until he was 49-years-old and spent seven seasons in Philly where he combined to hit .336 with 28 homers and 215 RBIs over 295 games played.

Dick Lundy spent just one season with the Stars and hit .238 with one homer and 17 RBIs over 29 games. He spent three seasons earlier in his career playing for Hilldale where he hit a combined .353 with an OPS+ of 179.

Actual Game Story
Nearly 20,000 fans packed into Comiskey Park to witness the West club cracking 15 hits en route to an 11-7 victory. Mule Suttles carried the West with a double and a homer while driving in three. Steel Arm Davis chipped in with a pair of RBIs in the winning effort.

On the mound, Willie Foster twirled a complete game for the West, surrendering seven runs (though three were earned) while scattering seven hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Sam Streeter took the loss for the East, giving up six runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.

The East carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fourth, but a three-run frame highlighted by a two-run blast by Suttles gave the West the lead and ultimately the victory.

Philly Highlights:
Wilson: 2-for-3, one run, 3 RBIs
Lundy: 0-for-3
Mackey: 1-for-3
Dixon: 1-for-4, two runs scored, one RBI

Simulation Game Story
Totally unlike the actual contest, the East took down the West behind Streeter tossing six shutout innings with three strikeouts en route to a 6-0 victory.

Biz Mackey doubled in the fourth to drive in Oscar Charleston, then Dick Lundy laced a double to the left-center gap to score Mackey later in the frame.

Lundy later started a four-run rally in the seventh with a double and a run scored.

The West collected just six hits on the afternoon.

Philly Highlights:
Wilson: 0-for-3
Lundy: 2-for-4, RBI, run scored
Mackey: 1-for-3, RBI, run scored
Dixon: 1-for-5
__________________________________
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

No comments: