Louis Santop
Louis Santop was one Black baseball's earliest stars.
Throughout the 2024 season, we'll delve into the 100-year anniversary of the first Negro League World Series, featuring the Hilldale club from Darby, PA. Our journey will include a detailed recounting of each of Hilldale's regular-season games, constructing game stories based on historical newspaper reports from that era. Let's start by revisiting the Eastern Colored League opener from April 26, 1924.
Louis Santop delivered a standout performance in Hilldale's Opening Day victory against the Harrisburg Giants, securing the win with a dramatic walk-off two-run homer over the outfield fence at Hilldale Park, ending the game with a score of 6-4. 
Santop, a 35-year-old native of Texas, played a pivotal role batting cleanup for Hilldale. His impressive stat line included the game-winning homer, a pair of doubles, and two intentional walks. Widely celebrated as one of the greatest Negro League catchers, Santop's legacy was further cemented with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. 
Hilldale initially took the lead with three runs in the third inning, but Harrisburg managed to equalize the score in the sixth, setting the stage for a tense matchup. The pivotal moment came in the 12th inning when Biz Mackey led off with a double that narrowly evaded the grasp of Fats Jenkins in left field. 
Darltie Cooper, who had walked Santop intentionally in his previous plate appearances, chose to pitch to him this time—a decision that Santop capitalized on by sending the first pitch soaring into the seats. 
In the eighth inning, Mackey's deep hit to right field appeared to be a home run, but fan interference turned it into a double, disrupting what could have been another scoring play. However, Judy Johnson's subsequent double brought Mackey home, giving Hilldale a crucial lead of 4-3. 
Oscar Charleston's ninth-inning heroics, including a walk, stolen base, and run scored, added to the excitement and tied the game for Harrisburg. 
On the pitching side, Rube Curry started the game but was forced to exit in the third inning due to a shoulder injury sustained during a slide attempt on a sacrifice hit. Nip Winters stepped in and delivered an outstanding relief performance, securing the win for Hilldale with seven strikeouts to his credit. 
Season Record: 1-0 
Up Next: Hilldale will host the Brooklyn Royal Giants in a two-game series starting May 1.

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