View Single Post
03-09-2013, 10:14 AM
Snubbed Again
chaosrevolver's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ontario
Country: Canada
Posts: 15,797
vCash: 500

The Basics
Nickname: The Black Ty Cobb
Position: Center Field
Jersey Number: 40
Years of Service: 1915-1941
Teams He Played For: Indianapolis ABCs, New York Lincoln Stars, Bowser's ABCs, Chicago American Giants, St. Louis Giants, Harrisburg Giants, Hilldale Daisies, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Toledo Crawfords, Indianapolis Crawfords, Philadelphia Stars

Career NLL Statistics

Games Played: 516
At Bats: 1920
Runs: 458
Hits: 683
Doubles: 113
Triples: 54
Batting Average: .356
Homeruns: 69
Runs Batted In: 434
Stolen Bases: 112
Walks: 226
Slugging Percentage: .579

League Combined Statistics

Games Played: 1101
At Bats: 4105
Runs: 1000
Hits: 1452
Doubles: 244
Triples: 103
Batting Average: .354
Homeruns: 157
Runs Batted In: 804
Stolen Bases: 245
Walks: 530
Slugging Percentage: .578


Inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame (1976)
In Exhibition Games against all-white Major League Teams: 53 GP, .318 BA, 11 HR
In 1916, won the Black World Series with the Chicago ABC's
In 1930, Charleston won the Championship as a member of the famous Homestead Grays
In 1935, Charleston as a player-manager would lead his team to a Championship
In 1915, Charleston led the league in triples, was second in doubles and third in stolen bases
In 1918, led the league in Batting Average (.425)
In 1921, led the NNL in Batting Average (.426), Triples (10), Homeruns (14) and Stolen Bases (28)
In 1923, Charleston finished fourth in Batting Average (.364), third in Slugging Percentage (.591), third in On Base Percentage (.453), fourth in homeruns (11) and second in RBI's (94)
In 1925, led the ECL in Batting Average (.445)
From 1933 to 1935, Charleston appeared in three East-West All-Star games
Among the top-5 in Negro Leagues for Homeruns and Batting Average
All-Time Negro League leader in Stolen Bases
Ranked #67 on Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players
Ranked as the fourth greatest player of all-time by Bill James

Records Held

Negro League's All-time leader in Stolen Bases

Leading the League

AVG: 1918, 1921, 1925
2B: 1921
3B: 1915, 1921
HR: 1921
SB: 1921

What Do the Experts Say?

Originally Posted by ESPN: The Greatness of Oscar Charleston
Who was Oscar Charleston? There's a good chance you've never read about him, either. After all, he played a long time ago and never played in the major leagues. But Oscar Charleston might be the greatest ballplayer who ever lived. He was Willie Mays before Willie Mays.

In fact, when Mays reached the majors at the age of 20 in 1951, old-timers compared his all-around abilities to those of Charleston. What kind of pressure did that place on Mays?

The physical comparison to those three makes sense. Like Ruth, Charleston had a big barrel chest and spindly legs, and he hit left-handed with big power. But he ran the bases like Cobb, full of speed, ferocity and spikes. He played center field like Speaker (who was regarded as the best fly chaser before Mays), playing shallow behind second base but with the instinct to make plays over his head.

Unfortunately, we don't have film of Charleston playing. We have few photographs. We don't have the image of him running down a deep fly at the Polo Grounds, making a spectacular catch with his back to home plate and his hat flying off. We must rely on the memories and anecdotes of people who saw Charleston play from his debut in the Negro Leagues in 1915 to his retirement in 1941.

Wouldn't you love to see Charleston? Highlights of old athletes and games often are disappointing. If you've seen action of Bob Cousy, the great Boston Celtics point guard of the 1950s, you're left wondering, "That's it?" You see Cousy dribbling right-handed all the time -- even when he drove to his left. The game just doesn't compare to modern basketball. It's a letdown. Something tells me we wouldn't be disappointed if footage of Charleston existed.

Of course, a question persists: Why did Paige become so famous -- or Gibson or Bell -- and not the guy who might have been the best of them all? (Not that either Gibson or Paige was a slouch; James ranks them ninth and 17th, respectively, on his all-time list.)

Some of it was simple timing. Charleston's career began earlier, and while he later was a teammate and manager of Paige and Gibson on the famous Pittsburgh Crawfords, his peak years came in the 1920s. In the 1930s, white major leaguers like Dizzy Dean and Bob Feller played black all-star teams in offseason barnstorming tours. Long after the major leagues were integrated, those guys told stories of Paige's fastball and Gibson's power.

Charleston, meanwhile, was known for his legendary temper and fights with other players, umpires, owners and, if you believe the stories, Ku Klux Klansmen. His career ended, and while he stayed in the game as a manager in the Negro Leagues, his legacy seemed to drift away. He died young, in 1954 at age 57 from a heart attack. No movies were made about him. Paige (1971) and then Buck Leonard and Gibson (both 1972) became the first Negro Leagues players enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Charleston made it a few years later (1976).
Originally Posted by BR Bullpen
Oscar Charleston is considered by many Negro Leagues experts to have been the greatest ballplayer of the Negro Leagues. Bill James ranked him as fourth-greatest player of all time in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. He was primarily a center fielder in the early part of his career, switching to left field and then to first base as he aged. He is among the top five Negro Leaguers in batting average and home runs, as well as the all-time leader in stolen bases.

Charleston was famous for his temper, his fearlessness, and his fights with opposing players, umpires, police, and even armed soldiers. According to legend, Charletson ripped the hood off a Klansman who had confronted him. Despite (or perhaps because of) his aggressiveness, he was one of the most popular figures in the Negro Leagues throughout his playing and managing career.
Originally Posted by NLBPA
Oscar Charleston was a true superstar of the Negro Leagues. He was a cross between the hitting ability of Ty Cobb and, at 6-foot, 190 pounds, the body of Babe Ruth.

For a player of his size with his tremendous power, Charleston was also a skilled base runner and a threat to steal bases. Writers dubbed Charleston as “The Black Ty Cobb.” Those who played with him insist that Charleston was far superior defensively than Cobb and possessed far more power than the Georgia Peach.

With his tremendous speed, Charleston could play shallow centerfield and still have the ability to run down long drives. Many compared his style of defense to that of Tris Speaker.

“Charleston could hit that ball a mile,” Dizzy Dean said. “He didn’t have a weakness. When he came up, we just threw it and hoped like hell he wouldn’t get a hold of one and send it out of the park.”

Charleston had a legendary temper and became famous for his many fights with other players, umpires, owners and scouts. According to legend, Charletson ripped the hood off a Klansman and dared him to speak.

His career as a player and manager spanned 40 years. Available statistics show Charleston batted .353 in his career. He played in 53 exhibition games against white major league players and hit .318 with 11 home runs.

As a manager, he was tough and demanding and very protective of his rookie players.
Originally Posted by Baseball Hall of Fame
A multi-talented star, Oscar Charleston was renowned by those who saw him play as the finest all-around player in Negro league history. A barrel-chested, left-handed hitter, the fiery Charleston hit for both average and power while revolutionizing defensive play in center field. His blazing speed, aggressiveness on the basepaths and focused intensity led many to compare him to Ty Cobb. In 60 league games in 1921, he batted .434 while leading the Negro National League in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases.
Originally Posted by Hall of Fame Plaque
Rated among all-time greats of Negro Leagues, versatile star batted well over .300 most years. Speed, strong arm and fielding instincts made him standout center fielder. Later moved to first base. Also managed several teams during 40 years in Negro Baseball.
Originally Posted by Buck O'Neil
Oscar Charleston is Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Tris Speaker rolled into one.
Originally Posted by Dave Malarcher
Some people asked me, 'Why are you playing so close to the right-field foul line?' What they didn't know was that Charleston covered all three fields, and my responsibility was to make sure of balls down the line and those in foul territory.
Originally Posted by Bill James
In "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract," James quotes many baseball people as saying Charleston was as good as any player they ever saw. James ranks Charleston as the fourth-best player of all time. That's not just the Negro Leagues; that's fourth-best ever -- behind only Ruth, Honus Wagner and Mays. James writes, "I don't think I'm a soft touch or easily persuaded; I believe I'm fairly skeptical. I just don't see any reason not to believe this man was as good as anybody who ever played the game."
Originally Posted by Dizzy Dean
Charleston could hit that ball a mile. He didn't have a weakness. When he came up, we just threw it and hoped like hell he wouldn’t get a hold of one and send it out of the park.
Originally Posted by Buck O'Neil
The best Major League Baseball player I've ever saw was Willie Mays, but the best baseball player was Oscar Charleston. Oscar could hit you 50 home runs, could steal 100 bases. This was Oscar Charleston. We old-timers say, "The closest thing to Oscar Charleston was Willie Mays."

chaosrevolver is online now   Reply With Quote