Question 17- Who Was I?
I was born in Mobile, Alabama on July 7, 1906 and by the time
I was pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1930's, I was one of the biggest draws in baseball. The first time I pitched in Philadelphia, over 30,000 fans came to see me. I was in such demand that I often pitched every day but only 3 innings, sometimes throwing only 9-10 pitches while striking out the sides. My fastball was like lightning, my curve ball the best and my control was magnificent. Once in an exhibition game, I beat 'Dizzy' Dean 1-0 in 17 innings and after the game Dean said, "I know who's the best pitcher I ever saw, that big colored boy." In another barnstorming game, my All-Stars beat Dean's major league All-Stars, I pitched 6 innings and struck out 16 of the 18 major leaguers I faced. I wasn't allowed to pitch in the majors because of the color of my skin but I can tell you, I once struck out Rogers Hornsby 5 times in-a-row. Finally I made it to the majors at age 42 and went 6-1 for the Indians leading them to the pennant in 1948. I was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
"He threw as far from the bat and as close to the plate as anyone I ever saw.'" - Casey Stengel
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