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Piggy Sands

“He was a wonderful athlete. He could rebound all day for you and make his 25 or 30 points. In baseball he could play any position.”
-- Gerald Curtin, Sing Sing’s Director of Recreation


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Negro Leaguer of the Month

March, 2011
Sam “Piggy” Sands
Position: catcher, shortstop
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1 ", Weight: 200 lb.
Born: July 22, 1918 in Miami, FL
Died: July, 1978
Career: 1950-54
Teams: Indianapolis Clowns, Memphis Red Sox, Kansas City Monarchs, Jackie Robinson All-Stars

Sam “Piggy” Sands didn’t play in the Negro Leagues until its waning days when he was over 30, but it wasn’t for a lack of talent—Piggy was in the pen.

Piggy, a strapping 200-pounder, spent his prime athletic years in Sing Sing as an inmate where he dominated the in-house prison baseball and basketball teams.
According to his prison coach, Sands was the greatest hitter in the history of Sing Sing, and was the second base hitter to ever play at Sing Sing; Babe Ruth once played an exhibition at the famous jail.

According to a Sports Illustrated article, Sands was in Sing Sing for 12 years, would have been a top pro baseball player at almost any position, and could have played college basketball with any team in the country.

In an exhibition against a team led by former Major Leaguer pitcher Sam Nahem, lifetime 10-8 with the Dodgers, Phillies and Cardinals, Sands blasted two homers, one over the watchtower, almost 500 feet from home.

After his release from prison, Sands still had enough left in his tank to play several years in the Negro Leagues with the Indianapolis Clowns, Memphis Red Sox and Kansas City Monarchs; Sands started as a shortstop in the Negro Leagues, but eventually became a full-time catcher.

Sands usually batted in the heart of the order, and hit many tape-measure homers in his brief stint in the Negro Leagues.

Sands played in the 1953 East-West Game representing the Indianapolis Clowns and went 0 for 3.

 

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