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Andrew "Pullman" Porter

“The West was helpless against the pitching of burly Bob Griffith, Philadelphia righthander who started on the mound for the East. Andy Porter, Indianapolis Clowns, was just as effective as Griffith, giving up nary a hit. ” 
--- Chicago Defender newspaper, reporting on the '49 East-West Game at Comiskey Park


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Porter (right) with the Eston Ramblers
of the North Saskatchewan League

(The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix from attheplate.com)

Click here for a great site about black players in Canada, http://attheplate.com.

Negro Leaguer of the Month

December, 2008

Andy "Pullman" Porter

Born: March 7, 1911 in Little Rock, Arkansas
Ht:6'-4", Wt: 190
Batted and threw right
Position: pitcher
Playing Years: 1932-53
Teams: Louisville Black Caps, Cleveland Cubs, Nashville Elite Giants, Baltimore Elite Giants, Newark Eagles, Indianapolis Clowns, Mexico, Winnipeg Buffaloes, Carman Cardinals, Indianhead Rockets, Eston Ramblers, North Battleford Beavers, Porterville Comets (Minor Leagues)

Pullman Porter is one of the oldest surviving Negro League players, and one of the few survivors of the East-West All-Star games during the Negro League's heyday, having been chosen for the '34 and '49 games.

Porter grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and first played professionally with the Louisville Black Caps in 1932. Later that season, Porter jumped to the Cleveland Cubs which featured Satchel Paige for a few weeks.

Later that fall, Porter jumped to the Elite Giants, then based in Nashville, and stayed with the team for much of the next decade as it moved to Washington, then to Baltimore.

Porter, a polite man on and off the field, was a tall right-hander with a hopping fastball, and was usually among league leaders in strikeouts and walks.

With the Elite Giants, Porter anchored some great staffs, joining such greats as Ernest Burke, Jonas Gaines and Bill Byrd.

In 1934, Porter received the fourth most votes of any pitcher for the East-West All-Star game, being bested only by Willie Foster, Chet Brewer and Ted Trent. However, Porter didn't appear in the game as Foster, Brewer and Trent each pitched three innings in a 1-0 loss to the West (Satchel Paige pitched four innings and won the game), and he had to wait 15 years to play in the classic.

In 1936, Porter pitched in a series against a Major League All-Star team, winning one and losing one with a 3.00 ERA. His win came in relief of Satchel Paige, and was highlighted by getting out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Hall of Famers Johnny Mize and Rogers Hornsby. In his loss, Porter struck out eight men in four innings, but lost on an unearned run (the only loss the Negro Leaguers suffered in the series).

Some of Porter's best seasons were in Mexico. In 1939, Porter pitched with the Tampico Lightermen and led the league with 111 strikeouts, went 10-7 and had an ERA of 2.28. In the winter of '39-'40, Porter played in Cuba and went 3-4 for Santa Clara.

In 1940 Porter was back in Mexico, this time with the Nuevo Laredo Owls and led the league with 27 complete games, had 21 wins, a 3.34 ERA, and led the league in strikeouts with 232 in 296 innings, and walks with 125.

Back in Cuba that winter, Porter went 6-5 for the Alemendares Blues, then with the '41 Mexico City Red Devils he went 11-16 with 133 K's and 116 walks in 235 innings. Porter went 5-8 with the Veracruz Blues in '42, and after starting out slowly in 1943, Porter came back to the United States and joined the Elite Giants again.

In 1948, Porter jumped to the Indianapolis Clowns, joining a wonderful staff that included "Fireball" Jim Cohen, Ted Richardson, Leander Tugerson, and Raul Galata.

From 1950-1953, Porter played north of the border with several teams in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, pitching at about a .500 clip, and occasionally showing some decent hitting. In '53, Porter pitched for the Carman (Manitoba) Cardinals of the Manitoba-Dakota League, who were managed by Chet Brewer, who still took his turn on the mound.

In 1952, at age 41, Porter had his only taste of the Minors when he was signed by the Porterville (California) Comets of the Southwest International League, the first all-black team in Organized Baseball. Porter went 3-5 with a 4.27 ERA and the Comets were led by player-manager Chet Brewer, the second year in a row he had played for Brewer.

Overall, Porter was 49-47 in Mexico (a hitter's league) with a 3.95 ERA and more than 500 strikeouts, and 58-37 in Negro League games. Including non-league games and Canada, Porter probably won close to 300 games in his career with more than 3000 strikeouts.

Porter worked at a rubber company for more than 20 years after retiring from baseball, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Porter's brother Merle, 10 years his junior, was a fine first baseman with the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1940s.

Some information compiled from http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Andy_Porter
and http://attheplate.com

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