Leaguer of the Month
Died: 1962 in Queens, NY
Ht: 6'-1", Wt: 175
Batted right and threw right.
Teams: Monroe Monarchs, Bismarck Churchills, New York Cubans,
Jamestown Red Sox, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Winona Merchants
was one of the top right-handed pitchers in the Negro Leagues
in the 1930s, but is best known as a member of the greatest pitching
staff in semi-pro baseball history, the 1935 Bismarck Churchills
featuring Satchel Paige, Chet Brewer, Hilton Smith, Double Duty
Radcliffe and Morris.
This 5-man rotation had a combined record of 55-6 (.902 winning
percentage), and led Bismarck to the first National Semipro Championship
in Wichita, Kansas.
Morris grew up in the South, and his first top team was the Monroe
(Louisiana) Monarchs of the Negro Southern League. Morris was
the top pitcher on the Monarchs, who also boasted a young Hilton
Smith, Zollie Wright, Red Parnell, Leroy Morney and Augustus Saunders.
In 1932, the Monarchs were proclaimed the top team in the South
and they challenged the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the top team of
the East, and considered one of the greatest teams in Negro League
Crawfords beat the Monarchs 5 games to 1 in a best-of-nine series,
with the only Monroe win coming when Morris beat Sam Streeter
Morris with the 1932 Monroe Monarchs
(courtesy Paul Letlow)
1934, Morris was contacted by Bismarck, North Dakota to pitch,
and in 1935 Morris and Hilton Smith both jumped the Monroe Monarchs
to play full-time with Bismarck.
Morris possessed a 90 mile-an-hour fastball, and the best knuckleball
in the Negro Leagues leading to some huge strikeout totals. In 1935 Morris boasted
12 wins against only 3 losses.
losses came against the Kansas City Monarchs (2 to 1), a Mexican
All-Star team (3 to 0), and the House of David (9 to 4).
Morris's wins included a 3-hitter against the Shreveport Acme
Giants in which he struck out 12 and homered, and a Canadian Tournament
in which he won 3 games in 2 days by scores of 7-2, 9-0 and 9-1 (all
Morris was a decent hitter, batting .260 during the '35 campaign,
and he played some outfield and even caught Satchel Paige once
during the year.
Morris returned to Bismarck for the 1936 season, the last season
Bismarck would field a semipro team for decades. Morris then played
for several teams in the United States, Cuba and Mexico.
In 1937, Morris pitched for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and was selected
to start the East-West All-star game where he
hurled 3 innings and was the winning pitcher.*
Morris also made the East squad in 1944 with the New York Cubans
and he came into the game in the 5th inning and gave up a homerun
on his first pitch to his old Bismarck catcher Double Duty Radcliffe.
In 1947, the New York Cubans won the Negro League World Series
and Morris threw a shutout in his only start in the series.
After retiring from baseball in the early 1950s, Morris moved
to New York and worked as a cab driver until he died of cancer
in the early 1960s
information gathered from "Black Baseball's Showcase,"
by Larry Lester. Check
the link on the home page to purchase book.