Leaguer of the Month
Born: Sept. 13, 1913 in Blackwell, AR
Died: Dec. 12, 1974 in Kansas City, MO
Ht:6'3", Wt: 200
Batted right and threw right
Teams:Kansas City Monarchs, Mexican League, Cuban League,
Puerto Rican League, Los Angeles Angels (PCL Minor Leagues)
"Cannonball," Booker McDaniels was on some of the
greatest pitching staffs in Kansas City Monarchs history, along
with such stars as Satchel Paige, Connie Johnson, Hilton Smith,
John Matchett and Lefty Lamarque.
and his three brothers were orphaned as kids and practically
raised themselves in Morrilton, Arkansas.
years of playing traveling ball in the South, McDaniels made
the Monarchs team in 1940, and the Monarchs were the only
Negro League team on which he ever played. McDaniels could
usually be counted on to win 20 games (including both league
and non-league games), and his E.R.A usually hovered around
may have thrown as hard as Johnson and Paige, who both made
the majors years later, but didn't quite have their control.
Many a game saw McDaniels both strikeout and walk more than 10
been rumored that on many a Monarch road trip, when fans clamored
to see Satchel Paige pitch, that McDaniels or Johnson actually
took the mound and fans didn't know the difference. Most
fans had never seen Satchel Paige in person, and a flame-throwing
man of Booker's height was exactly what they expected.
Satchel, McDaniels was a pretty fair hitter, played outfield
once in a while when not pitching, and even pinch hit.
was definitely overshadowed by the more famous Paige, and even
the quiet Hilton Smith, but he was a very popular player and
crowd favorite. In 1945, McDaniels and teammate Jackie Robinson
both played in their only East-West All-Star games; Robinson
played the entire game at shortstop and went 0 for 5, while
McDaniels got lit up in 2-2/3 innings, allowing 6 earned runs
on six hits, with 2 walks and a strikeout against a East
lineup that featured Hall of Famers Buck Leonard, Willie Wells,
Martin Dihigo and Roy Campanella. McDaniels' teammate Jesse
Williams, however, singled, tripled and drove in 4 runs to
help the West to a 9-6 win.
the 1946 season, McDaniels jumped his contract to play in Mexico,
and played for three seasons, posting 14 wins twice and 12
wins once. In 1949, McDaniels returned to the States and was
back to the Monarch family under manager Buck O'Neil. After
winning 4 of his first 6 decisions, McDaniels was signed by
the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, the first
black in that league's history. His first game resulted in
a 5-hit win over the Portland Beavers. After two mediocre seasons
the Minors, McDaniels was deemed to be too old, with not much
steam left on his fastball, and never got a shot with the Chicago
Cubs who owned his contract.
was a pretty hard drinker throughout his life, and developed
cancer and died at the relatively young age of 61.
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