Lloyd "Ducky" Davenport


"Ducky was something. He was 5'-5", 150 pounds, but could hit the ball out of any park. He never used sunglasses--didn't need 'em, great arm, everything. I'm telling you superstars now!"

--Double Duty Radcliffe

 


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Negro Leaguer of the Month
April, 2002

Ducky Davenport

Position: outfield
Career: 1935-1952
Teams:
Monroe Monarchs, Philadelphia Stars, Cincinnati Tigers, Memphis Red Sox, Chicago American Giants, Birmingham Black Barons, Cleveland Buckeyes, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Winnipeg Elmwood Giants

HT: 5'-5"; WT: 150 lbs
Batted left; threw left
Born:
October 28, 1911 in New Orleans.
Died: ?


Ducky Davenport waddled like slugger Ron Cey but played more like the Negro League version of Ichiro Suzuki. Standing 5'-5" in shoes and weighing 150 pounds dripping wet, Davenport could hit for average and power, had a rifle arm, and could run like a scared rabbit.

Davenport started his pro career with the Monroe Monarchs of the Negro Southern League along with pitchers Barney Morris and Hilton Smith, then graduated to the black big time with the Philadelphia Stars in 1935.

By 1937 Davenport was one of the best outfielders in baseball and was selected to his first of five East-West All-Stars games. In five classics Ducky went 3 for 15 with 3 runs scored.

Ducky hit as high as .350 a few times and led the Cuban Winter League in batting in 1946-47 with a .332 mark. In one game that season Davenport belted 6 hits for the all-time Cuban single game record. Davenport's batting helped lead the Almendares team to the Cuban pennant. The integrated team was managed by Adolph Luque and featured an array of black and white stars including Buck O'Neil, Henry Jessup, Avelino Canizares, Jonus Gaines, Pedro Ramos and Max Lanier.

Double Duty Radcliffe, one of the top managers in the Negro Leagues, "carried" Davenport along with him for 12 years wherever he managed because of Ducky's great skills and winning attitude. Radcliffe managed Davenport on the Memphis Red Sox, Birmingham Black Barons, Chicago American Giants and Winnipeg Elmwood Giants.

"He was my ace in the hole," Radcliffe explained.

Radcliffe thought so much of Davenport that he put him in the outfield on his all-time all-star roster with Turkey Stearnes, Willard Brown, Cool Papa Bell, Chaney White and Red Parnell.