Leaguer of the Month
Reece "Goose" Tatum
Born: 05/03/1921 in Eldorado, Arkansas
Ht:6'-4", Wt: 175
Batted right and threw right.
Position: first base
Teams:Louisville Black Colonels, Memphis Red Sox, Birmingham
Black Barons, Indianapolis Clowns
Goose Tatum was born on May 3, 1921 in Eldorado, Arkansas
and the Louisvile Black Colonels was the first pro team that saw
potential in the gangly youngster, signing him as an outfielder
and first baseman.
year later, Memphis Red Sox manager Ted "Double Duty"
Radcliffe saw Tatum and signed him for his team. One problem:
Double Duty also had budding star Buck O'Neil playing first base.
Radcliffe solved the problem by trading O'Neil, and Tatum, though
not the player O'Neil became, was still a star in his own right.
was a solid hitter--if he could get his arms extended he hit the
ball hard. Pitchers worked him inside and tied him up often.
was as a first baseman, though, that Tatum made his greatest imprint
on Negro League baseball. With his long arms and legs helping
him stretch on close plays, and his instinct as a comedian, Tatum
turned himself into one of the most talented and most entertaining
first basemen in baseball. Tatum loved to "clown" during
warmups, catching balls behind his back and joking with opponents.
yeah, you might know Tatum better as a star guard/forward for
the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. Tatum's #50 was retired
recently by the Globetrotters, and the entire Globetrotters team
was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Tatum's Globetrotter days are a far cry from the standards of today's team; certainly he did not stay in luxurious hotels in Orlando or hotels in New York. In society today Tatum would not only be welcome to luxurious surrounding he'd be a star of the highest magnitude.
Tatum is credited by many as the inventor of the hook shot, was
an outstanding ball handler and outside shooter, and was a crowd pleaser. Many times Tatum poured in 50 points or more in a game.
baseball was Goose's first love, and after a stint in the Air
Force during World War II, Goose returned to baseball every summer
through the mid-1950s, mostly with the Birmingham Black Barons
and the Indianapolis Clowns.
In 1947, Tatum played in the East-West All-Star game at Comiskey
Park representing the Clowns, and singled twice in four at bats,
helping his West club to a 5-2 win. Major League scouts approached
Tatum after the game, but Tatum was content as a two-sport star
and thought taking the road to the Majors as he approached 30
might be too hard.
Tatum became owner of Detroit Clowns baseball team in the late
1950s and played several games before hanging up his baseball
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