Leaguer of the Month
Born: March 12, 1907 in Moberly, Missouri
Died:February 6, 1968 in St. Paul, Minnesota
Ht:5'-9", Wt: 180
Batted left and threw left
Teams:Pittsburgh Crawfords, St. Louis Stars, Detroit Wolves,
Homestead Grays, Washington Pilots, New York Cubans, Dominican
Republic, Mexico, Venezuela
Matlock, as great as he was, is best known in Negro League
lore, as the benificiary of one
time a team "sat
down" on Satchel Paige.
Matlock grew up in Moberly, Missouri, only a few hundered miles
east of Kansas City, and though he would play for several teams,
he would never suit up for the Kansas City Monarchs.
Matlock was a stocky left-handed pitcher, with a good fastball
and a variety of curves. After a few seasons with the St. Louis
Stars, Matlock gained fame with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in the
mid-1930s, on a staff with Satchel Paige. In 1934, Matlock went
14-3 in league games, and in '35, when Paige left to play in
North Dakota, Matlock became the team's ace. It could be argued
that Matlock was even more dominating than Paige
as the lefty reportedly won 26 straight league games during a
three year period, besting the Major League record of consecutive
pitching victories, set by another lefty, Carl Hubell, with 24.
pitched in the East-West game in 1935 and '36. He didn't allow
an earned run in five innings, and he was the winning pitcher
in '36; he was helped in the '36 game by a great play by fellow
Crawford third baseman Judy Johnson.
his prime, Matlock was usually among the league leaders in
wins and ERA.
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. In 1937,
the Crawfords were nearly put out of business when Matlock,
Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Bill Perkins and
Sammy Bankhead jumped the club to play in the Dominican
Republic for the Ciudad Trujillo Dragons, named after the controversial
president of the country.
The Dragons ended the season by winning the championship game
in front of a huge crowd and hundreds of armed soldiers, with
Matlock winning the game, helped by a Bankhead grand slam.
to the United States and entered the Denver Post semipro tournament.
Satchel left the team when he was offered more money elsewhere,
the team picked up first baseman Showboat Thomas, pitchers
Bob Griffith and Chet Brewer, and catcher Spoony Palm. The
Dragons were far superior than
it to the championship
game. Because the Dragons were unbeaten, they would have to
be beaten twice by their oppoents, the Duncan Cementers, who
had come through the loser's bracket.
A $1000 cash bonus was offered to the winning pitcher of the
final game, and Paige, by far the best-paid player in the Negro
flew to Denver to pitch. Behind his back, the players
got together and conspired to throw the game, knowing that
Matlock would pitch the following game. The Denver Post newspaper,
of course, knew nothing about the fix, and after the Dragons
lost 6-4 after committing several passed balls,
throwing errors, and baserunning mistakes (one sure-handed
outfielder let a grounder roll through his legs all the way
to the fence)
upset in baseball history! Reality hit when Matlock pitched
the next game and the Dragon offense exploded for 11 runs against
the Cementers, and the game was called early because of the
Over the next five seasons, Matlock became a baseball gypsy, playing in the
Negro Leagues, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
Matlock passed away at the age of 61 on February 6, 1968.
Dominican Republic championship game
Aguilina Cabaenas (6).....AB R H E
Clyde Spearman, rf.........5 1 2 0
Horacio, ss................4 1 1 1
X Pat Patterson, ph........1 1 1 0
Santos Amaro, 3b...........5 1 2 0
Red Parnell, lf............5 0 1 0
Martin Dihigo, cf, p.......5 0 4 0
Clarence Palm, c...........4 0 0 0
Showboat Thomas, 1b........4 1 3 0
Silvio Garcia, 2b..........3 1 2 1
Chet Brewer, p.............2 0 0 1
XX Alvarez, cf.............1 0 0 1
Totals...................39 6 16 4
X Batted for Horacio in 9th
XX Batted for Brewer in 5th
Ciudad Trujillo (8).......AB R H E
Cool Papa Bell, cf.........4 1 1 1
Harry Williams, 2b.........5 1 1 0
Lazaro Salazar, 1b.........4 1 1 0
Josh Gibson, c.............4 1 3 0
Sammy Bankhead, ss.........5 1 1 1
Bill Perkins, rf...........4 0 1 0
Castanos, lf...............4 0 1 0
X Tetelo Vargas, lf........0 0 0 0
Correa, 3b.................2 2 1 0
Leroy Matlock, p...........3 1 1 0
XX Paige, p................0 0 0 0
Totals...................35 8 11 2
X Replaced Costanos in 8th
XX Pitched for Matlock in 9th
Aguilas Cabaenas.............000 002 004-6
Ciudad Trujillo Dragones.....000 080 00X-8
Home Run-Bankhead. Doubles-Amaro, Dihigo, Matlock.
RBIs-Bankhead 4, Amaro 2, Williams 2, Salazar 1,
Matlock 1, Palm 1, Garcia 1,
Patterson 1, Dihigo 1.
Double Play-Bankhead to Williams
Innings pitched-for Brewer 4, for Dihigo 4,
for Matlock 8-1/3, for Paige 2/3.
Hits-off Brewer 5,
off Dihigo 5, off Matlock 13, Off Paige 3.
Dihigo 1, by Matlock 4. Walks-off Brewer 2,
off Dihigo 2, off Matlock 1. Passed
Hit by Pitch-Brewer. Time of Game-2:35.
site, and the webmaster, is powered by Xango!!!