'Speed' McDuffie, top pitcher for the Newark Eagles,
is a sepia Dizzy Dean!"
to go to the
Negro Leaguer of the Month archives
to read about past honorees.
Movie | Double
Duty Book | Negro Leaguer of the
Month | Gift Shop FAQs
| Art & Poetry | North
Dakota Baseball History | Links
Contact Me | Negro League Message
Board | About the Author | Home
©Copyright 2000-2001, Kyle McNary, McNary Publishing
Leaguer of the Month
"Elmer the Great," "Speed," "Terris the Terrible"
Teams: Birmingham Black Barons, Baltimore Black Sox, Atlantic City Bacharachs,,
Pennsylvania Red Caps, New York Black Yankees, Brooklyn Eagles, Newark
Eagles, Homestead Grays, Hilldale Daisies, Cuban Stars, Mexico, Minor
HT: 6'-0"; WT: 200 lbs
Batted right; threw right
Born: July 22, 1910 in Mobile, Alabama
Died: New York
McDuffie was a good
pitcher, good hitter, swift baserunner and great self-promoter. He often
got more attention for his pretty face, flashy dress, bevy of girlfriends
and large ego than for his ball playing. There is a story told by many
that Effa Manley, the owner of the Newark Eagles at the time, once demanded
that McDuffie pitch a game so she could show off the handsome pitcher
to her girlfriends.
McDuffie started his baseball career as an outfielder with the 1930
Birmingham Black Barons and batted .297 with a league-leading 18 stolen
bases. It soon became apparent, though, that he didn't have a big enough
bat to stay in the outfield for good so he became a pitcher and prospered.
He had a good fastball, a curve, slider and change, and was just wild
enough to keep batters on their toes.
Among his pitching accomplishments were an 18-inning victory for the
Red Caps in '34, a no-hitter in '35 versus the House of David , a 19-8
record with the '36 Newark Eagles, beating Satchel Paige 2 of the 3
games they faced each other, and a 27-5 record for the pennant-winning
McDuffie started and won the 1941 East-West game, and also started the
'44 game but didn't factor in the decision.
In 1945 McDuffie and Showboat Thomas, both past their prime, were given
tryouts with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Both players were deemed to be too
old by Branch Rickey.
McDuffie actually still had some good baseball in him as he approached
and passed age 40, and it was reported that he had one of the highest
salaries in the Negro National League in the post-war years. In 1951
he was voted the MVP of the Venezuelan League with Caracas, and in '52
was the MVP of the Dominican Republic League.
has been reported that while playing in Cuba, McDuffie had the misfortune
to play for manager Dolph Luque, a former major league pitcher with
a terrible temper. Luque told McDuffie that he was going to pitch that
day and McDuffie refused saying his arm was sore. Luque then pulled
out a pistol and pointed it at the pitcher: McDuffie threw a 2-hitter.
In 1954, at age 44, he closed out his career when he pitched for the
Dallas Steers of the Texas League in the minors and went 3-4 with a