02 Feb

a little history

In recognition of Black History Month, here’s a compelling nugget uncovered via a little research. The first black Mississippian to win a game in the major leagues was Dave Hoskins, a Greenwood native who pitched for Cleveland in 1953-54. He got that first win on May 10 of ’53, and there’s quite a story behind it. Hoskins was a two-way standout in the Negro Leagues and then, after “organized baseball” was integrated, in the Texas League, where in 1952 he became the first African-American to play in that minor league. Hoskins made his big league debut with the Indians on April 18, 1953, giving up a hit, five walks and a run in 2 1/3 innings. He worked five scoreless innings in a mop-up role on May 5 before getting the call for his third appearance five days later at old Busch Stadium against the St. Louis Browns. He pinch-hit for pitcher Bob Feller in the seventh inning of a game the Tribe trailed 3-0. Hoskins doubled but didn’t score. He then pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh. In the top of the eighth, Al Rosen homered to make it 3-1, and with two out and two on, Hoskins was permitted to bat for himself. He blasted a go-ahead homer off Virgil Trucks. Hoskins then struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth and, after the Indians scored eight times in the ninth, closed out the 12-3 victory. A right-handed thrower and lefty hitter, Hoskins went 9-4, 3.81 ERA in 139 1/3 innings over 40 MLB games while batting .227. The homer on May 10, 1953, was his only one.