Bill Pettus

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Bill Pettus
Bill Pettus.jpg
First baseman
Born: (1884-08-13)August 13, 1884
Goliad County, Texas
Died: August 22, 1924(1924-08-22) (aged 40)
New York, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
1902, for the Albuquerque, New Mexico
Last appearance
1921, for the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants

William Thomas "Bill" Pettus (August 13, 1884 – August 22, 1924) was an African-American baseball first baseman in the Cuban League and Negro Leagues. He played from 1902 to 1921 with several teams.[6]

Pettus began playing baseball in 1902 for the Albuquerque, New Mexico team, staying there until the end of the 1903 season.[7] He often shows up by his nickname "Zack" Pettus.

Pitcher Babe Adams said of Pettus's early days, he was "one of the best catchers in the baseball world."[8]

In 1904, he played on the white teams of San Francisco and Oakland California, and was the only black player on those teams.

In 1905, he returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico to manage and captain the team, which was made up of ten Mexicans and two colored ball players. The team won 48 out of 49 games, losing only one.

In 1906, Pettus again was the only black player on a white team when he played for the white Albuquerque, New Mexico team.

In 1907 and 1908, Pettus caught for Santa Fe, New Mexico.

During the 1908-1909 he played for the Occidental Club, a black baseball team in Los Angeles, California.

In 1909, Pettus played first base for the Kansas City Giants. At the end of that year, Pettus re-joined the Occidental Club in Los Angeles.

In 1910, Pettus joined the Chicago Giants, a Frank Leland team that had recently broke off of the Leland Giants after a legal battle over naming rights.[9] The Chicago Giants, often called "Leland's Chicago Giants" included big stars of the day, including Nathan Harris, George Wright, Dangerfield Talbert, Cyclone Joe Williams, Bobby Marshall, Charles "Joe" Green, Dick Wallace, Steel Arm Johnny Taylor, and his brother Candy Jim Taylor.[1] Pettus would play there for two seasons, touring much of the upper midwest.[2]

He played winter ball in the 1911-1912 season for Habana, and returned to split the season between the Brooklyn Royal Giants and the New York Lincoln Stars where he played on and off until 1916, continuing on in this way playing on and off with the Lincoln Giants until 1920.

Pettus died on August 22, 1924 in New York City at the age of 40. He is buried at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in New York, NY.


  1. ^ a b "Chicago Giants Will Raise Flag Sunday" Chicago Broad Ax, Chicago, IL, May 14, 1910, Page 2, Columns 4 and 5
  2. ^ a b "Dubuque 6, Leland Giants 2" Waterloo Evening Courier, Waterloo, IA, Friday, April 28, 1911, Page 6, Column 5
  3. ^ "American Giants Beat Nagel's Men" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, IN, November 30, 1912, Page 7, Column 3
  4. ^ "Hilldale Again" Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, Sunday, June 30, 1918, Page 20, Column 2
  5. ^ "Burns Leads Giants to Another Victory" The Sun, New York, New York, Monday, October 28, 1918, Page 11, Column 2
  6. ^ Riley, James A. (1994). The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
  7. ^ "Frank Lelands' Chicago Giants Base Ball Club" Fraternal Printing Company, 1910
  8. ^ "Pettus Caught for Babe Adams." Albuquerque Morning Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wednesday, October 20, 1909, Page 3, Column 1
  9. ^ "Frank C. Leland Enjoined From Using the Name Leland Giants" Chicago Broad Ax, Chicago, IL, Page 2, Column 2

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