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Dick Redding

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Dick Redding
Born: (1890-04-15)April 15, 1890
Atlanta, Georgia
Died: October 31, 1948(1948-10-31) (aged 58)
Islip, New York
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Negro league baseball debut
1911, Lincoln Giants
Last appearance
1932, Bacharach Giants
Career statistics
Run average4.71
Earned run average3.64
Negro leagues

Richard Redding (April 15, 1890 – October 31, 1948), nicknamed "Cannonball", was an American pitcher, outfielder, and manager in baseball's Negro leagues, regarded as perhaps the fastest pitcher in the history of black baseball (which makes the origin of his nickname no mystery). In his career, he played for the Philadelphia Giants, New York Lincoln Giants,[1] Lincoln Stars, Indianapolis ABC's, Chicago American Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and Bacharach Giants.[3]


Born in Atlanta in the era of racial segregation, Redding was functionally illiterate and was not allowed to play in the Major Leagues because of his race. Against all levels of competition he threw seven no-hitters in one year and approximately thirty in his career. Quiet and clean-cut off the field, he was as intimidating as anyone on it. He had a limited pitching repertoire, but his main pitch, his fastball, was feared by batters all over the league. It was likely faster than Bob Feller's and was far more accurate than Steve Dalkowski's. Redding gained an extra advantage by throwing "brushback" pitches inside.

The 1912 Lincoln Giants

Redding's career began in 1911 with the Philadelphia Giants. That year, at the age of 20, he won 17 consecutive games. Early in his career he was at his best, and in 1914, playing for the New York Lincoln Giants, he was 12–3 against official competition and 31–9 in barnstorming. He served in World War I in 1918, and was a player-manager from 1919 to 1922. His playing career was essentially over by the mid-1920s, but he managed the Brooklyn Royal Giants from 1927 to 1932. His career win–loss record is known to be 81–62.

Ten years after retiring in 1938, Redding suffered a sudden bout of mental illness in 1948 and died in a mental hospital in Islip, New York later that year at age 55.

A few years after his death, Redding received votes listing him on the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier player-voted poll of the Negro Leagues' best players ever.[4]

Hall of Famer Buck Leonard once said about Redding: "was a nice fellow, easy going. He never argued, never cursed, never smoked as I recall; I never saw him take a drink."

On November 5, 2021, he was selected to the final ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Early Days Committee for consideration in the Class of 2022. He received three votes or less of the necessary twelve votes.[5]

Career statistics[edit]

Comprehensive statistics for some Negro league and Cuban League seasons[edit]

  • Negro league and Cuban League statistics and player information from Seamheads.com

Negro leagues[edit]

Pre-league play in the United States[edit]

The following statistics, compiled from box scores by John Holway, provide an incomplete record of games played against other major black teams. Because black teams of that era played most of their games against white semi-pro or professional teams, the available statistics represent a very small sample.

Year Team W L Pct RA
1911 Lincoln Giants 5 1 .833 5.35
1912 Lincoln Giants 2 2 .500
1913 Lincoln Giants 0 0
1914 Lincoln Giants 4 4 .500
1915 Lincoln Stars 6 2 .750 2.55
1916 Lincoln Giants 4 1 .800 5.59
1917 Chicago American Giants 14 5 .737 1.57
1918 Brooklyn Royal Giants 2 0 1.000
1919 Bacharach Giants/Brooklyn 3 5 .375 1.67
Total 9 seasons 40 20 .667

Source: Holway, pp. 84, 90, 94, 99, 105–06, 113, 116, 126, 130–31.

Cuban League[edit]

Year Team W L Pct G CG IP H BB SO RA
1912w Fe 4 8 .333 14 8
1913w Fe p 7 2 .778* 21 9
1914/15 Fe 2 6 .250 10 70 36 29 28 4.63
1920/21 Bacharach Giants 2 6* .250 10 6
1922/23 Habana 3 1 .750 7 3
Total 5 seasons 18 23 .439 62
   w – winter; * – led league; p = pennant.

Source: Figueredo, pp. 99, 103, 114, 138–39, 146.


  1. ^ a b "Lincoln Giants Adds Another Brace of Victories to its Brace" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 20, 1916, Page 4, Column 4
  2. ^ "Empey Has Fine Bill" New York Sun, Page 4, Column 2
  3. ^ "'Cannonball' Redding was one of a kind". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
  4. ^ "1952 Pittsburgh Courier Poll of Greatest Black Players"
  5. ^ "Fowler, Hodges, Kaat, Miñoso, Oliva, O'Neil Elected to Hall of Fame". baseballhall.org. December 5, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.


External links[edit]