Dick Redding

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"Cannonball" Dick Redding
Dick Redding.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1893-04-15)April 15, 1893
Atlanta
Died: October 31, 1948(1948-10-31) (aged 58)
Islip, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Negro league baseball debut
1911Lincoln Giants
Last appearance
1932Bacharach Giants
Career statistics
Run average* 4.71
Earned run average* 3.64
Teams
Negro leagues
Other

Richard Redding (April 15, 1893 – 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]

Biography[edit]

Born in Atlanta in the era of racial segregation, he 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, similar to that of today's stars like Pedro Martínez.

The 1912 Lincoln Giants

His career began in 1911 with the Philadelphia Giants. That year, at the age of twenty, he won seventeen 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.

Ten years after retiring in 1938, he suffered a sudden bout of mental illness in 1948 and died in a mental hospital in Islip, New York later that year at age 58.

Legacy[edit]

He was as good as or better than rival Smokey Joe Williams, and certainly comparable with Walter Johnson of the major leagues.[citation needed] Unlike Williams or Johnson, he is not currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is considered by many to be a major oversight. He is also known for using, possibly even before Satchel Paige, the hesitation pitch.[citation needed]

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]

His career W-L record is known to be 81-62. 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."

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.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Figueredo, Jorge S. (2003), Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878–1961, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-1250-X 
  • Hogan, Lawrence D. (2006), Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, ISBN 0-7922-5306-X 
  • Holway, John B. (2001), The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History, Fern Park, Florida: Hastings House Publishers, ISBN 0-8038-2007-0 

External links[edit]