Spot Poles

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Spot Poles
Spot Poles.jpg
Born: (1887-12-27)December 27, 1887
Winchester, Virginia
Died: September 12, 1962(1962-09-12) (aged 74)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Batted: Both Threw: Right
1910, for the Fe
Last appearance
1923, for the New York Lincoln Giants

Spottswood Poles (December 27, 1887 – September 12, 1962) was an American outfielder in baseball's Negro Leagues. Born in Winchester, Virginia, he died at age 74 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Poles was generally recognized as one of the fastest players of his day. His speed was said to be compared to that of Cool Papa Bell, a Negro League star of the 1930s, and Ty Cobb. He was a left-handed batter with a noted eye, who hit for high batting averages.

He started playing organized Negro ball for the Harrisburg Colored Giants in 1906 and first became a professional for Sol White's Philadelphia Giants in 1909.

1913 Spot Poles

Poles soon followed White to the New York Lincoln Giants in 1911, where he blossomed into a star; in his first four seasons with the Lincoln Giants, 1911–1914, Poles attained batting averages of .440, .398, .414, and .487 against all levels of competition.

Poles then spent the next few seasons jumping among the New York Lincoln Stars, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and the Hilldale Daisies. While Poles was with the Daisies, he joined the Army 369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters), attached to the French Army, to serve during World War I, earning decorations (five battle stars and a Purple Heart) for his combat experience in France as a sergeant.[4][5] He returned home and continued a successful baseball career, playing for the Lincoln Giants from 1919 to 1923.[6]

He is credited with a lifetime batting average of over .400 against all competition, and hit .319 in four winters in Cuba. A tantalizing aspect of his career is his success against white major league teams. Poles hit .610 against these teams, including three consecutive hits off Grover Cleveland Alexander. Poles spent his post-baseball years as a taxi cab operator and working at Olmsted Air Force Base in Middletown, Pennsylvania, enabling him to retire comfortably. Because of his Army service, Spottswood Poles was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ "Lincoln Giants Adds Another Brace of Victories to its Brace" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, May 20, 1916, Page 4, Column 4
  2. ^ "Palm Beach Weekly Review" Indianapolis Freeman, Indianapolis, Indiana, Saturday, February 19, 1916, Page 5, Columns 5 to 7
  3. ^ "Empey Has Fine Bill" New York Sun, New York, NY, Page 4, Column 2
  4. ^ "Spottswood Poles". Negro League Baseball Players Association. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  5. ^ "Spot Poles". Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  6. ^ Riley, p. 631–632.
  7. ^ Riley, pp. 631–632.


  • Riley, James A., The Biographical Encyclopedia of The Negro Leagues (1994), Carrol & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York City.

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