August 11, 2005

AND THE LORD SAID, "LET'S PLAY TWO!":

Negro League great Radcliffe dead at 103 (The Associated Press, August 11, 2005)

Former Negro Leagues star Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player, died Thursday. He was 103.

Radcliffe, given his singular nickname by sports writer Damon Runyon after catching Satchel Paige in the first game of a doubleheader in the 1932 Negro League World Series and pitching a shutout in the second game, died from complications after a long bout with cancer, the White Sox said.

Radcliffe was frequently in the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field and occasionally visited the White Sox clubhouse. He made it a tradition in recent years to throw out the first ball on his July 7 birthday. [...]

A six-time All-Star -- fittingly, three times as a pitcher and three times as a catcher -- Radcliffe outlived his contemporaries in the Negro Leagues and players from his era in the majors. Strict records on the minor leagues from those days are not kept, but there are no players known to have been older than Radcliffe.

As he approached his 100th birthday, Radcliffe was living in a retirement center about a half-mile from Comiskey Park. His apartment was filled with bats, gloves, plaques, posters, and his easy chair sat next to a window facing a sandlot.

Radcliffe was raised in Mobile, Ala., and went on to play for more than 15 teams in the Negro Leagues from the late 1920s to the early 1950s. His brother, Alex, also played in the league.

Radcliffe roomed with Jackie Robinson with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945, two years before Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in the majors, and also managed in the Negro Leagues.

At age 96, Radcliffe returned to the field, throwing one pitch for the Schaumburg Flyers in an independent Northern League game.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 11, 2005 6:22 PM
Comments

I've done some reading on "double Duty" since this article appeared, and this guy belongs in the Hall of Fame!

Posted by: Dave W. at August 13, 2005 10:15 PM
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