Page Fence Giants
Page Fence Giants|
|1895-96, Lawrence Park, Adrian, Michigan; 1898 County Fairgrounds, Adrian, Michigan.|
The Page Fence Giants were based in Adrian, Michigan and were one of the top black baseball teams in the country. Named after the wire fence company Page Fence, they were sponsored by its founder, J. Wallace Page.
Formed in 1894, the team played its first game on April 9, 1895. Bud Fowler and Home Run Johnson organized the team, which was managed by Gus Parsons. Fowler chose players who did not drink and aimed for a group with high moral character. Five of the twelve players were college graduates. Fowler played second base while Johnson manned shortstop. The team played in 112 towns that year against all levels of competition, going 118-36-2. They were 8-7 against clubs from the white Michigan State League (MSL). They lost games by scores of 11-7 and 16-2 against the Cincinnati Reds. The club lost Fowler and pitcher George Wilson to the white Adrian-based team (Adrian Demons) during the MSL season.
In 1896, Charlie Grant replaced Fowler at second. The Page Fence Giants beat the Cuban X-Giants in a 15-game series, 10 games to 5, to claim they were the top team in black baseball. Overall they went 80-19 through August 1. In 1897, they went 125-12 with 82 consecutive wins. The 1898 tour was the club's last, as the next year many of the players went to the new Columbia Giants in Chicago.
- Bud Fowler — 2B and manager, 1895; was a co-founder of the team, along with Grant Johnson. Fowler left the team in July of 1895 due to a dispute with the remaining team management, consisting of Len W. Hoch, Gus Parsons, and Rolla and Howard Taylor, all Adrian businessmen.
- Charlie Grant — 2B, 1896-1898
- Billy Holland — pitcher, OF, 1895–97
- Chappie Johnson — LF, 1B, and catcher, 1896–98
- William Binga - 3B, C and OF, 1895-98
- Grant Johnson — SS and captain, 1895–98; Played with the Findlay (Ohio) Sluggers with Bud Fowler in 1894 where he acquired the nickname for bashing 58 home runs that season
- John W. Patterson — 1895, 1896, 1897-98 1B Manages the team when it leaves Adrian and is sold to Chicago businessmen and become the Columbia Giants.
- Sol White — 1895; Joined the Giants in June 1895, following the disbandment of his integrated Fort Wayne, Indiana, minor league team. Selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
- George Wilson — pitcher, 1895-1898; In 1895 split his time with the integrated Adrian Demons of the Michigan State League. Nicknamed the Palmyra Wonder after the town a few miles east of Adrian, where he was born and raised. Left handed and one of the top pitchers of this era
- George Taylor 1898 1B
- Sherman Barton 1898 OF and P
- Peter Burns 1895-1898 C
- "Gus" Brooks, 1895 He died after collapsing in June 1895 during a game in Hastings, Michigan; he died a few hours later in a local hotel
- Augustus "Gus" Parsons was the team's business manager for all four years of its existence. His previous job was as a front desk clerk at the Emery Hotel in Adrian, Michigan.
Sources: Riley 113, 294, 330, 387, 432, 434, 606-607, 609, 836, 872.
Fowler and Wilson left the team before the end of its first, 1895 season to play in the primarily white Michigan State League.(Riley 295, 873)
- "Great Ball Games Scheduled Here", Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, WI, Page 5, Column 3
- The prose section is from the Baseball Reference Bullpen. The original can be viewed here. It is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
- Holway, John. The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues. ISBN 0-8038-2007-0. The complete book is available for online viewing at Google Books.
- Riley, James A. (1994). "Page Fence Giants". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 595–96. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6.
The Page Fence Giants, A History of Black Baseball's Pioneering Champions by Mitch Lutzke, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina; ISBN 978-1-4766-7165-9; 2018
- Chronology from Negro League Baseball Players Association