Lincoln Giants Origin
Lincoln Giants, the first colored professional team, began as the brainchild of Jess McMahon. He was a white promoter and the team was based out of Nebraska as early as the 1890’s. Then in 1910, McMahon hired Sol White, a former manager of the Philadelphia Giants to put a team together. It played their games at Olympic Field in New York City.
In that era, the Lincoln Giants were quite a team. White signed Bill Pettus a catcher first baseman, center fielder Spotswood Poles. maybe the greatest Negro league pitch in history Cyclone Joe Williams , slugger Louis Santop future Hall of Famer and the greatest shortstop in Negro league history in John Henry Lloyd.
The Lincoln Giants were dominate in 1911, 1912 and 1913. Grant Johnson, a second baseman was added to the team in 1913 which defeated the Chicago American Giants for the national black championship.
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Lincoln Giants Founder Out
McMahon lost control of the ownership in 1914 and started a rival team called the Lincoln Stars. In doing this, he signed several of his former players. Joe Williams became the manager because Lloyd stayed with the Giants. Olympic Field was their home field and they left in 1920 to the Bronx and New York Catholic Projectory Oval. In 1923, the team was moved into the Eastern Colored League for its first season.
The team finished in 6th place with 16 wins and 22 losses and it was used to being dominant. Therefore, Williams was ousted. The new manager was Jude Gens. He guided the team to third place with 31 wins and 25 losses.In 1925, they hit bottom with a 7-39 record. In 1927, the Lincolns dropped out of the league but got back in for the 1927 season. and the league folded that summer. The Lincolns had signed Fats Jenkins and the owners didn’t like how they purged other teams.
Lincoln Giants Demise
The American Negro League was formed in 1929 but didn’t last for a second season. Then the Depression i\hit and the team Lincolns went away for good.