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HBCU Baseball Successes

HBCUs are known for producing standouts on the gridiron; especially notable are the more than 200 former players of Grambling's Eddie Robinson that went on to play in the NFL.  And every Olympics for 70 years there has been an HBCU student or alumnus as a member of a track and field team.  But there have also been many standout baseball players as well.  With Major League Baseball in full swing, The Hundred-Seven is highlighting 8 HBCU alumni who found success on the baseball diamond.  

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Tommie Agee

Grambling State University

Agee was a center fielder who is most noted for making two of the greatest catches in World Series history, both of during game 3  of the 1969 World Series between the Mets and the Orioles.  Signed by Cleveland, he was dealt to the Chicago White Sox as part of a three team trade between the Indians, White Sox and Kansas City Athletics.  Agee was posthumously inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2002.

Tom Alston

North Carolina A&T State University

Alston was a first baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals.  He was acquired through a trade with the San Diego Padres where he'd played in 180 games in 1953 on their farm team.  He made his major league debut April 13, 1954, becoming the first black player on the St. Louis Cardinals' roster. 

Earl Battey

Bethune Cookman University

Battey was a catcher for the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins.  One of the top catchers in the American league in the early 1960's he won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards.   Battey was also a four-time American League All Star catcher.  Battey was posthumously elected to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame and named one of the franchise's 50 Greatest Players.  Battey enrolled in Bethune-Cookman at the age of 45, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2 1/2 years, while coaching the men's basketball team.  

Joe Black

Morgan State University

Like many early black MLB players, Black began his professional career with the Negro Leagues, leading the Baltimore Elite Giants to two championships.  At age 28, Black joined Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was National League Rookie of the Year in 1952.  During his rookie season Black became the first black pitcher to win a World Series game.  After his retirement, he brielfy worked as a scout for the Washington Senators.  

Lou Brock

Southern University

Lou Brock had a 19-year career as a professional baseball player, beginning with the Chicago Cubs, but primarily playing with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Brock is a 6-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champion and winner of the Roberto Clemente Award.  He is most noted, however for being an 8-time national league stolen base leader. Brock held both the single season stolen base record (118) and the career stolen base record (938) until both records were broken by Rickey Henderson.  Brock was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. 

Andre Dawson

Florida A&M University

Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson, known as the “Hawk”, was only the second player in baseball history to reach 400 home runs and 300 stolen base.  Despite having 12 knee surgeries,  Dawson was an eight-time All-Star outfielder and spent 21 seasons in the big leagues, the majority spent with the Montreal Expos.  He was named National League Rookie of the Year, won six straight Gold Glove Awards  and led the league in hits and total bases in 1983.

Larry Doby

Virginia Union University

Center-fielder, Larry Doby, became the first African-American in the American League when he joined the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 1947- 3 months after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers.  Doby was the first player to go directly to the majors from the Negro leagues.  In 1948 Doby and teammate Satchel Paige became the first African-American players to win a World Series championship. A year later Doby became the first black player to hit a home run in a World Series game.  He went on to be named an American League All-Star 7 times. 

Rickie Weeks, Jr.

Southern University

While playing with Southern University, Weeks became the only HBCU player to win the Golden Spike Award for best amateur player.  He has been a member of the Brewers, Mariners and Diamondbacks being drafted 2nd overall in 2003 by the Milwaukee Brewers, with a $3.6 million signing bonus. He made his major league debut on September 15, 2003.  Weeks currently plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. While primarily a second baseman throughout his career, Weeks moved to left field in 2015, and playing first base this season. Weeks was named an MLB All-Star in 2011.  

Photo credits:  Agee: Alchetron, Alston: MLB Players Association, Brock: Arch City Sports, Doby: United States Postal Service, Weeks: Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports, Dawson: Chicago style Sports, 

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