25th Infantry Regiment Black Baseball Champs

From Black Baseball Out of Season: Pay for Play Outside of the Negro Leagues, by William McNeil (McFarland, 2007), pp. 52-55:

The famous 25th Infantry Regiment was the all-black company popularly known as the Buffalo Soldiers. The regiment was formed in 1869 and saw service in the United States, Hawaii, the Philippine Islands, and Mexico. Its baseball tradition had its beginnings in Missoula, Montana, where the first team was formed in 1894 by Master Sergeant Dalbert P. Green, who was instructed to form a regimental team after an informal baseball game between an interracial infantry team and an all-black cavalry team created such interest and enthusiasm that Col. Andrew S. Burt believed that organized teams would be good for morale and would relieve the boredom that existed during periods of peace and quiet on the frontier. Green, who was named team captain, noted that “Players generally furnished their own uniforms and shoes: these consisted of canton flannel drawers (altered by company tailors), a dark blue flannel shirt, and a pair of barrack shoes (heels cut off), stockings, and caps furnished by the players. Practice was held in the evening after retreat, games being played on Sundays and Holidays. The ‘Old Timers’ didn’t take to the game as they do at the present time. An athlete, to be considered, had also to show soldierly qualities of the very highest type.” He considered the 25th Infantry Regiment teams that were stationed in Hawaii between 1914 and 1918 to be among the greatest teams he was ever associated with. As he said, “During my connection with the team it has played against players in different parts of the United States and foreign possessions and who have become famous in both the National and American Leagues, not mentioning the minor leagues at all….

The 25th Infantry baseball team rose to prominence after it was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. They established themselves as the best team on the island of Oahu, and began to compete against college teams and teams of the high classification Pacific Coast League….

The leader of the team was Wilbur Rogan, better known as “Cap,” short for Captain, to his fellow soldiers because of his leadership qualities, not only on the baseball field, but also in army matters….

Rogan seemed to carry the 25th on his back for much of the decade, but he did have help. His teammates included four players who would later follow him to the Kansas City MonarchsDobie Moore, Lem Hawkins, Bob Fagan, and Oscar “Heavy” Johnson—plus Fred Goliath, who would play with the Chicago Giants in 1920, and William “Big C” Johnson, who would join the Dayton Marcos in 1920.

About these ads

2 Comments

Filed under baseball, Hawai'i, military, U.S.

2 responses to “25th Infantry Regiment Black Baseball Champs

  1. A point of clarification. The 25th Infantry was hardly an “all Black company”. As its name states, it was an all-Black regiment. The Army had four Black Regiments during this period. The 9th and 10th Cavalry (the original “Buffalo Soldiers” whose regimental insignia (the 10th Cavalry’s) was a buffalo. The 9th Cavalry had troops stationed at Fort Douglas, Utah just before the Spanish-American war. The two all Black Infantry Regiments were the 24th and 25th Infantry. Regimens had battalions, which had companies numbering about 150 men (infantry). There could be three to four rifle companies to a battalion, not counting the headquarters company, depending upon the era. Cavalry regiments were smaller. The practice during the Indian Wars was to split up the various companies and batteries (artillery) between various forts, which would be commanded by a command and staff element drawn from one of the regiments. Thus an Infantry company would be in the same garrison with a cavalry troop and a (possible) artillery battery, not to mention a Signal squadron and Indian Scout detachment.

    • Yes, the author I quoted has written a lot about baseball but seems a little unclear on his military terminology. Thanks for your lengthy clarification.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s