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View Poll Results: Did Jimmy Claxton and Pete Standridge know each other?
Not Likely 1 9.09%
Likely 4 36.36%
Definitely 1 9.09%
Unknown, not enough evidence 5 45.45%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-02-2013, 11:06 AM
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Default Did Jimmy Claxton know Pete Standridge?

In a 1964 interview Jimmy Claxton claimed he was betrayed by a "supposed friend" who told Oakland Oaks management of his true racial heritage in 1916. For those unfamiliar with the story Claxton tried to pass as a Native American though he was African American. I had assumed it was a teammate but evidence suggests the person responsible may have been the opposing pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels on May 28, 1916, Pete Standridge. I can not find another player on either team that had previous exposure to the southpaw.

Pete Standridge was born in 1891 and raised in Enumclaw, Washington (some sources say 1892 in nearby Black Diamond, Washington). He attended Enumclaw Public School until 1907, then transferred to newly constructed Lincoln High School in Seattle (part of inaugural senior class of 1908). The Standridge family farm was located less than 100 yards from the Green River.

On the opposite bank of the Green River lay the mining town of Franklin, Washington. Claxton was born in 1892 and lived in Franklin with his father from 1905-12. Claxton's father was a well-known deacon at the A.M.E. church in Franklin. Claxton began his career as a catcher. The town of Franklin is now a ghost town, a forgotten corner of the Palmer-Kanaskat National Park.

My question is: Since Claxton and Standridge were about the same age and lived within a couple miles of each other, what is the likelihood they had formed a battery for a town team, or faced each other in the past before their meeting on the mound in 1916. I have combed over countless area newspapers for the time 1905-09 without finding a "smoking gun" that indicates they were on the same field. Both towns had a population of less than 1,000 people. So, I am soliciting the opinions of those on the board as to the likelihood they knew each other. Thank you very much.

Below is a photo of Pete Standridge & a photo of the ballpark in Franklin (Green River Gorge behind Knights of Pythias Labor Hall/Saloon, on the opposite hillside is the town of Enumclaw)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg standridge001.jpg (76.6 KB, 147 views)
File Type: jpg Franklin Baseball Diamond circa 1908.jpg (72.4 KB, 147 views)

Last edited by pariah1107; 03-02-2013 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:05 PM
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jerseygary jerseygary is offline
G@ry Cier@dkowski
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 675

That's a really nice piece of research you've done. I wrote a brief story about Claxton's PCL career and always wondered who did him in. I always assumed it could have been any number of people because he was supposed to have been a cracker jack semi-pro player in the Oakland area so I guessed his fame caught up with him. Since semi-pro ball was much more popular back then, it's a good guess that a good many fans would have seen him play before and knew he was black. If he had gotten a shot in the International League or American Association at the time, far removed from his stomping grounds, it would have been harder for his reputation to catch up with him.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:41 PM
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Thank you. Absolutely Gary, another "candidate" could have been the umpire of that game a gentleman named Guthrie who ump'd a game earlier in the season when Claxton pitched for the Oakland Oak Leafs (the premier colored team in the Bay area). Don't think he would qualify as a "supposed friend" though.

Also a pitcher for the Oaks named Higginbotham (joined the Oaks after Claxton was released June 3), who played for Portland in 1915 where Claxton had spent the season integrating the Portland Inter-City League for the Sellwood Dingbats.

Too many others to speculate on, but really need to examine all angles on a subject as sensitive as this....

Forgot to mention Standridge was also on the 1909 Vancouver Beavers where another African American "Big Chief" Dick Brookins tried to pass himself as Native American. Brookins was dismissed from the team prior to the beginning of the season. Great story on that here:

Last edited by pariah1107; 03-02-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:50 PM
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Max Weder
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Vancouver BC
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JD Mah's website is terrific. Have you contacted @tomhawthorn tomhawthorn (a) Tom is a great writer who has done some work on Jimmy Claxton
Max Weder for baseball art, books, ephemera, and cards and Twitter @maxweder
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:48 PM
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Tried and tried but noone is willing to help me. SABR is a sick joke... Had to step out on my own. GLADLY GIVE THEM INFO IF THEY DIDN'T WANT $$$$$. It's only the most important story of African American baseball history prior to Jackie Robinson go ahead and ignore it.

Challenge yourselves!

Did I mention Claxton was the first African American manager of a WHITE semi-pro team (1926-31 Roslyn Yippers). Known as "Claxton's Crew" he had 13 consecutive hits in 1929 with the team (he only hit .750 that season). Louis Bruno, Emil Fara, & Floyd Chapeta also played for the Yippers in '29. Bruno became the superintendent of Public Schools in Washington, Fara hit the longest homerun in the Renton ballpark (later Sicks Staidum), and "Peck" Chapeta was a semi-paralyzed one-armed polio smasher of the ball. Both Fara and Chapeta were offered contracts with the Seattle Indiians in 1930. Would SABR like more info? PM me.Too much info to share here.....


Last edited by pariah1107; 03-03-2013 at 10:28 AM.
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