Poles, Spottswood


Born: Nov. 7, 1889
Died: Sept. 12, 1962

Spottswood Poles, called the black Ty Cobb, won five battle stars and a purple heart in World War I with the 369th Infantry (Harlem Hell Fighters) while attached to the French Army.

He broke into professional black baseball as the center fielder and lead off hitter for the powerful 1909 Philadelphia Giants. He moved on the New York Lincoln Giants in 1911, where he batted .440 for the season and stole 41 bases in only 60 games. He hit .398 in 1912, .414 in 1913, and .487 in 1914.

With the Lincoln club in the 10 game 1915 black championship, Poles batted only .205, but because of his speed and base running ability scored 11 runs. In a 15 year Negro League career, Poles is credited with a .400 lifetime batting average and a .319 average for the four winter seasons he spent in Cuba. He is also credited with a .610 batting average in exhibition games against major league competition, many of which took place while Poles was in Cuba.