New York Black Yankees

New York Black Yankees

The New York Black Yankees were co-owned by financier James "Soldier Boy" Semler and famed toe-tapper Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The Black Yankees originated in Harlem and eventually settled in Albany, New York. Some of the great Yankees were Clint Thomas, Fats Jenkins, DeWitt "Woody" Smallwood, Barney Brown, "Crush" Holloway and the powerful George "Mule" Suttles"

The Black Yankees had relocated from Yankee Stadium to old Red Wing Stadium on Norton Street before the start of the 1948 season. The move was precipitated by Jackie Robinson's integration of Major League Baseball the summer before, and by the fact there already were three Negro League teams in the metropolitan New York area.

Team owner James Semler felt the move upstate made sense because Rochester had strongly supported Negro League exhibition games here through the years. The Red Wings were more than willing to allow the Black Yankees to set up shop at the old ballpark on Norton Street because it meant additional revenue for the Rochester club.

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Photo: NY Black Yankees, 1939