Thursday, November 7, 2013

Animals & Bird References In The Group Names Of Negro League Baseball Teams

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is part of an ongoing series on group names of Negro League baseball teams and non-White American traveling (barnstorming) baseball teams.

This post presents a list of names of Negro League or traveling baseball teams that include a reference to animals, birds, or other living creatures.

These names are posted in relative alphabetical order under the broad sub-category of "Animals", "Birds" and "Other Living Creatures".

The home state for the team is given in brackets after the team name. If the team was a traveling team, that information is provided in brackets. Also, in some cases, brief editorial comments are posted below the group name.

In a few cases, a brief comment and a hyperlink are given for more information about a particular team.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and educational value.

It's my position that some of the names of these Negro League baseball teams provide information about the perspectives of Black people during the years that those teams were active.

Some of these group names may also be included in other posts in this series.

Click for information about the history of The Negro League Baseball

All copyrights remain with their owners.

I know very little about baseball or that sport's history. Corrections and additions are very welcome.

Source of team names:

Comment: It's my belief that most of these animal and bird names for these baseball convey power, strength, deadly force, speed, agility, and endurance. However, the names for some animals, birds, or other living creatures might also connote physical grace and beauty (as in "That game was a beauty to watch". However, I'm not sure what to make of the name of the traveling team the Tennessee Rats"...

Denver White Elephants
I'm not sure what to make of this name. According to
"The term derives from the sacred white elephants kept by Southeast Asian monarchs in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.[3] To possess a white elephant was regarded (and is still regarded in Thailand and Burma) as a sign that the monarch reigned with justice and power, and that the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity"....

In modern usage, it is an object, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered to be without use or value.[1]

Albino elephants exist in nature, usually being a reddish-brown or pink color.
Cincinnati Tigers [Ohio]
Cleveland Bears [Ohio]
Cleveland Cubs [Ohio]
Fort Worth Black Panthers [Texas]
“Black Panthers” was probably also a referent to the race of the team members. Perhaps this team name should have been included in the list of names for Negro League teams that refer to race (i.e. skin color). Click for that pancocojams post.
San Diego Tigers [California]
San Francisco Sea Lions [California]
Tennessee Rats [traveling team]
Toledo Tigers [Ohio]

Brooklyn Eagles [New York]
Columbus Blue Birds [Ohio]
Houston Eagles [Texas]
Newark Eagles [New Jersey]
"The Newark Eagles were formed in 1936 when the Newark Dodgers, established in 1933, were merged with the Brooklyn Eagles, established in 1935. Abe Manley and his wife Effa Manley, owners and founders of the Brooklyn Eagles, purchased the Newark Dodgers franchise and combined both teams' assets and player rosters.[1] Team management was left to Effa, making the Eagles the first professional team owned and operated by a woman. The Eagles shared Ruppert Stadium with the minor-league Newark Bears.

The Eagles were to (black) Newark what the Dodgers were to Brooklyn.
—Eagles star Max Manning
New Orleans Black Eagles [Louisiana]
Since there are no eagles that are the color black, this team name probably also alludes to the players' race.
New Orleans Pelicans [Louisiana]
Oakland Larks [California]

Cleveland Hornets [Ohio]
Mineola Black Spiders [traveling team]
"The Mineola Black Spiders, also called the Texas Black Spiders, were an independent, generally all-black baseball team. They originated in and were loosely based from Mineola, Texas.

As a non-league barnstorming team, they often headquartered in other parts of the nation, especially northern Iowa, from 1932 until at least 1937. They were reported to have headquartered in Mason City, Charles City and Waverly, Iowa. Some newspaper accounts also list them as the Fort Worth Black Spiders as well as the Texas Black Spiders from Galveston.

Vernon "V.A." Klingaman, an Iowa native who settled in Mineola in the late 1920s, formed the team, which first began traveling in 1930's. Eventually attracting players from outside Mineola, Texas, they barnstormed throughout the nation in the 1930s, and likely traveled into Mexico with a team featuring Buck O'Neil. The Spiders played until at least 1941.

Referred to in newspapers as the Texas Black Spiders, they were often noted as the "Champions of Texas." Other sources list them as the Black Spiders of Mineola although some accounts also listed them as the Texas Black Spiders of Galveston or the Fort Worth Black Spiders. They were entered into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Tournament as the Waverly, Iowa, Black Spiders.

The team first set out for the Midwest in a black school bus with the team's name on the side. The bus had no windows and featured a cobweb in the back.

The club traveled extensively, arriving in Iowa in July 1932. The players played for a percentage of the gate. By the end of July, a dispute arose over player payments and ten players voted to leave the team. The players were purchased by the managers of the semi-pro Mason City Black Bats [1]... "

Thanks to the authors of the Wikipedia page who published a complete list of names of Negro League teams.

Thanks to all those who were members of those teams.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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