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Pre-Negro Leagues Candidate Profile:
Spottswood "Spot" Poles

Sixth of 39 Profiles

Born: December 9, 1887, in Winchester, Va. 
Died: Sept. 12, 1962, in Harrisburg, Pa. 
Playing Career: 1909-1917, 1919-1923

Spot Poles was a small player at 5'7" 165 lbs., but exceptionally fast, an outstanding hitter and an excellent outfielder. He played from 1909-1917 and from 1919-1923. He enlisted and fought overseas in France during World War I. As a sergeant in the 369th Infantry, he received five battle stars and a Purple Heart and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Poles played with the Philadelphia Giants, New York Lincoln Giants, New York Lincoln Stars, Hilldale, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and one game with the Brooklyn Royal Giants. The fleet centerfielder was a consistent .300 hitter and a top base stealer. He went 5-for-5 on October 19, 1913. Another outstanding game occurred in 1915, when he notched four hits including a double, triple, four RBI and five runs scored.

Poles also spent four seasons in Cuba, during the dead ball era, hitting .319, third overall in Cuba during this time. In 1913, he led the Cuban Winter League in at bats, runs, hits, and triples and was second in stolen bases. In 1910-'11, he was second in runs and batting at .360.

Poles played in the California Winter League during the 1920-21 season and hit .365.

He once ran a 100-yard dash in under 10 seconds, speed which made him an excellent center fielder with unlimited range. The left-handed-hitting Poles was the prototypical leadoff hitter and a base stealer, much in the mold of Ty Cobb.

Poles was called one of the four greatest black athletes of all-time by Paul Robeson. John McGraw placed Poles among the all-time great outfielders. He might have been one of the top players of all-time in the major leagues, if given the opportunity.

Previous published research shows Poles hitting .440 in 1911, followed by .398, .414, and .487 in the following seasons for the Lincoln Giants.

Authored by Dick Clark   |  Negro Leagues and Pre-Negro Leagues Election page

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