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