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Monday, 29 July 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN WILLIAM MILLER " BIG BILL " GATEWOOD A BASEBALL PITCHER AND MANAGER PRE-NEGRO LEAGUE : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY William Miller "Big Bill" Gatewood born August 22, 1881 was a Negro Leagues pitcher and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League, and in its first few seasons. He pitched for the Leland Giants, Chicago Giants, St. Paul Colored Gophers, Chicago American Giants, New York Lincoln Giants, Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants,St. Louis Giants, Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars, St. Louis Stars, Toledo Tigers, Milwaukee Bears, Memphis Red Sox, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, and Birmingham Black Barons.
A 6'7" tall spitball pitcher, Gatewood was a first line pitcher in Blackball's pre-league days, and pitched the first no-hitter in NNL league play, beating the Cincinnati Cuban Stars on June 6, 1921. As his pitching skills deteriorated, he remained in the game as a manager.
When the Negro National League formed in 1920, 38 year-old Big Bill Gatewood joined Tenny Blount's team, the Detroit Stars. Part-way through the second season, he moved on to the Cuban Stars.
He managed the St. Louis Stars and Birmingham Black Barons. He is credited with giving Negro Leagues great James Cool Papa Bell his famous nickname, and for convincing him to learn to switch hit in order to take advantage of his speed. He is also credited with teaching Satchel Paige his "hesitation pitch" while managing him in Birmingham.
After Gatewood died, he was buried in an unmarked grave and did not receive a proper headstone until a Society for American Baseball Research group lead by Jeremy Krock and Larry Lester called the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project installed a proper gravestone in 2010. Bill Gatewood's grave did not have a headstone for about 48 years.