Just to let you fans of Black College Nines know, I have been slow to post any stories… but with good reason.
Last October, I was asked by the director of the College Baseball Foundation to serve on a four person ad-hoc committee assigned to the task of formulating a new classification for the foundation’s existing College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ultimately the new group became know as the Black College Legends and Pioneers Committee. After developing the criteria for honoring a group of athletes and coaches, who may not be as well known to mainstream college baseball fans, the next task was to select ten individuals to represent the first class of nominees.
For those followers of HBCU baseball, the group of ten presents a very impressive list of five former ballplayers and five former coaches. From this list, the committee will select the very first class of Black College Legends and Pioneers for induction into the foundation’s Hall of Fame in July of 2011.
This was a great personal honor to be included in this process and an exciting time for HBCU baseball!
July 25, 2010 will always be an important day on the baseball calendar of Florida A&M baseball. On this date, former Rattler Andre Dawson became the first FAMU alum to be inducted into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Dawson’s pro career is well documented and most baseball fans are familiar with his professional career, starting with Dawson’s selection by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round (250 player picked overall) of the 1975 MLB draft.
Obviously, Andrew Dawson did not go unnoticed while at Florida A&M between the years of 1973-1975… at least not by the Expos’ scout who recognized the potential in “the Hawk”.
Not drafted out of high school and with no scholarship offers, Andrew Dawson ignored advice from scouts and opted for Florida A&M instead of Florida State. His cousins had attended FAMU, it was a good school and the Rattlers had a great athletic tradition. Additionally, the school’s baseball team had a wonderful coach in Costa “Pop” Kittle.
When Andre Dawson arrived at Florida A&M in the fall of 1972, he was a scrawny kid with a knee less than 100% mobile from a high school football injury. By the time Dawson left school in 1975 for pro ball, he was a solid and physically healthy pro prospect deserving of the chance he’d get to prove himself a star.
Though I have not found many stats for Andre Dawson while he was in college, I have located a few. Generally speaking, the teams he played on were good enough to beat the powerhouse Hurricanes of the University of Miami 3 of 4 times between 1973-1974… Miami teams that went a combined 93-28 over that two year span and produced 1974 college player of the year, Orlando Gonzales.
Among the 1974 national statistical leaders, found in the 1975 edition of the Official Collegiate Baseball Guide, Andre Dawson is listed twice amongst the “small” school leaders. Dawson finished third nationally in doubles with an average of .41 per game (11 doubles) and tenth in slugging with a .695 average.
Congratulations to an HBCU all-time great on his induction into Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame!
By the way… if anyone has more stats on Andre Dawson while at Florida A&M, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me via Facebook or email me from our website link.
While looking through the Official NCAA Baseball Guide of 1973 for some unrelated material, I stumbled across a stat that I had not included in any of my previous updates on the good old days when HBCU’s dominated NAIA baseball.
Inadvertently left off my list of yearly leaders was Southern University, with its lofty .334 team batting average leading the small school division in 1972.
And it is not a wonder the Jaguars were a hitting machine with the likes of Dale Brock and Danny Goodwin, both of whom would be named to the prestigious Team USA in 1973.
Brock, the cousin of pro baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock, posted a .348 average in 1972 and led the team with eight home runs. Goodwin, who went on to become a two-time All American and the only ballplayer ever to twice be tabbed as the number one pick in the MLB draft, hit .364. Both Brock, an outfielder and Goodwin, a catcher, were freshman in 1972.
However, the team leader on offense was an upper-class outfielder named Roger Cador. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Cador went on to become the highly successful head coach of these same Southern University Jaguars. Entering into his 21st season in 2010, Coach Cador had compiled a 645-334-1 record.
But in 1972, leading the team with a .393 batting average (two years before aluminum bats came on the scene), Roger Cador had dreams of pro baseball, not coaching. As a 10th round selection of the Atlanta Braves in 1973, Cador spent four seasons in the minor leagues before turning to coaching. Dale Brock was drafted three times, the last being a third round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1975. Brock played two years of minor league ball. Danny Goodwin was the first player picked in the 1975 MLB draft (by the California Angles) and played seven seasons in the Majors, mostly as a designated hitter and part-time catcher.
For me, it is interesting to realize that the man who broke baseball’s “color barrier” was not even the first at his college to break that same barrier… nor was he the best on the UCLA Bruins’ ball club.
When it came to college baseball, Jackie Robinson played second fiddle to the subject of our player profile, Kenny “Kingfish” Washington.
By the time Jackie Robinson transferred from Pasadena Junior College in 1939, Kenny Washington was already the football and baseball hero on the Los Angeles, California campus of UCLA.
An All-American football player in 1939, Washington led the Bruins for three years as the team’s single-wing halfback. In that formation, Kenny Washington was the key to running the offense as both a passer and rusher.
As a senior, Washington led the country in total offense and was the recipient of the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy as the nation’s best collegiate player.
In 1946, Kenny Washington was one of the first to re-integrate professional football when the Cleveland Rams moved west to Los Angeles. Until then, blacks were forced to play in lessor leagues.
Washington had been playing with the Hollywood Bears of the Pacific Coast Football League and the San Francisco Clippers of the American Football League, but when the Rams agreed to move to Los Angeles and play at the LA Coliseum, one of the conditions required the team to integrate.
Kenny Washington was still very popular in the area and a big drawing card, so he was an obvious selection. And even though, by then, Washington was no longer the football player he had been in his glory days, “Kingfish” Washington played another three years in the NFL.
Off the baseball diamond, Kenny Washington will always remain in the shadow of Jackie Robinson. But on the college diamond, Washington was the first African-American to play baseball at UCLA. His .454 batting average in 1937 and .350 average in 1938 paced the UCLA nine. (In his lone year playing baseball for the Bruins, Robinson hit .097).
The second of four generations of baseball playing Washingtons, Kenny’s father Edgar “Blue” Washington played Negro League ball briefly with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1920 and with the Chicago American Giants. He also was an actor and had a bit part in Gone with the Wind. Kenny’s son, Kenny Jr., starred at the University of Southern California from 1961-1963 and his grandson, Kraig played ball at USC and in the Chicago Cubs organization.
Kenny Washington went on to become the first football player at UCLA to have his uniform retired and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956. Following his athletic career, Washington was affiliated with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Kenny “Kingfish” Washington passed away on June 24, 1971
- Where Have I Been?
- Andre Dawson (FAMU) – Hawk Soars Into MLB History
- When HBCUs Dominated NAIA Baseball – Part 3
- Kenny Washington (UCLA) – Bruins’ First Black Ballplayer
- When HBCUs Dominated NAIA Baseball – Part 2
- Harry “Wu Fang” Ward (Wilberforce) – All Around Athlete
- Pete Barnes (Southern U) – Two Time Two Sport All-American
- Johnny Sample (Maryland State) – Outspoken Star of the 1960s
- Charles Follis (College of Wooster) – Football and Baseball Star
- When HBCUs Dominated NAIA Baseball – Part 1
- Links to Stats for HBCU Ballplayers Taken in the 2009 MLB Draft
- Bert Simmons (NC A&T) – Negro League Star Passes Away
- Ralph Garr (Grambling) – More than a “Face in the Crowd”
- 2009 HBCU Freshmen All-Americans
- 2009 HBCU Summer Assignments
- Tip of the Hat to the ABAA
- Condredge Holloway (Tennessee) – Vol’s First Black Ballplayer
- Charles Thomas (Ohio Wesleyan) – Inspiration to Branch Rickey
- About this site…
- Mitch Hill, New Leader of A&M Baseball
- Parker Named Hitting Coach for Bulldog Baseball
- Bhatti Helps Peninsula Pilots Capture Coastal Plain League Title
- Shouppe Announces Recruits Then Jets To California
- Dunning Added To CSU Baseball Coaching Staff
- CSU's Roberts Added To Cape Cod League Roster
- Shaw Ends Baseball Program
- Exhibit Brings Home The History Of Black Baseball
- HBCU Baseball Players Selected In 2013 MLB Draft
- Savannah State Baseball Camp
HBCU Baseball Sites
- College Baseball Hall of Fame announces building name
- Oklahoma's Gray named Pitcher of the Year
- Hall of Fame celebrates newest members
- Gonzales named Two-Way Player of the Year
- Dickson wins inaugural Bertman Award
- Bregman announced as top national shortstop
- John Olerud Award finalists announced
- Pitcher of the Year Award finalists announced
- Brooks Wallace Award finalists announced
- Hall of Fame creates Coach of the Year Award