No. 19 Negro Leagues Ray Dandridge

With the stats that Baseball Reference has it appears Dandridge had doubles power. Of course, they have 8 years for him and only 246 games, but Dandridge hit only 4 home runs.

Dandridge’s Negro League stats aren’t that impressive. However, he was the number one third baseman for two of the three all star teams I looked at and was second in the other. He was touted as an excellent fielder, but I don’t think Baseball Reference has a lot of the fielding data.

Now I found out he was in the Mexican League a lot of years. He first signed in 1939. His Wikipedia article said he was there 9 of the next 10 years, but he is shown as playing two years in the Negro League at that time. While doing that research, I came across this is quote I found in Ray Dandridge’s Wikipedia Article that came from a Sports Illustrated article:

In 1947 Cleveland Indian owner Bill Veeck offered Dandridge a chance to play in the organization and perhaps become the first black to play in the majors. It was a tempting offer, but Dandridge didn’t want to uproot his wife, Florence, and three children from Mexico City. Besides, Pasquel had always been good to him. Dandridge was making $10,000 a season in Mexico City plus all living expenses, including a maid.

This seems strange for a few reasons:

1. Dandridge was 33 years old in 1947.
2. Dandridge had jumped to the Mexican League. According to Ray Brown’s article SABR the suspension of players jumping to Mexico included Negro League players.
3. Ken Keltner a good solid player was at 3rd base.
4. I just read “Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball” and didn’t see any mention of this in there. Overall, this is the first time I remember hearing this story.
5. Dandridge was a good fielder who hit very well for average. However, he was more of a doubles hitter and didn’t have homerun power. There were better players in his age group.

I asked the guys in and they hadn’t heard anything about this. One of them commented he never heard black players being part of the suspension by baseball commissioner Happy Chandler of players who jumped to the Mexican League. I looked up some articles on the suspension and found a list of players who were suspended. None were Negro League players. There was no mention of Negro League players in any of the articles. Also, Monte Irwin and Roy Campanella played in the Mexican League and weren’t part of the Chandler suspension.

I have to assume what I wrote about Ray Brown in his article was wrong. That leaves reason number 2 out. However, one person mention on Bill James he thought Bill Veeck was after a young player. He got that with Larry Doby. Ray Dandridge was not a young player. I don’t thing the story about Veeck wanting to sign Dandridge was true.

The Giants signed him in 1949, but he was 35 by that time. He hit will all four years (great some years) but was never called to the majors. He even had a fair amount of homerun power hitting from 6 to 11 homeruns a year. Too bad they wouldn’t bring up such a great player even for a few games.

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