The St. Paul Colored Gophers

The St. Paul Colored Gophers Founded in 1907 Image Contributed by Daryl & Robert Blair

The St. Paul Colored Gophers
Founded in 1907
Image Contributed by Daryl & Robert Blair

The following player identification material is excerpted from the post-publication comment contribution of SABR photo expert, Bill Hickman. Accordingly, the full set of names and playing positions is as follows:

Back row (L to R): Eugene “Gabbie” Milliner, OF; Julius London (not Londo), P; George “Chappie” Johnson, C; Phil “Daddy” Reid, Owner; Richard Felix Wallace, SS/2B; William Binga, 3B; Robert Wells “Bobby” Marshall, 1B

Front row (L to R): Sherman “Bucky” Barton,OF/3B; Art McDougal, SS; Archie Pate, OF/C; William Joseph McMurray, C; Robert Garrison, P

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The above featured photo has been presented to us here at The Pecan Park Eagle as an image of an early 20th century team known as the St. Paul Colored Gophers. Further verification is both pending and still open to additional input, but we most genuinely wish to thank Bill Hickman now for his early identification of the players in the picture.

We have located a sketchy kind of history on the club of that name:

The St. Paul Colored Gophers were a club of all black players based in the St. Paul side of the famous Minnesota “Twin Cities” area that now hosts the American League MLB club of “Twins” nickname distinction. Supposedly organized in 1907 as a traveling barnstorm team, the Colored Gophers also apparently served as a pre-Negro League earlier team voice of black protest against the discriminatory wall of racial segregation that kept members of the black race from playing ball with whites. The first Negro League organization of any merit did not come along until 1920. Until then, it was up to little community cell groups like the Colored Gophers to keep the interest of not only blacks, but the vast majority of our American people fired up about the game of baseball. Whether they are given “expert” credit or not by today’s historians, their “credit’, if you will, emanates from the extant fact that they existed and survived playing the game of baseball on the only grounds left to them over the time period of an extremely limited era of opportunity for blacks and other minorities in baseball and other fields of American business, professional, and sporting endeavor.

The featured photo here is only the latest in our growing collection of historic or “just plain old” early baseball photography. We are not in the search for “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” in our speculations and enjoyment of these presentations. We simply see it a column source and a way of bringing to light faces from baseball’s past for the honor and appreciation of all who come here in goodwill. We do not pretend to be any kind of authentication house, nor are we interested in serving as any kind of mineral assay office that exists for the gratification of baseball memorabilia gold prospectors.

By the way, Robert and Daryl Blair are again the contributors of this Colored Gophers photo. When they have provided me with the information I have requested about how they came into possession of the photo – and what they know of it, etc. – this column will be amended here to include that information.

In the meanwhile, here is one link with a bare amount of information on the St. Paul Colored Gophers that, at least, does include a rather extensive list of men who played for the club in various years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Paul_Colored_Gophers

If you have any information on the Colored Gophers, we would be happy to receive it in the reader comment section that accompanies this article – or by text or link submission e-mail to editor Bill McCurdy of the The Pecan Park Eagle:

houston.buff37@gmail.com

Keep up the Valentine’s Day spirit, folks. – In this world, we  all need a lot more love than one can get from one day in the year for cards, candy, flowers, and a dinner out.

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Important Addendum: As so often fortunately happens, especially in these matters of ancient photography, our SABR baseball image expert and colleague, Bill Hickman, has rushed to the fore to contribute by comment some very important details of substance to this presentation. Thank you, Bill, but this material is too important to be left that far away from the central presentation. We have taken the liberty of posting your player details and further links up here. ~ Editor, The Pecan Park Eagle:

A Bill Hickman Report on the Featured Photo of the St. Paul Colored Gophers:

There’s a colorized version of this photo, along with some of the player names, at the following URL:

http://www.uni-watch.com/2012/09/29/remember-the-don-almo/

The full set of names and playing positions is as follows:

Back row (L to R): Eugene “Gabbie” Milliner, OF; Julius London (not Londo), P; George “Chappie” Johnson, C; Phil “Daddy” Reid, Owner; Richard Felix Wallace, SS/2B; William Binga, 3B; Robert Wells “Bobby” Marshall, 1B

Front row (L to R): Sherman “Bucky” Barton,OF/3B; Art McDougal, SS; Archie Pate, OF/C; William Joseph McMurray, C; Robert Garrison, P

If you click on the colorized photo, it will bring up an enlarged version of the same.

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The Pecan Park Eagle strongly suggests you check out the the larger version of the colorized version that is available through the link that Bill Hickman has provided. It is far more vivid and viewable than the one that is available to us in this column.

 

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One Response to “The St. Paul Colored Gophers”

  1. Bill Hickman Says:

    There’s a colorized version of this photo, along with some of the player names, at the following URL:

    http://www.uni-watch.com/2012/09/29/remember-the-don-almo/

    The full set of names and playing positions is as follows:

    Back row (L to R): Eugene “Gabbie” Milliner, OF; Julius London (not Londo), P; George “Chappie” Johnson, C; Phil “Daddy” Reid, Owner; Richard Felix Wallace, SS/2B; William Binga, 3B; Robert Wells “Bobby” Marshall, 1B

    Front row (L to R): Sherman “Bucky” Barton,OF/3B; Art McDougal, SS; Archie Pate, OF/C; William Joseph McMurray, C; Robert Garrison, P

    If you click on the colorized photo, it will bring up an enlarged version of the same.

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