Sunday, July 22, 2012

Royals In Monarchs Duds: July 21, 2012

front: Zack Foreman, Bob Fagin; middle: Bullet Rogan, Barolo Portuondo, Sylvestor Foreman, Hurley McNair, Lem Hawkins, Otto Ray; back: Rube Currie, John Donaldson, Frank Blattner, Sam Crawford, George Carr, Dobie Moore (source)
It has been two years since I've been able to do one of these posts. Since the Monarchs and Royals are two of my favorite things in the known universe, I get pretty geeked when the Royals put on the Monarchs unis at Kauffman Stadium. Last night's salute was perfect. The Buck O'Neil bobblehead giveaway is great. It might be the best likeness on a bobblehead I've ever seen, and I love the combo of the Monarchs hat and Royals jacket. The 1921 Monarchs uniforms, a style the Royals had never donned before, looked fantastic. Ray Doswell at the Negro Leagues Museum told me the above picture is the one that the uniforms are based on. (Everyone's except Sylvester Foreman's - why he's wearing a totally different uni I don't know.) I'm willing to overlook one inconsistency - the hats in 1921 were blank, while the Royals had a KC logo - because they nailed the scrumtrelescent striped socks for a change. Some of the jerseys are being auctioned off here, and more have been donated to the Negro Leagues Museum that will probably show up in fundraising efforts in the future.

As for the 1921 Monarchs team, the most-used players on the roster looked something like this:

C: Frank Duncan
1B: George Carr
2B: Bob Fagin
3B: Bartolo Portuondo
SS: Dobie Moore
OF: Hurley McNair
OF: Bullet Rogan
OF: John Donaldson
util: Frank Blattner

P: Bullet Rogan
P: Rube Curry
P: Sam Crawford

Hall of Famer Jose Mendez, 36 years old, also played sparingly in a utility role. After going through some unsatisfactory catchers early in the season, a trade was made with the Chicago American Giants that brought KC native Frank Duncan to the Monarchs (source). Duncan had a great defensive reputation, and became a major Monarch stalwart. He spent most seasons between 1921-47 as the Monarchs catcher, managed them from 1942-48, and umpired home games for many years after that.

The team was just in their second season, and in the middle of three years spent with Association Park as their home field. The playing field is still there at 20th & Prospect (the city calls it Blues Park now):

Depending on the source, they had a record of 50-38, 50-31, or 73-43 and finished 2nd or 3rd in the eight-team Negro National League. Judging by the numbers researchers have uncovered, Hurley McNair, George Carr and Dobie Moore were the heavy hitters, and Bullet Rogan and Rube Curry were the staff aces.

The 2012 Royals had a good game, pecking away on offense and scoring runs in five of the eight innings they batted. Starter Luis Mendoza pitched well, and Lorenzo Cain paced the offense with two singles, a double, and three RBI.

You can find photo galleries from the game here, here, and here.

Below are some photos I took.

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