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Clyde Spearman

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Clyde Spearman ("Splo"), born July 23rd, 19121 in Arkadelphia, AR,2 was a Negro League baseball player from 1932-1948. He was the brother of Henry Spearman, Charles Spearman, Willie Spearman and Hayse Spearman. See the Spearman Family.

Biography

Spearman, 1934.
Spearman, 1934.
Clyde was the youngest of fourteen children born to Iverson and Fannie (nee Phifer) Spearman and grew up on the family's small farm near Arkadelphia, AR.3 Although small and stocky, Spearman was an above-average hitting outfielder who frequently batted leadoff. His first engagement in professional baseball came in 1932 when he earned a tryout with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, which were training in nearby Hot Springs, AR.4 Spearman was given a position on the team, but left in June when the Crawfords agreed to begin trading players to other clubs.5 Instead, he spent the next couple of seasons with various all-black teams in and around New York, including the Florida Colored Giants,6 the Newark Black Bears7 and Lincoln Colored Giants8 in 1932, and the Wilmington Hornets9, Newark Dodgers10 and Brooklyn Cuban Giants11 in 1933. During the following offseason, Spearman traveled with the Cuban Giants to Puerto Rico for the winter.12 Upon returning to the States, he joined the 1934 New York Black Yankees. He performed well, and in 1935, he jumped to the New York Cubans of the Negro National League.13 Spearman remained with the Cubans through the 1936 season.

During the winter season of 1936-1937, Spearman joined Marianao in the Cuban Winter League and became a standout hitter. He led the league in at-bats, hits and RBIs.14 He was initially expected to return to the New York Cubans for the 1937 season, but following a legal case against club owner Alex Pompez before the season, the team dissolved. Instead, Spearman and a number of other Cubans players followed team manager Martin Dihigo to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic and joined the Águilas Cibaeñas in the Dominican League.15 Spearman continued to hit well and finished second with a .352 batting average.16 When he returned to the States in July,17, he was faced with a one-year ban from the Negro National League for jumping to the Dominican League.18 Instead, Spearman joined the independent Satchell Paige All-Stars barnstorming team, billed as the Dominican League’s champion Cuidad Trujillo,19 which entered and won the 1937 Denver Post tournement.20 Afterward, Spearman returned to Marianao to play in the 1937-1938 Cuban Winter League and hit .286.14

Prior to the 1938 season, Negro National League club owners met and redistributed former New York Cubans players to other league teams. Spearman was awarded to the Philadelphia Stars21 and hit moderately well that year, but under-performed in 1939 and was dropped from the club in mid season. Instead he joined the Brooklyn Royal Giants for the remaineder of the season.22 He also returned to Cuba during the winter, hitting only .191 with Almenderes in 1938-1939 and .254 with Cienfuegos in 1939-1940.14 Spearman was largely absent from domestic black baseball in 1940, save for a brief appearance with the revived New York Cubans.23 He returned the following year to the Brooklyn Royal Giants24 and later joined the Chicago American Giants of the Negro American League for the late 1941 and early 1942 seasons.25 In mid 1942, Spearman and a number of other players dropped from the American Giants to work in World War II defense plants, but continued to play on a team known as the Chicago Dominoes.26 In 1943, Spearman joined the Birmingham Black Barons. He returned to hitting at a notable level and helped the Black Barons claim the Negro American League championship. During the offseason, Spearman played for the Baltimore Elite Giants in the California Winter League.27

In January, 1944, Spearman enlisted in the United States Army and was largely out of professional baseball for the next two years. He returned to the Negro National League in late 1945 with the New York Black Yankees.28 He also briefly played with the Black Yankees in 1946,29 the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 194730 and the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers in 1948.31

Spearman died on February 13th, 1955 and was buried in Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, NY.1

Excerpts

""Another Spearman" in the left field. Natural hitter, fast in the garden and on bases he looked like a finished article in the Western setto."32

"Clyde Spearman, right fielder, is one of the famous Spearman brothers of Negro athletic fame."33

"Clyde Spearman is now a new comer to the league, but has been inactive because of the war. He will play rightfield. Spearman is noted for his speed afoot and was the best lead-off man in the league before the war retired him to defense work."29

Stats

Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at Seamheads.com .