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Connie Rector

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Cornelius "Connie" Rector , born June 15th, 1892 in Arkadelphia, AR,1 was a Negro League baseball player.

Biography

Connie Rector was the son of Lee Rector and Catherine Trigg.2 He grew up near Arkadelphia, AR, mostly without the presence of his father, who died when he was young.3 When he was 20, he married Gertrude McCloud4 and together, the couple had one son, Tom. The family, however, appears to have eventually been broken up.5 Rector remained in the Arkadelphia area until at least the latter 1910s, working as plumber.1

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Rector spent a large portion of his life playing professional baseball, having an exceptionally long career that appears to have spanned at least 34 years. His first playing appearances likely came with the local Arkadelphia Cuban Giants in 19106 and the Malvern Tigers in 1911.7 In both instances, Rector played alongside teammate Charles Spearman, an Arkadelphia native like Rector who would also achieve success in Negro baseball. Rector's acquaintance with Spearman may have helped him gain entry into professional baseball, for in 1919, Rector and Spearman became teammates on the Dallas Black Giants. In addition to performing well as an outfielder,8 Rector quickly found success as one of the best pitchers in the Texas Colored League. In 1920, Rector and Spearman shifted to the league's Fort Worth Black Panthers. In one particular game against the Beaumont Black Oilers on Sunday, May 2nd, Rector defeated opponent Jesse Hubbard 2 to 1 by pitching 18 innings on only one run while issuing only one walk and striking out fourteen batters.9

As the 1920 season went on, Rector left the Texas Colored League and joined the Hilldale Club of Darby, PA. Rector may have earned the job through his connection with Louis Santop, a veteran Negro baseball catcher with whom Rector had been a teammate in Fort Worth earlier in the season.10 With Hilldale, an independent club, Rector pitched against various teams, including Babe Ruth and his barnstorming All-star team.11 Rector finished the 1920 season with Hilldale and returned to play with the team in 1921 and 1922, during which the club operated in associaiton with the Negro National League. Rector's playing time was split between pitching and outfielding, and in both cases, he was generally productive, but was often reserved for relief roles. Nevertheless, he pitched well enough to join the Brooklyn Royal Giants midway through 1922.

Rector died in May, 1963, in New York.12


Excerpts

"Manager R. Lee Jones of the Dallas Giants stated that he has signed . . . an in fielder, Cornelius Rector"13

"Rector [t]he Arkadelphian went the whole rout for the locals [Dallas Black Giants] . . . "14

"The Fort Worth [Black Panthers] continginguent is composed of the following celebrites [sic] of the diamond . . . Cornelius Rector . . . ex-[Dallas Black Giant] Charlie Spearmon [sic]."15

"Chaney White and Willis Rector will cavort in the pastures of the Philadelphia Hilldales the coming season. White and Rector are also former Giants and Panthers."16

" . . . Connie Rector, recently acquired right-hand pitcher from the Bronx Giants [by the New York Lincoln Giants] in exchange for "Highpockets" Hudspeth. . . . Rector is a chunky fellow from Arkansas . . . "17

" . . . Connie Rector, star right-hander of the Lincoln Giants. Rector has by far the best record for the year with a total of 20 games won against 3 lost."18

"We were awfully sorry that we had to miss both the wedding ceremony and the reception of Leona White, one of Philadelphia's most popular and efficient young women who was married to the equally popular ball player, Cornelius Rector, of New York City, on Saturday afternoon, at 3:30. Rev. William A. Harrod, of Cherry Memorial, joined the couple in matrimony. . . . The bride . . . entered the parlor of her attractively decorated home, 2040 Master Street on the arm of her father, Mr. Matthew C. White. . . . The best man was Leland Carter. . . . And so --the band new Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Rector are now honeymooning in Atlantic City, following a strenuous round of pre-nuptial fetes, which must needs have betokened-- most eloquently-- the admiration of a host of friends!"19

"Connie Rector probably has been in the game longer than any other individual now playing . . . And Connie came up with a terrific hurling feat recently over in Yankees Stadium."20

"In the nightcap, the [Baltimore Elite]Giants were forced to come from behind to defeat veteran Connie Rector, who went into the seventh and final frame leading 2-1, with Jonas Gaines on the mound."21

Stats

Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at Seamheads.com.

2. The 1900 U.S. Census shows Cornelius Rector living with Catherine Rector and two brothers near Arkadelphia. Catherine is listed as the daughter of Anderson and Mandy Trigg and having three living children. The Arkansas County Marriages index shows that Catherine Trigg married Lee Rector in Clark County, AR, on December 14th, 1890.
3. The 1900 U.S. Census lists Catherine Rector as a widow. Her youngest son, Oscar Rector, was born about 1895. Hence, Lee Rector died between 1895-1900 when Rector would have been 3-8.
5. The 1920 U.S. Census , shows Gertrude with Tom living with her parents, Tom and Clarissa McCloud. The 1930 U.S. Census shows Tom still living his grandmother in Collin County, TX . In 1930, Connie Rector remarried.
6. "Sixteen Innings Required", Freeman (Indianapolis), 6/26/1910 . A player named "Rector" is mentioned in the game recap. Also mentioned is a "Spearman," which is presumably Charles Spearman.
7. "Hot Springs Reds Win at Malvern, Ark.", Freeman (Indianapolis), 8/19/1911 . A player named "Restor" is mentioned in the game recap. Also mentioned is a "Spearman," which is presumably Charles Spearman.
9. Dallas Express, 5/8/1920 and Fort Worth-Star Telegram, 5/3/1920
10. According to the Dallas Express, Santop spent the spring of 1920 in Fort Worth, playing for the local Black Panthers. It seems plausible that he, having caught for Rector earlier in the season (Dallas Express, 4/24/1920 ), could have assisted in earning Rector a job with Hilldale.